For over a century, personality assessments have played a crucial role in employee selection. Originating during World War I, the initial tests aimed to aid the military in identifying soldiers prone to mental health issues. Over the decades, these assessments have evolved into sophisticated tools extensively applied in the workplace.

In the present day, personality assessments stand as a valuable instrument for employers. They assist in pinpointing candidates aligned with the company culture and poised for success in their roles. With a plethora of personality tests to choose from, employers can opt for the one that aligns most seamlessly with their specific needs.

Let’s take a step back and trace the evolution of personality assessments and their applications over time.

Early 1900s and World War I

In World War I, the US Army crafted psychological tests to gauge recruits’ intelligence and personality. The goal was to pinpoint soldiers likely to succeed in combat and screen out those prone to mental health issues.

A prominent test from this era was the Army Alpha Test, assessing general intelligence using a paper-and-pencil format. Administered to over two million recruits, it became widely recognized.

Another significant test was the Woodworth Personal Data Sheet, designed to identify soldiers at risk of developing shell shock (now known as post-traumatic stress disorder). Administered to over one million recruits, it played a vital role in understanding and addressing mental health risks.

Personality Assessments during World War

The Mid-1900s and Interwar Years

After World War I, there was a surge in interest in personality assessment, leading to the development of new tests. Among them were the Bernreuter Personality Inventory, crafted by Robert Bernreuter in 1921. Notably, it was one of the earliest personality tests intended for non-clinical settings, measuring traits like neuroticism, introversion/extroversion, and dominance/submission.

In 1943, Starke Hathaway and J.C. McKinley introduced the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI). This test aimed to evaluate various mental health disorders, encompassing depression, anxiety, and personality disorders. Renowned for its effectiveness, the MMPI stands as one of the most widely utilized personality assessments globally.

World War II and Beyond

During World War II, the US Army again developed several psychological tests to assess the intelligence and personality of recruits. These tests were similar to the tests that were developed during World War I, but they were more refined and sophisticated.

In the years following World War II, personality assessments continued to evolve. Researchers developed several new personality tests, including the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and the Big Five Personality Inventory.

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) 

Developed in 1944 by Isabel Briggs Myers and her mother, Katharine Cook Briggs, drawing from Carl Jung’s work, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) has become one of the world’s most widely used personality tests. Employers, schools, and individuals leverage it to understand personalities and interpersonal dynamics.

The MBTI assesses four personality dimensions:

  • Introversion/Extroversion: How people focus their energy. Introverts tend to focus their energy on their inner selves, while extroverts tend to focus their energy on the outer world.
  • Sensing/Intuition: How people take in information. Sensors tend to focus on concrete information, while intuitive tend to focus on abstract information.
  • Thinking/Feeling: How people make decisions. Thinkers tend to make decisions based on logic and reason, while feelers tend to make decisions based on their emotions and values.
  • Judging/Perceiving: How people deal with the outside world. Judgers tend to prefer to have things planned and organized, while perceivers tend to be more spontaneous and flexible.

Despite its popularity, the MBTI has faced criticism for oversimplification and limited empirical support.

The Big Five

While scepticism surrounded the MBTI, the emergence of the Five Factor Model (Big Five) in the 1980s transformed the landscape of personality assessments. Developed and expanded upon in 1981 by Lewis Goldberg, the Big Five is one of the most widely used and well-studied personality models.

The Big Five measures five personality dimensions:

  • Extraversion: How outgoing and sociable a person is.
  • Agreeableness: How cooperative and trusting a person is.
  • Conscientiousness: How organized and responsible a person is.
  • Neuroticism: How anxious and emotional a person is.
  • Openness to experience: How curious and open-minded a person is.

The Big Five is a good predictor of a variety of outcomes, including job performance, academic success, and relationship satisfaction.

DiSC Assessment

The DISC assessment was first developed in the 1920s by psychologist William Moulton Marston. It has evolved over time to become a popular tool for employee selection, development, and team building. It is a reliable and valid assessment that can be used to improve individual and team performance. 

DISC measures four personality dimensions: dominance, influence, steadiness, and conscientiousness.

A Shift Toward Practical Applications

Following the rise of the Big Five, assessments such as Harrison Assessments and Gallup’s StrengthsFinder gained prominence for their practical applications in the corporate world.

