Types of Personality Tests All HR Professionals Should Know About

My grandfather told me all he needed to land a new job was a typo-free resume, some interview smarts, and the audacity to enter any office building and ask for an interview with the boss. But these days it’s not so easy to get an interview, much less a job. The reason? Companies are increasingly looking for ways to ensure they’ve hired the right person for the job. More hiring managers are finding that it ultimately comes down to personality tests to vet candidates in the hiring process.

According to a 2014 trends report from leading business advisory company CEB, 62% of HR professionals are using personality tests to weed out someone who won’t perform, and also need to be replaced when they flee behind the next big thing.

The different types of personality tests are good for employee assessment, but not all the tests are good for hiring. So we decided to find out about employee personality tests types, the advantages and disadvantages, and how well they work during the hiring process.

What is an Employee Personality Test?

A personality test is a selection process employed to measure the personality characteristics of applicants that are related to future job performance. A personality test typically measures: emotional stability, conscientiousness, openness to experience, agreeableness, and extroversion.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Employee Personality Tests

While weeding out applicants and streamlining the recruitment process are the obvious advantages of employee personality tests, other disadvantages include too.

Advantages of Personality Tests

  • Reveal more information about applicants’ interests and abilities
  • Identity personality traits that may be needed for certain job roles
  • Access how well an applicant will fit into the company culture

Disadvantages of Personality Tests

  • Lack of diversity if the selected applicants have the same traits
  • Take more time than applicants are willing to invest
  • Administering one can be expensive, especially if the talent pool is large
  • Applicants can lie the test, providing answers they think will secure them the job

Types of Personality Tests

Personal Attribute Inventory: This personality test consists of 50 positive and 50 negative adjectives from Gough’s Adjective Check List. The applicant is asked to select 30 which are most descriptive of the person/group in question. Personal Attribute Inventory is instrumental in assessing attitudes towards others as well as oneself.

Personality Adjective Checklist: This personality test is a 153-item self-report and rating mature of Theodore Millon’s eight basic personality styles. The eight personality styles are: confident, introversive, cooperative, forceful, inhibited, sociable, sensitive, and respectful. Personality Adjective Checklist is instrumental in assessing qualified professional for a job. The results are computer-generated and provide interpretive statements based on empirical data. This test is highly probabilistic in nature and cannot be used as a definite measurement of one’s future at the company.

Cross-Cultural Adaptability Inventory: This employee personality test is most effective when used as a part of the employee training program. It can also be used as a team-building tool for diverse work groups, or as a counselling tool for people in the middle of cross-cultural adjustment. Cross-Cultural Adaptability Inventory has a self-scoring six-point rating scale which is essential as a training tool designed to provide feedback about an employee’s potential for cross-cultural effectiveness. The inventory covers 50 items, distributed among 4 subscales: personal autonomy, emotional resilience, perceptual acuity, and openness.

California Psychological Inventory: This multipurpose test is designed to assess the personality characteristics important in everyday life.  It can be used in various settings, including business, schools and colleges, counselling agencies and clinics.

Tips on How to Conduct Personality Tests

Experts agree that while personality tests can be a useful part of the hiring process, it’s just a part of the process. Employee personality tests should be used in conjunction with a number of other supplemental psychometric assessment and thorough pre-employment verification.

Below are some recommendations to get the most out of employee personality tests.


An employer that selects applicants with high-degree of ‘assertiveness,’ ‘self-confidence’ and ‘independence’ may end up excluding a lot of female talent without would result in less gender diversity at the workplace.


Any employee personality test should be analyzed for its adverse impact as well as reliability.


Personality tests should not be the sole medium for hiring talent. Instead, employers must use it in conjunction with the hiring process. That said, applicants shouldn’t be selected solely on the basis of personality tests alone.

Anna Verasai
Anna Versai is a Team Writer at The HR Digest; she covers topics related to Recruitment, Workplace Culture, Interview Tips, Employee Benefits, HR News and HR Leadership. She also writes for Technowize, providing her views on the Upcoming Technology, Product Reviews, and the latest apps and softwares.

Similar Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.