Many businesses are using behavioral assessments to get a better idea of applicants’ personalities as part of their hiring process. One survey found that nearly 80% of Fortune 500 companies use these tests to make new hires. But do they make sense for your business?
Why Companies Use Behavioral Assessments
In short? Bad hires are costly. The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that an ill-fitting hire can cost a business as much as 30% of the employee’s first-year earnings. For small businesses made cash-strapped by the pandemic, this could be devastating.
That’s not even considering the administrative headaches that can tie up your HR department for days at a time.
Many businesses see behavioral assessments as a good way to weed out candidates who may fit company culture poorly. Helbling & Associates, an executive hiring firm, states, “When administered to current team members, personality tests can allow organizations to predict how different types of people will interact. They can also identify employee strengths and workplace challenges.”
However, not everyone agrees that behavioral assessments should be part of your standard hiring practice
Problems With Behavioral Assessments
There are several potential issues with using behavioral assessments to make new hires.
For one, using these tests during the hiring process assumes that the test-taker will be completely honest. One study found that 36% of Americans admitted to lying on their resume. Why would hiring managers assume a personality test would be different?
However, the true problem lies in the possible biases in the employers giving the tests.
One such bias is companies’ tendency to favor extroverts over introverts. An analysis of a BBC study found that extroverts have a 25% better chance of being in a higher-earning job.
Making hiring decisions based even in part on personality traits could continue to widen this gap. It could also prevent you from hiring an introverted candidate who might otherwise be a perfect fit.
But Do They Work?
The answer to whether or not behavioral assessments are a good hiring tool is complicated.
As a predictor of job success, the answer is a resounding “no,” according to authors of a 2007 paper that found that the correlation between personality traits and job success ranged between .03 and .15. The authors went on to point out that this represents a correlation of “close to zero.”
However, Visiting Professor of Law at the University of Idaho Beau Baez believes that personality tests can be useful in identifying a candidate’s emotional intelligence (EQ).
“Although the exact role EQ plays in the workplace is still up for debate,” he wrote as Charlotte Law School Associate Dean, “It is reasonable to assume from the multitude of studies linking EQ to various performance factors that a valid and reliable emotional intelligence test used in [the] selection process should result in useful data.”