Harrison’s Personality Assessments

Employers of all sizes use Harrison Assessments, a suite of personality and talent assessments, to enhance their hiring and talent management processes. The focus is on aligning individual traits with job requirements, creating a more personalized approach to hiring.

Harrison Assessments measures 34 personality traits and 17 behavioural characteristics, organized into four main categories: Motivation, Talent, Behavior, and Culture.

Gallup StrengthsFinder

Developed by Don Clifton in 1991, the Gallup StrengthsFinder, also known as the Clifton Strengths Test, pinpoints an individual’s top five strengths. These strengths are defined as talents that can be applied productively.

Gallup StrengthsFinder is based on the idea that people are more successful when they focus on their strengths rather than trying to improve their weaknesses. This promotes a positive approach to talent management and team building.

Modern Marvels: Embracing Technology and Data

In the digital era, advanced technologies like machine learning and data analytics enhance modern personality assessments, offering deeper insights into candidate suitability. Moving forward, the continued integration of technology and data analytics is likely to refine the accuracy and utility of personality assessments in hiring and organizational development.

Modern personality assessments

Recent innovations in personality testing include the gamification of behavioural assessments, making them more engaging and motivating. Some assessments incorporate game-like elements, such as points, badges, and leaderboards, encouraging participants to complete the assessment and gain insights into their personalities. Personality assessments in hiring have evolved significantly, becoming integral parts of the recruitment process.

Choosing The Right Personality Assessments at Work

Hiring the right people remains essential for an organization’s success. Personality assessments serve as valuable tools in identifying candidates who align with the company culture and are likely to thrive in their roles.

However, with so many different personality assessments available, it can be difficult to know which one is right for your organization. Here are a few tips to help you choose the right personality assessment for hiring:

  • Consider the organizationโ€™s needs. What are you hoping to learn about your candidates? Are you looking for a general assessment of their personality traits, or are you more interested in specific traits, such as leadership or problem-solving skills? Once you know what you’re looking for, you can start to narrow down your options.
  • Look for a valid and reliable assessment. Make sure the assessment you choose has been scientifically validated and that it is reliable. This means that the assessment should produce consistent results over time and can accurately predict how candidates will perform in the workplace.
  • Choose an assessment appropriate for the job openings. Not all personality assessments are created equal. Some assessments are better suited for certain types of jobs than others. For example, a personality assessment designed for sales professionals may not be appropriate for a software engineering position. 
  • Consider the cost and time required. Personality assessments can range in price and time requirements. Choose an assessment that fits your budget and timeline.

PerspectAI’s Big Five Based Personality Assessments

PerspectAI‘s personality assessment measures a range of key competencies that are essential for success in the workplace, including key competencies such as – 

  • Ownership
  • Social-Emotional Intelligence
  • Customer Centricity
  • Intelligence
  • Work Ethics & Values
  • Leadership

Success in a variety of roles and industries requires essential competencies. For instance, employees demonstrating high levels of ownership, initiative, and drive are more likely to take charge of their work and proactively solve problems. Similarly, engaged and productive employees often exhibit a strong commitment to their work.

PerspectAI’s personality assessment is:

1. Based on Extensive Research

Our assessments are based on the latest research in personality psychology. It is a valid and reliable assessment that is predictive of job performance and is a valuable tool for hiring managers who are looking to identify candidates who have the key competencies necessary to be successful in their roles. The assessment is easy to use and provides detailed reports that can help hiring managers make informed hiring decisions.

2. Data-driven Personality Assessments

PerspectAI’s personality assessment is also data-driven, meaning it is constantly being updated and improved based on the latest research and data. This ensures that the assessment is always as accurate and predictive as possible. We use a variety of data sources to develop and refine our assessments, including:

  • Job analysis: We collect job analysis data from employers to identify the key competencies that are essential for success in different roles.
  • Performance data: We collect data of both high and low performers from employers to identify the personality traits that are most predictive of job success.

By using PerspectAI’s data-driven personality assessments, you can be confident that you are making the best possible hiring decisions for your organization.

If you are looking for a comprehensive personality assessment that can help you identify candidates with the key competencies for success, PerspectAI’s personality assessment could be the right fit for you. To learn more about our assessments, talk to us!

Author Sharanya

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