When recruiting new employees, I often get questions about various personality assessments. This month, we will take a look at some of the most common assessments that I come across and administer. Keep in mind, I am not the developer of these tools; I am providing a general overview based on my experiences and use of these tools.

Benefits of Assessment Tools

So why use personality assessments at all? Contrary to popular belief, some of the most easily measured qualities such as performance on the CFP exam aren’t necessarily the best indicators of a good fit for a new employee. In small organizations especially, I’ve found the best indicators of a good fit to be more affective in nature versus cognitive, such as motivation, coachability, attitude, communication and work style, and philosophy. All of these can typically be described and understood through a quality personality assessment.

In some cases, a personality assessment can reinforce what your gut might be telling you. In other situations, the rigor, structure and consistency of a personality assessment can reveal opportunities or concerns that a traditional interview may miss.

Comparison of Common Personality Assessments

Due to the seemingly endless providers offering hundreds of assessments, finding a solution can be confusing and overwhelming; behind cost, it’s one of the main reasons firms don’t utilize them. The chart above shows an overview of the most common assessments.

DISC. This assessment, centered on four behavioral traits (Dominance, Influencing, Steadiness and Compliance), provides a useful comparison of a candidate’s Adapted versus Natural behavior. One thing to observe is how closely a respondent’s Natural and Adapted styles match each other. The wider the discrepancy, the more adapting a person has to do, which leads to increased strain in the work environment. The Success Insights Wheel labels participants based on their DISC score, which can be helpful in assessing the strengths and weaknesses of your overall team.

Strengths Finder. This test is timed to keep respondents from overthinking the questions. The report contains much of the same information as the DISC, but focuses on the subject’s top five personality themes: Achiever, Focus, Learner, Individualization, Competition. It provides a narrative similar to DISC, but gives the subject questions to ponder after each theme for self reflection and professional development purposes. Interviewers can also use these questions to delve deeper into certain areas.

Caliper. Some of my clients rave about this assessment. Caliper includes much of the same information as DISC, but has a cognitive component as well. Cost-wise, it is one of the most expensive, and its sheer length is a great deterrent for the less serious candidates. Abstract reasoning, ego strength and resilience, urgency and accommodation are sections to pay attention to. It includes a job-matching function as well; if the interviewer establishes Position Performance metrics, Caliper will score each candidate on position fit.

Profile XT. This assessment is similar to Caliper in that it includes a cognitive measure and overall job matching. The report is longer than Caliper and includes more detail. Pay close attention to attitude, manageability and decisiveness for insight on how likely a candidate will have a positive attitude when things are going well, how well they accept external controls and follow policies, and how quickly they make decisions.

Next Steps

Usually these companies have trained staff (clinical psychologists, Ph.D.s in industrial psychology, etc.) to help interpret the results. Unless you have the training, I recommend you seek out the counsel of these experts.

These assessments are not a panacea and certainly don’t guarantee a right fit hire. However, they increase the likelihood of a good fit if incorporated into a thorough recruiting process.

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