28 Mar 2012

Psychometric personality tests

Our last blog looked at psychometric tests and the difference between psychometric and skills tests.

The main focus was on cognitive ability tests and specific skills sets.  An interesting question, therefore, is where does personality fit in?

Personality tests

Personality tests are psychometric tests. They are based on personality research and theories about how personality is structured and how it can be assessed.  They have robust psychometric properties (high validity and reliability) and normative data gathered from many thousands of people. They look at a different type of individual difference: individual propensities to think and act in certain ways.  Unlike cognitive ability tests and skills tests there is no right or wrong answer. Different jobs and positions in jobs have different personality types that are best suited to them.  Although, there are certain personality traits where performance in a certain range is preferable for many jobs.

RightPeople’s personality test was developed by Dr Richard Roberts from the University of Sydney and is based on the highly regarded Five Factor Model of personality (Digman, 1990; Goldberg, 1993). The five factors are:

Openness: this scale contrasts the ‘open’ person who is generally more willing to entertain novel ideas and unconventional values, with the ‘closed’ person who is more conventional and conservative.  An example of a job where being more ‘open’ is useful is an artist. Openness is a good predictor of an individual’s response to job training (Barrick & Mount, 1991).

Conscientiousness: this scale contrasts the conscientious person who is generally well-organised, planful, careful and thorough, with the less conscientious person who may be inefficient, disorganised and unreliable.  As the aspects of the scale suggest, this trait is a strong and generalisable predictor of performance in virtually all jobs, particularly complex jobs (Ones et al., 2007).

Extraversion: people who score high on this scale tend to be talkative, sociable and energetic, whereas people who have low scores are likely to be quiet, shy and reserved.  It is a useful predictor of performance in roles that involve leading, mentoring or persuading others, such as managerial and sales positions (Barrick et al., 2001).

Agreeabless: this scale is best perceived as interpersonal in nature.  High scorers tend to be kind, trusting and compassionate.  Low scorers are more likely to be unkind, suspicious and antagonistic.  It is predictive of obs requiring cooperation, helping and nurturing and facilitates functioning in a team environment (Barrick et al., 2001).

Neuroticism: people who score high on this trait are likely to be emotional, anxious and self-conscious, whereas people who score low tend to be calm, even-tempered and self-satisfied.  Like Conscientiousness, this is a generalisable predictor of job performance across industries however, it is not as strong a predictor.

As shown in our previous blog, Personality can influence performance on cognitive tests, there is also an interesting relationship between personality and intelligence.

We call our assessment based on the Five Factor Model the OCEANIC Personality Inventory.  Tests like the OCEANIC are the most popular and well-known personality assessments for job selection.  There are also a range of other tests we use that measure other characteristics of individual’s ways of thinking and behaving that may predict safety-related behaviour, ethical behaviour and compliance and time management.

For an overview of our personality tests and to find out which tests will best suit your job selection needs, contact us today.

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