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Personality Matters


Matt Stevens of TalentLens UK and Cécile Pannetier of TalentLens France highlight the importance of measuring candidates' Personality as well as their General Ability.

Within a recruitment context, ability tests provide vital information about whether the candidate demonstrates the required skills to do the job - they do not enable employers to see whether the candidate possesses personality traits and values which may be pertinent to fitting in to the organisation / team.

Recent academic research is re-iterating the importance of involving measurements of Personality within selection processes.

The consequence of not assessing the personality of your candidates could well be that people are hired with sufficient ability but incompatible characters for organisational values / culture.


Use together

When used in combination as part of the recruitment process, ability and personality tests provide the bigger picture. It is relatively easy to recruit a good candidate for a role but how do you recruit the best?


Ability provides the canvas

When recruiters make a decision regarding a candidate's suitability for a role, one question appears a key one:

Does the candidate have the ability and the potential to meet the performance requirements of the job?

This question is about the candidate’s knowledge, skills and his competencies. Ability tests, measuring critical thinking, verbal, numerical or inductive (abstract) reasoning help to reveal this.   


Personality paints the picture

The CIPD puts the cost of recruiting the wrong person at 2.5 times their annual salary, taking into account factors such as wasted salary and benefits, severance package and money spent on training and induction - not to mention the added cost of having to go through the recruitment process yet again.
Due to an increased awareness of the negative impact of a bad hire, another question has become pertinent:
Will the candidate perform to the best of their ability, remain motivated and help the organisation to succeed? This is about the candidate's motivation and value fit. 
Regardless of a candidate’s ability to perform, a discrepancy between a person's values and the goals of an organisation may cause a decrease in job satisfaction, disengagement, and desire to change jobs or company. 
Values are a person’s driving force. They involve goal-setting. They direct the person to attempt activities they have sign posted as important. 
If the person is constantly in a situation which is in contradiction with their own values, they can lack motivation, or can become exhausted trying to become engaged. As a consequence, their on the job performance will suffer and they may begin to negatively affect other team members.

It's not all bad

On the flip side, alignment between an employee’s and the organisation’s values are a massive boost because people are willing to execute the strategy, to learn and to develop their skills. They are also likely to be more satisfied, loyal and a positive team member to work with.

The purpose of tests and assessments is to gain as much information as possible about a candidate, in order to make an informed hiring decision. 

On this note, the TalentLens Personality tool SOSIE helps recruiters and L&D professionals to:

  • Determine if a person has the right set of behaviours for a role
  • Gauge their likely commitment levels to the job and the company. 
  • Distinguish between people with similar ability
  • Reliably predict candidates’ motivations / adaptation to a role or culture. 
  • Help individuals to understand themselves better and appreciate others.



Matt Stevens                                                        Cécile Pannetier

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