If you’ve ever thought about using personality questionnaires in your business and done a quick search online, chances are you’ve hit a deluge of choices, price ranges and psychological bumph, and it’s all been a bit overwhelming.  Here’s our simple guide to what personality testing is all about and why it makes great business sense.

On the one hand, personality is something we are all very familiar with and we frequently make assessments of other people’s personalities (and our own) perhaps without even realising, both in work and social situations. Logic says that you wouldn’t put your most shy and retiring employee into a public speaking role, or someone completely disorganised into a PA position.

Personality testing is much the same thing but on a much more scientific and systematic level. The theory of personality testing is based around three main pillars: the psychology of personality theory, advanced IT systems, and in depth statistical analysis. Participants are given a series of statements and asked to indicate their behavioural preferences; for example, how they interact and communicate with others. This generates a report outlining their approach to their work and how they may interact within a team. This can be a fairly succinct analysis, or go into great detail, depending on the type of system and report option you choose. The important thing to note is that this is a test that no-one can either pass or fail: it’s only possible to get a ‘good’ result in the context of the personality type revealed. The purpose is to establish how closely that personality type matches with company culture, team dynamics and requirements of the job at hand. In other words, best fit.

Personality questionnaires are most commonly used to assist recruitment decisions. They can add huge value in helping selection panels to reach a consensus and settle any nagging doubts. There is a compelling link between personality and job performance; some people’s behavioural preferences (i.e. their personality) make them more or less suited to certain tasks, and more or less pre-disposed to working in certain environments or alongside certain other personality types. That’s before you even get into their qualifications, training or experience. By using personality questionnaires, you’re no longer relying on one person’s opinion from interview, an academic record or what someone looks like on paper. You are basing your decision on all of those things, plus a proven model for predicting future performance in the wider context of your organisation. You’re not just hiring someone based on their suitability for the job (the tasks), but also their match for the team and the organisation (the environmental and social context in which the tasks have to be performed). The fact that everyone in the pool is going through the same thing means that the process is objective and consistent, ensuring fairness and protecting you from bias, unconscious or otherwise.

But personality questionnaires have many more uses than recruitment alone. They can provide invaluable insight for any selection process, for example, selection for employee development and training. If you are making the decision of who to send on the next management course, or who should be selected for a costly external training programme, personality questionnaires can be vital in helping you to decide who is most suitable and who is going to get the most out of the programme, i.e. where you will see your greatest return on investment. These types of tests are based on decades of research into psychological behaviour and performance, making them a reliable and successful indicator of future performance and a great way to know how best to spend your money.

Personality questionnaires can also be helpful if you are having trouble with a team that won’t gel, or experiencing personality clashes. By running these tests, you can gain a clearer understanding of people’s preferred working styles and motivators which can enable you to gain a better handle on how to manage them. It can take the emotion out of heated situations, as well as demonstrating that you are taking a proactive approach in your management of the situation and seeking a meaningful solution. After all, who wants to spend any more time managing disputes or suffering with unproductive teams?

Personality questionnaires can also be used to identify leadership style and management preferences. We already know that people leave managers rather than companies, so it’s vital that management and leadership styles are offered some care and attention. You want to make sure that your managers are working in a way to get the best out of their team and are aware of how their natural preferences may help or hinder this. Using personality questionnaires can help to broach tricky conversations within the management layer, as, once an issue is there on paper and not just conjecture, it becomes easier to address. Moreover, if all managers are going through the process then nobody feels singled out or isolated by the process. On another level, it’s very motivating for managers to feel that they are receiving some attention and people at all levels are fascinated in reading about themselves!

The science and technology behind personality questionnaires is very advanced and that can often mean that they come at a price. So it’s important that you try and get value from the system you use. If you just want to use it for recruitment, well that’s fine, but keep an open mind as to where else this sophisticated system could be useful in the future. Explore the options available to make sure you get your money’s worth. If your system provider hasn’t got exactly the report you want, will they tailor it for you? Most systems will provide a range of reports and varying degrees of support within a set price plan. If you don’t have the experience or resources in-house, make the provider do the work!

The next question, of course, is which system to use. It’s a crowded market out there, and there are so many different providers offering a multitude of different questionnaires. Some are over complicated and over priced, but at great{with}talent we don’t believe it needs to be that way. Our products are affordable, user friendly and hassle free, and Finding Potential is no exception to that rule. Here what sets it apart:

  • FindingPotential personality questionnaires are based on the universally approved Big 5 model of personality and have been designed by specialists who learned their trade within some of the biggest brands on the market, such as SHL. We offer decades of experience, research and above all credibility.
  • FindingPotential is entirely focused on helping you gain deep, meaningful insight into people who want to join or already work for your organisation. It has been proven that the use of assessment tools such as FindingPotential will give you competitive advantage.
  • It takes just one minute for you to create an account. We do all the rest: set up your unique user account, send you all the information you need to get started, we can even add your logo to reports and questionnaires for free. Your account will come pre-loaded with assessment units so if you like it you can just purchase more assessment units to keep using the service.
  • There is no mandatory training or accreditation required. Because we’re doing all the work for you, all you need to do is decide who needs to complete the questionnaires and send us their details. Of course, you’ll need to read the reports we send through – but we work hard to make these as self explanatory as possible – with ‘topline’ data summarised for ease of reference and more in depth analysis contained within the report for those keen to delve deeper. We do everything else, from sending out questionnaires and chasing up responses to compiling reports and analysis. We won’t give you information you haven’t asked for or don’t need. Our job is to provide a straightforward yet impactful resource, which will become a vital tool in your recruitment process. We know you’re busy and that reading a 50 page report just won’t be a priority. If you want concise yet valuable insight, we have the right product for you.
  • We offer a range of reports that can be tailored to your individual needs, even to your company values or competency framework. We’ll help you with the trickiest of all parts of the process, how to give feedback, by offering reports that match your experience level in using personality questionnaires. If you’re a complete beginner, we can guide you all the way, providing detailed interpretation notes and expert narratives to help you to better understand the results and how and what to communicate from them. You can choose which reports you want, the information is all at your fingertips in the Assessment Manager tool that we will create for you.
  • Each questionnaire will take the person completing it about 15 to 20 minutes. Your report is then generated within 30 seconds from completion. You can see sample reports and examples on our website Finding Potential to get a feel for what you would get from the process – a ‘try before you buy’ option.

If you’re interested in hearing more, please get in touch, we’d love to hear from you. Alternatively, sign up for a no obligation free 30 day trial – we’re pretty sure you won’t look back!