Utilizing Personality Tests
Learning and understanding the different personality types of those you work with can be a powerful business tool.
Including personality assessments as part of your hiring process and team building can teach team members about each other’s work styles and help everyone achieve more effective ways to complete the daily tasks at hand. Consider these recommendations for your business.
PERSONALITY ASSESSMENT RECOMMENDATIONS
Two personality assessments we recommend are 16 Personality Types and DISC. A quick online search yields multiple variations for both of these tests that range from free to paid tests, as well as books dedicated to explaining the assessments in detail. From our own experience, utilizing a combination of these two personality assessments in our workplace has given our team a clearer picture of each other’s natural and learned tendencies, which have been helpful in communicating and collaborating effectively with each other.
16 Personality Types
As the name suggests, this assessment includes 16 personality types with four elements determined as such:
- Introverted or Extraverted (I or E) – describe your energy and how you recharge best, whether alone or around others, respectively
- Sensing or Intuitive (S or N) – describes whether you’re more interested in information gathered by the physical five senses, or information gathered by abstract, theoretical details
- Feeling or Thinking (F or T) – describes your preference in making decisions using your heart versus using your head
- Judging or Perceiving (J or P) – describes your preference on having structure in your life, or being spontaneous.
Each of the four elements is determined from a scale that balances closer to one element or another.
The acronym DISC stands for:
- Dominance – assertiveness
- Influence – persuasiveness
- Steadiness – supportiveness
- Conscientiousness – analytical
The DISC assessment contains four quadrants:
- Task-oriented (D and C)
- People-oriented (I and S)
- Faster decision-making (D and I)
- Slower decision-making (S and C)
Results consist of two letters: the first letter states the primary personality type, and the second letter states the secondary type.
To incorporate personality assessments into your hiring process, think about the specific roles you’re looking to hire. For example, an office administrator should have strong attention to detail, be organized and be task-oriented. You could determine that this role would be best filled by INTJ, CS or candidates with similar personality traits. A client relations specialist role would require plenty of interaction with people on a daily basis and the ability to make quick decisions. Someone who is persuasive and energized by being around people could excel in this position, such as ESTP, ID or similar personality types.
Once you have a general idea of the personality traits that fit for the open position, you can begin interviewing candidates. Be sure to keep those traits in mind during the interviews. When you have narrowed down your top prospects, have them take the personality assessments to gain a better understanding of their work styles. Alternatively, you can include personality assessments as part of the onboarding and paperwork process after a candidate has been hired.
Of course, other important things to consider during the hiring process include the level of experience, salary requirements, availability, culture fit, learned strengths, and other factors. Remember that personality types are only a small piece of the hiring puzzle and should never be used as the sole deciding factor.
Integrate personality assessment exercises and discussions into your team building events, perhaps on a semi-annual or annual basis. Doing this on a recurring basis at least once a year provides a good refresher for your employees to make a conscious effort in understanding their teammates’ innate motivations, strengths, and weaknesses based on personality type.
Putting your employees in job roles that play up their natural strengths tends to be more effective than putting them in positions that do not highlight their strengths. It also leads to more enjoyable work and higher retention rates because employees in roles well-suited for their personality types are more confident in their competencies.
However, learned strengths are also an important consideration when thinking about job roles. Learned strengths are personality traits that do not come naturally to a person, but they can be a great way for your employees to grow in their field of work. Providing professional development opportunities can help your employees expand on their learned strengths and grow into necessary roles within your company.
Another exercise you can try with your team is to determine and discuss the personality types of your clients and vendors to get a general understanding of their needs as well. This could provide helpful insight to elevate your company’s current customer service ratings and build stronger rapport with industry peers.
Personality is what makes each person unique both personally and professionally, so it’s important to recognize that in the workplace. Encouraging your employees to learn about each other’s personality types at work–and those of your clients and vendors–can help your company achieve goals together as a team while continuing to foster an environment that allows your team to feel confident in each other and in their daily work.