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How To Pick The Perfect Hiring Test For Your Business

Why use a personality test for your recruitment needs

Why consider a hiring test in your pre-employment phase?

A hiring test is one of the most objective ways to predict job performance and test a candidate for company fit. It consists of using a set of assessments (including personality and logic reasoning assessments) to evaluate candidates on a wide range of aspects like cognitive ability, critical thinking skills, personality type,  and motivation.

Personality tests

Personality is made up of unique traits, characteristics, and psychological preferences. And while many things influence us in our day-to-day-lives, personality is a key force behind our habits, attitudes, and behaviours. It’s unsurprising, then, that the scientific community has proved how personality tests can be a strong predictor of job performance.

Increasingly, companies are giving candidates a personality test to complete as part of the hiring process. Based on the results, recruiters can get a quantifiable value for traits that are usually hard to measure, like customer service aptitude or an applicant’s ability to cooperate and work in a team.

However, an important thing to flag here is that if the assessment isn’t psychometrically validated for hiring and selection, then you risk making a poor, subjective hiring decision, or worse, getting into a tough legal spot. 

This is why it’s critical to pick a personality assessment that’s backed by the scientific community. Furthermore, using a personality test should always be carefully considered, especially, with regards to where in your hiring process it sits. 

For instance, some companies use personality assessments as a pre-employment screening step, enabling them to quickly identify the best candidates to move forward with for interviews.

Ultimately, think of a personality test as a part of your overall hiring strategy.

Which personality test to choose?

When it comes to personality tests, there’s no shortage of them. However, the quality, reliability, and validity vary, and this is where you need to be really careful. There are many tests on the market that are neither reliable or valid, especially for hiring purposes. Such tools should be avoided at all costs. 

On top of considering whether an assessment is sufficiently valid, you have to verify that it’s valid for hiring and selection use cases. One test can be perfectly valid for one use case, but not for another.

Let’s compare a few different personality tests.

Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)

MBTI is often used by companies during the recruitment stage. The test exists to determine where a candidate falls under four key categories: 

  • Extraversion vs. introversion
  • Judging vs. perceiving
  • Intuition vs. sensing
  • Thinking vs. feeling

Pros: This test can help determine how well a candidate would work within a team, as well as give an overview on which way of working the candidate excels at. 

Cons: It’s a long assessment with 93 questions in total, and where the test falls short is that it doesn’t predict employee performance.


Trait theoryBig Five Personality Test

The Big Five Personality Model is known as the premium standard model for understanding and capturing personality. Its effectiveness for determining job performance is backed up by decades of peer-reviewed, validated science.
The Big Five personality traits:

  • Openness
  • Conscientiousness
  • Extraversion
  • Agreeableness
  • Emotional Sensitivity
Pros: The Big Five Personality test is quick and easy to complete, not to mention, it’s a highly accurate method of measuring a candidate’s likelihood to excel and thrive in a given job.
Cons: The Big Five, like any metric, isn’t perfect. It can be perceived as over-simplifying some traits, while missing others. At the end of the day, humans are beautifully complex creatures, and we are the products of our upbringing, communities, culture, and the times we’re born into.  

Did you know? You can find your best candidates and shortlist them for interviews with Alva’s candidate assessments platform-all with the click of a button.   


The Caliper Profile
The Caliper Profile test is used worldwide, and it’s considered a psychological assessment that gives recruiters a comprehensive personality profile of candidates. The test is used to determine a candidate’s potential to grow in the role, as well as their motivators and key strengths. 
Scores are grouped into the following categories:
  • 60-99 – Natural fit
  • 40-59 – Moderate alignment
  • 1-39 – Weak alignment
Pros: The Caliper Profile Test is more accurate than using a CV to screen a candidate, and it’s considered an accurate, scientifically-proven way to test a candidate’s personality. 
Cons: It’s a mighty long test, and can take up to two hours to complete, making it not a very candidate-friendly test. It’s also quite difficult, and is recommended to be used for only the most senior positions.

Benefits of personality tests for hiring

There are many reasons why you should consider using a personality test as part of your hiring process. Below we outline a few. 

Data-backed insights on your candidates

Personality tests give useful, data-backed insights regarding how a candidate is likely to behave at work and perform on the job. For example, the Big Five Personality test allows hiring managers to accurately assess a candidate’s key personality traits like openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and stability, as well as various other characteristics like abstract thinking, dependability, cooperation, and leadership. 

More accurate candidate screening

Using personality tests to screen candidates throughout your pre-employment phase enables you to quickly identify top potential and move them along for interviews. When combined with other hiring methods like structured interviews and a case study, your chances of making a great hire also significantly increase.

Choosing the best candidates improves retention

What happens after you hire the candidate? This is where your retention strategy comes into play. By increasing your chances of making the right hire, you also increase the chances that the employee will stay at your company long-term. This is why personality tests are so incredibly effective when used as a first key step in your hiring process.

Increased confidence in hiring decisions

If you use a well-designed, reliable test in your hiring process, you add legal credibility to the process, steer away from making a biased hiring decision, and increase your chances of diversifying your talent pool. 

Tips for using a personality test for recruitment

  • Avoid labels- One of the biggest criticisms of personality tests is that they push people into certain categories. Candidates are beautifully complex beings that can’t be defined by a single list of questions. Take this into perspective, and avoid assigning labels when assessing their potential.
  • Use data-backed insights- The best personality tests are designed in tandem with a specific role, team, or company in mind.
  • Don’t rely on the test alone- These tests shouldn’t be treated as a “pass” or “fail basis. Rather, the tests should be used as just one step of a meticulous, vetted hiring process.

Final thoughts

When used correctly, personality tests can be an incredibly effective tool to determine a candidate’s role fit and likelihood to perform well on the job. However, these types of tests should never be used as the sole determinant in hiring decisions. The best way to use them is when they form one part of a well-rounded, streamlined hiring process that includes structured interviews, case studies, and references. When combining all these together, companies are in a great position to land a great hire.
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Maybe you want to use personality tests as part of your hiring process, or you’re simply curious about the science behind personality tests and which hiring test is the most scientifically objective. Whatever your needs, below, we compare the best hiring test available for companies.