The Right Tools to Hire the Right People

Using personality assessments for quality hiring

By Caliper

Whether you’re looking to hire and develop top performers, identify high-potential employees and future leaders, address performance issues, or build more collaborative and productive teams, personality assessments can be a valuable tool. An effective assessment shines a light on people’s intrinsic strengths, behavioral tendencies, and developmental pitfalls, enabling you to make more informed decisions about your human capital.

The challenge is choosing the right assessment that will provide the critical insights you need to make informed decisions. A good one can help transform your organization; a bad one is, at the least, a waste of time and money. With so many options on the market, how do business leaders find one that works? Keep the following ideas in mind.

Work-Related Behaviors

Does your assessment specifically measure work-related behaviors, as opposed to general characteristics and styles? Assessments that reveal information about a person’s style are often entertaining and helpful to know, but the usefulness of this information varies greatly depending on the job. For example, while a strong degree of accommodation is important in a customer service representative, it’s a much less desirable trait for a collection agent who needs to be firm and persistent. An effective assessment measures traits that can predict someone’s performance in the workplace and behaviors relevant to a specific job.


Is your assessment valid for job matching? For this aspect of an assessment to be valid, your vendor should be taking measures to ensure the predictability and reliability of the tool today and over time. This means conducting continuous research, evaluations, and revisions regarding the science behind the tool. A good assessment meets scientific standards for validity (showing that it really measures what it claims to measure).


Can the information gleaned from the assessment report also offer insights that can be used for other phases of talent management? If your applicant is going to spend an hour or more completing a personality assessment, you should be gaining a multi-dimensional view of that person’s motivations and inclinations. A versatile instrument not only measures a person’s dynamics relative to a given position, but it can also be used later to support coaching and development, team building, succession planning, and department or organizational engagements around performance improvement.

The data can be used throughout the employee lifecycle without having to spend valuable time retaking assessments.

Cognitive measurement

Does your tool also measure how a person approaches problem solving? In evaluating concrete versus abstract thinking, a good assessment makes a valuable distinction regarding which assessee would be better at straightforward decisions and which would be more adept at tackling complex business issues. This data is valuable on its own, but it can become even more beneficial when combined with other key attributes to predict performance in broader competencies, such as business acumen and strategic thinking.


Does your assessment comply with federal and state guidelines? When using any assessment for hiring, you want to know that the results don’t discriminate against any protected class. Assessments used for selection must be compliant with labor laws and regulatory guidelines. Top assessment companies do their own research and testing, which includes evaluating their products for Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Americans with Disabilities Act compliance to ensure their products never discriminate based on gender, race, age, or physical disability.


Can your assessment be faked? One of the biggest sources of skepticism toward personality assessments is the potential for fakability. While validity testing can help an assessment company ensure its instrument is consistent, proper construction is required to limit the potential for distortion. Don’t be fooled by assessments with overly rosy results — nobody can be the best at everything.


Is the length of the assessment up to standards regarding the tool’s reliability? Assessment length is another factor that prevents fakability. A brief assessment that only takes a few minutes to complete can be easily faked, which suggests it won’t be very accurate. It’s harder for individuals to consistently manipulate answers over time. Duration enhances consistency and accuracy of trait distribution, leading to more reliable results. A good assessment is long enough to obtain a detailed picture of an applicant’s behavioral tendencies while still respecting that applicant’s time — and your speed of business.

With assessment instruments, data accuracy is critical both to making good talent management decisions and to gaining commitment from your employees in their coaching and development. By ensuring that the tool you ultimately choose meets these seven fundamental standards, you’ll achieve better business results and, in the end, a far higher return on your investment.

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Caliper is a human capital analytics company leveraging decades of data and validated assessment results to help organizations predict and select high-quality candidates. Caliper is uniquely positioned to help companies reduce the risk of bad hiring decisions; build high-performing teams; and engage, develop, and retain their employees. Whether your business needs to hire for an important position, reduce turnover, improve team effectiveness, or develop current and future leaders, Caliper can help you make the best talent management decisions.