Personality tests have been around for a long time now! They are something we have all been doing for years. Some are more casual and borderline silly Internet quizzes, whilst others are validated, considered authentic and highly recommended for a clear understanding of various personality traits.
The accuracy of these tests and reliability of the results have often been questioned; especially when it comes down to deciding between candidates dependent on the outcome of these tests. Would you judge a person based on one of these personality tests? Would you pick an employee based on one of these tests?
Let’s find out how reliable are these personality tests?
A personality test is usually a multiple-choice questionnaire, which is answered based on the best-suited reaction to the given scenario. There are no right or wrong answers here, and it is free of any prejudice or bias from the researcher.
Employers use these tests before hiring new candidates or promoting one and are also commonly used by therapists to understand where the client stands. More often than not, individuals also take these tests to comprehend their characteristic traits, strengths and weaknesses and find what motivates them.
Although these psychological tests have great usage in general, for example, sparking one’s interest in why one behaves the way they do or a conversation amongst peers about different personalities. However, statistical data suggests that they cannot be considered reliable enough to make critical decisions like choosing to give a candidate the job entirely based on the result of such a test.
Some well-known tests like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator or DISC assessment can only describe a behavioural trait but not predict behaviour or a pattern.
They have up to 16 different personality types. They divide people, not because those human personalities and their nature and behaviour are extremely complex, and these tests are black or white with no option for a grey!
Many of the test results vary each time one takes a test as the answers, to an extent, depend on the person’s mindset taking the test. So, e.g., if the person is made to take the test twice and turns out to be a completely different personality both times, how is an employer to decide if that was the objective in the first place?
Apart from the reliability of the tests being questionable, another concern experts have is the misuse of power by the hiring authority if used during a job interview process. They may be biased while hiring only a certain personality type for specific roles, which might not be the most efficient way of hiring candidates.
The consensus of this debate comes down to the accuracy of personality tests not being 100 percent. Having said that, these tests should still be an active part of schools and workplaces to understand the behavioural patterns of students and employees to reach the optimum level of communication and efficiency. However, using these tests as a screening for admission or hiring an employee should be avoided and based on merit, education, and skills!