Let’s take a look at some additional types of pre-employment testing for you to familiarize yourself with.
When applicants apply for a job online these days, they are increasingly being asked to take personality tests — even before they exchange an email or have a phone interview with a hiring manager. Personality assessments can offer insight into a candidate’s cultural fit and whether their personality can translate into job success. The goal of these tests is to hire people who fit the profile of the ideal employee the organization is seeking.
Personality tests are on the rise. A 2011 report revealed that the use of personality assessments was then increasing by as much as 20 percent per year, and it has grown to a $400-million-a-year industry. There are several reasons driving this trend.
Prior to the Internet era, companies would place a help-wanted ad in a newspaper and be lucky if 30-40 candidates applied; now a single job posting can have hundreds, if not thousands, of applicants. This places an extra burden on recruiters and HR professionals to screen, select, and place candidates in roles that fit their personalities to keep them engaged. According to a 2013 Gallup study, low employee engagement results in 21 percent lower productivity and about 45 percent higher turnover
Replacing employees is extremely costly; a point made by Susan Stabile, a professor of law at St. John’s University in her article, “The Use of Personality Tests as a Hiring Tool: Is the Benefit Worth the Cost?” Data collected has shown that that the typical cost of replacing a bad hire is about 1.5 times the worker’s salary and benefits.
Personality traits have been shown to correlate to job performance in different roles. For example, salespeople who score high on extraversion and assertiveness tend to perform better. Additionally, companies are looking for a recruitment tool that gives quantifiable measures and thus can stand up to legal challenges.
Many personality tests are now delivered online, where they can be processed immediately and evaluated against thousands of other candidates. The test format can vary from a brief written assessment to a long psychological examination. These tests typically measure one or more of five personality dimensions: extroversion, emotional stability, agreeableness, conscientiousness, and openness to experience.
Employee theft and fraud costs a company on average $9 per day per employee in the U.S. Lie detector testing is mostly prohibited by law; however, pre-employment testing may often include integrity or honesty tests. Questions are designed to examine an applicant’s attitude and approach towards risky work behavior, theft, and lying; misuse of company resources, email, and the Internet; use of drugs and alcohol; trust with confidential information; and personal responsibility, including safety and dependability.
Employee integrity tests take two forms: overt and covert. Overt integrity tests refer directly to dishonest and counterproductive behaviors (theft, cyber-loafing, absenteeism, etc.). Covert testing is personality-based. These tests assess integrity by proxy (e.g., conscientiousness).
Emotional Intelligence Testing
Closely related to integrity, emotional intelligence (EQ) is an individual’s ability to understand his or her own emotions and the emotions of others. Strong emotional intelligence is important for most jobs — and critical for some — since emotionally intelligent people can work well with colleagues, interact with the public, and handle disappointments and frustrations in a mature and professional way. In general, tests that measure EQ have some predictability of job performance.
Often applicant integrity and EQ are assessed simultaneously. For example, the online application for McDonald’s includes 35 questions for jobseekers, and they range from the very job-specific to more general questions. Here’s a sampling:
- While you are on break, a customer spills a large drink in a busy area of the restaurant. Cleaning the floors is the job of another team member, but he is taking a customer’s order. What would you do?
- I am sometimes unkind to others.
- I often lose my patience with others.
- I dislike having several things to do on the same day.