HR Glossary for HR Professionals

Glossary of the most common HR terms and acronyms to assist professionals navigating the ever-growing and ever-changing world of HR terminology.

Personality Assessment

What Are Personality Assessments?

The term personality assessment can refer to a field of psychology that—according to the American Psychological Association—“involves the administration, scoring, and interpretation of empirically supported measures of personality traits and styles.” It can also refer to the tests used in the field.

Although we’ll primarily refer to personality assessments in the context of tests, it’s important to emphasize how rigorous the field of psychological study and practice is. Although they wear many hats, most HR pros are not trained psychologists—nor should they be. But they need to appreciate what these tests can measure, what they cannot, and how to interpret the results

What Are the Most Commonly Used Tests?

The most common personality assessments used in recruitment include:

  • The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

This tool is one of the most popular and recognizable personality assessments in the world. The test identifies 16 distinct personality types based on four dichotomies: extraversion/introversion, sensing/intuition, thinking/feeling, and judging/perceiving. 

  • Culture Index

This behavioral profiling assessment actually begins with the team you’re hiring for. By testing the team first, Culture Index then helps you determine what’s needed from the position and how well the candidate fits in the role and within the team.

  • The Hogan Personality Inventory Assessment

With a reputation for reliability, this test is designed to “measure reputation, not identity.” In other words, it’s based on the idea that our perception of ourselves—identity—can be flawed, but how others perceive us based on our observable behaviors—reputation—is a better indicator of how we’ll work in a given role or environment.

  • The DiSC Assessment

DiSC stands for the four main personality types measured by the assessment: Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Conscientiousness. This test is popular because it’s easy to use and its results are easy to apply.

Keep in mind, however, that the DiSC does not claim to be a predictive tool. It should be used as part of a holistic hiring process and not as a screening toolaccording to the DiSC Profile website. Still, the assessment can help hiring managers understand how a candidate might fit into a team’s dynamics or a company’s culture.

  • Objective Management Group Sales Assessment

At BerniePortal, we also use the OMG Sales Assessment for sales positions in addition to the DiSC. The assessment results recommend a hire or not, and OMG boasts 96% accuracy in predicting sales success.

How Personality Assessments Improve Retention

Essentially, retention is about understanding your employees and respectfully engaging with them based on that understanding. 

With that goal in mind, personality assessments are an efficient and effective way to help you better understand your employees. For example, certain tests can tell you what workplace environment a particular employee might thrive in—if they work well under pressure, how well they work on a team, and so on.

In this way, personality assessments can help managers better coach their employees. But keep in mind that personality assessments should not be used at will to jump to conclusions that only confirm a particular manager’s unconscious biases. Rather, HR should select “empirically supported measures of personality traits and styles”—per the APA’s definition—and train managers on how to interpret the results and responsibly act on them. 

Related Terms: Employee Empowerment

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