Is Your Personality Right for the Job? More Than a Third of Organisations Now Use Personality Testing to Identify Which Candidates Will Be Most Suitable to Fill an Executive Role - but What Does It Involve?

The Evening Standard (London, England), July 21, 2009 | Go to article overview

Is Your Personality Right for the Job? More Than a Third of Organisations Now Use Personality Testing to Identify Which Candidates Will Be Most Suitable to Fill an Executive Role - but What Does It Involve?


Byline: Jackie Switzer

IN difficult economic conditions it is essential to recruit people who have both the experience and the personal strengths to lead an organisation through challenging times and emerge strongly out of the recession.

Personality testing, just one means of identifying who these candidates are, is now used by 35 per cent of organisations surveyed in the 2009 CIPD Recruitment, Retention and Turnover survey.

Professor Peter Saville, international chairman of Saville Consulting, who developed the Wave personality questionnaire, says: "We look at personality in recruitment because it drives motivation, which drives performance. Changing people is very difficult and your personality tends to be stable as an adult unless there is a major life event that can change it.

"Therefore, it helps if you select people on what they can do and what they are motivated to do. Personality questionnaires are objective and fair. In interviews you can have a bad interviewer or a candidate who exaggerates their experience. Equally research shows that educational qualifications are not good predictors of job success.

"The risks are there. A pharmaceutical company that recruited academic chemists found that once in a commercial environment they could not handle the pressure. Most left within six months. This was distressing for the applicants and their families, some of whom had relocated. Equally, it presented a cost to the company. Using a personality questionnaire can pick up risks early."

For senior roles, personality profiling involves completing a questionnaire (usually online) and an interview with a psychologist or assessor to explore your responses. Most questionnaires focus on five main dimensions - extraversion, openness to experience, emotional stability, conscientiousness and agreeableness. The British Psychological Society sets the standards for tests and has registered 30 different questionnaires.

Many questionnaires have built-in scales to pick up if a candidate is not honest. "Research suggests people can elevate their scores to appear better," says Dr Nigel Guenole, lecturer in Work Psychology at Goldsmiths, University of London. "But if they consistently respond in this way on a dimension it implies they understand its importance and will do it on the job.

"Often we are looking at more than one dimension, at patterns of personality, so you may be able to raise your profile on the obvious ones but not be aware of the other areas that are required."

Julia Porter-Robinson, head of recruitment at T-Mobile says: "We use personality questionnaires as part of a wider assessment to find out as much as we can about a person. We can see from the questionnaire the areas we want to go through in detail at interview rather than just relying on competency questions, where you can miss things. It can be a powerful way to open up a conversation with a candidate and gain insight."

Dr Guenole adds: "Using a personality questionnaire can tell you how a person will do the role. It shows if a person will go beyond the behaviours in the job description and do more - such as remaining positive in difficult times and taking on extra responsibilities."

Karen Moran, head of human resources at law firm Eversheds, says: "We would never make a decision on the personality questionnaire alone. We use Wave to look at leadership ability, especially in senior roles.

"If this area is not strong we ask the candidate for examples to test if they can do what they say. Also it is useful for looking at someone's emotional intelligence, how they manage their workload, how they manage risk and if they delegate or closely control their work."

"Our top people are bringing in busi-ness and are often expert networkers. But we can have people who have just one very strong client relationship, they may not be extravert but their approach works for them. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Is Your Personality Right for the Job? More Than a Third of Organisations Now Use Personality Testing to Identify Which Candidates Will Be Most Suitable to Fill an Executive Role - but What Does It Involve?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.