For decades, large companies have used personality testing to make hiring, promotion, and management decisions. And with the rise of technology, such personality tests are now more accessible to small companies. By harnessing affordable, online assessments, small businesses can access data that will help them make smart decisions about job assignments, work flow, and incentive plans to achieve a more successful workforce.
The use of online personality tests is growing. Success Performance Solutions, a consulting firm specializing in online personality testing for small businesses, experienced a 15 percent revenue increase in 2014, and Caliper, a test maker, has seen usage of its products climb almost 160 percent in the past five years, according to the Chicago Tribune.
How to Use Testing
Small business owners who want to take advantage of the benefits of personality testing can use the tests in a number of different ways like:
- Hiring. Many employers use personality tests as a first level of employee recruitment. By requiring all applicants to take a brief personality assessment, employers can weed out those who are not a good fit for the position. Many online tests feature various templates for certain types of jobs, so businesses can choose the ones that best match the positions for which they’re hiring.
- Job matching. Some companies utilize personality testing to ensure that new hires and existing employees are placed in the areas where their skills can best be used. For instance, some employees may be better matched for working directly with customers, in teams, or on individual projects.
- Team building. A successful team is based on the characteristics of each member—including their strengths, weaknesses, and how they fit in with each other. Some personality profiles, such as Profiles International’s Profile XT Team Report, analyze all the members of a team and provide data about how their skills fit together, as well as potential areas of conflict.
- Leadership development. Personality testing can help business owners determine which employees are best suited for leadership, and pinpoint skills for further training and development.
How to Choose the Right Tests
Small businesses that plan to use personality testing to boost workforce efficiency should make sure the tests they use are fair and legal. For instance, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is investigating whether some personality tests used in hiring actually discriminate against people with disabilities, according to the Wall Street Journal. Be sure that the testing you choose doesn’t try to uncover mental health issues like depression, or any other kinds of information that’s illegal to consider in hiring decisions.
Before requiring employees or applicants to take a personality assessment, business owners should take time to choose the tests that work best for their situation. For instance, the test should be easy to use—both for those who will take the test and those who will interpret the results. It should also measure responses based on specific benchmarks that closely match the company’s needs, and should have proven results based on expert research.