Why Personality Assessments Lead to Poor Hiring Decisions

Posted by Steve Carter on Dec 24, 2015 10:55:00 PM
Steve Carter
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The history of personality tests goes back to the early 1900s, when industrial-organizational psychology was first introduced to organizations. I-O psychology has advanced the understanding of humans interacting with each other in an organized workplace setting. It is responsible for the first correlations between personality and job success.

Much has changed since then, however, and numerous studies have proven that while personality tests can predict a candidate’s success, there are other more important determining factors for making hiring decisions.

Personality Assessments Are Dead. Long Live Culture Fit.

According to a study in Personnel Psychology, researchers found that personality does not determine the best employee/employer fit: “There is no generalizable evidence that personality measures can be recommended as good or practical tools for employee selection….  The best that can be said is that in some situations, for some purposes, some personality measures can offer helpful predictions." Research finds that a correlation between an employee’s job success and personality is only about 5 percent, while 95 percent of their job performance remains unaccounted for by personality.

Of course, this raises the question: If hiring managers should not base their decisions on personality tests, then what should they go by?

According to a study by Forbes that tracked 20,000 new hires, 46 percent of new hires failed within the first 18 months on the job, and a whopping 89 percent of those were for attitudinal reasons and poor culture fit, which has been proven to be a much stronger predictor of success. 

"There is a growing desire for talent with a unique combination of skill and flexibility—people who can collaborate, adapt quickly, and are enjoyable company, but also have the drive to get things done. All those traits boil down to a personality that is essential for businesses operating in an ever-changing digital landscape. Thus, specific competence is less important," said Hyper Island CEO Johanna Frelin about her company’s international survey of hundreds of industry professionals.

As complex as it may seem, culture fit can be predicted with minimal resources rather quickly. At Candidate.Guru we combine machine learning technology and predictive analytics that examine hundreds of successful work relationships and find the right fit between a hiring manager and a prospective employee. Our proprietary database has up to 2,000 attributes on every boss/candidate, all gathered from a variety of publically available sources. Our predictive algorithms then determine within 24-48 hours whether or not these two individuals will work well together.

How do we do it?  We have trained our data science models by feeding them hundreds of thousands of boss/candidate relationships. This, in combination with our machine learning technology, allows us to analyze a prospective candidate and a specific hiring manager to predict whether they will be a good cultural fit.

Now it’s time to say goodbye to old ways of hiring based on skills or performance tests that can be faked and say hello to making smart hiring decisions based on big data. It’s time to stop using the same tired old techniques for recruiting top talent and expecting to see different results than what you’re getting. Find out more and sign up for our free trial today or leave your comment below.


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Topics: culture fit, hiring, personality assessments, hiring decisions

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