The segment this week discusses: Pre-employment assessment: what is it? Pre-employment assessment: does personality change? And what does this all mean? This article is from Vervoe, a publication that covers various issues such as flexible working, branding, automation, how-tos and tips on interview scripts, tests and more. Verve helps organizations such as Uber to assess a candidate’s accomplishments and style in order to get to the right hiring choice. 

Pre-employment assessment is focused on predicting how people will behave in certain scenarios, not what they can do. They explore key personality traits based on an understanding that someone’s personality can predict their behavior. Most personality assessments are based on the Five-Factor Model, which asserts that there are five personality supertraits.

  1. Openness to experience
  2. Conscientiousness
  3. Extraversion
  4. Agreeableness
  5. Neuroticism

Therefore, if we gain an understanding of someone’s personality, and particularly these five supertraits, we will have a good chance of knowing how they will react in different situations. Unlike skill testing, this doesn’t mean someone can do the job. But it may shed light on how they will do the job.

Pre-employment assessment: does personality change?

Now here’s the tricky part. While skills can be taught, many people think that personality is fixed. However, that isn’t entirely true. Studies have shown that personality can, and does, change over time. While most people don’t change in a fundamental way, it is possible to change behaviors and habits, according to Carol Dweck. And it’s those very behaviors that are relevant to how someone will perform in a job, not their personality per se. That’s why two people with different personalities can perform well in the same role.

Whether we believe personality is fixed or not, it is not something that can be measured in binary terms such as pass/fail, like an Excel test. It’s who we are and, if we subscribe to the theory that personality changes over time, it’s who are are at the time of assessment. This means that the outcome of a personality assessment can’t be viewed as “good” or “bad” in isolation, it can only indicate potential suitability for a specific job. Conversely, someone can be good at Excel.

Additionally, if used incorrectly, personality assessments can be harmful to the hiring process. That’s why pre-employment assessments that test personality need to be validated. Skill testing, on the other hand, is inherently bespoke.

What does this all mean?

This is where it gets interesting. Let’s start with the dictionary:

  • A test means “a procedure intended to establish the quality, performance, or reliability of something, especially before it is taken into widespread use”.
  • To assess means  to “evaluate or estimate the nature, ability, or quality of”.

An interview means “A meeting of people face to face, especially for consultation”.

 

Next week will be the final segment, Interviewing.