‘Snowflake Tests’ in hiring came up as a personality and culture assessment that intends to rule out candidates who possess characteristics that do not align with a company’s culture, or in other words, are ‘snowflakes.’

Today’s organizations are seeking candidates who not only possess the necessary potential but also fit well with the company’s “culture.”

According to Harvard Business Review, workplace culture refers to “the ways people behave in the organization and the attitudes and beliefs that inform those behaviours – including formal, stated norms as well as implicit ways people work and interact.”

With workplace culture slowly taking centre stage in raising employee morale and improving efficiency and productivity, organizations are discovering ways to hire talent based on how well they fit within and can adopt their culture and practices through culture-fit and personality assessments. “Snowflake Tests” are one of these tests that gained a lot of popularity recently.

What are Snowflake Tests?

‘Snowflake Tests’ in hiring came up as a personality and culture assessment intended to rule out candidates who possess characteristics that do not align with a company’s culture, or in other words, are ‘snowflakes.’

In 2017, Kyle Reyes came up with the Snowflake quiz to screen his job applicants and ‘weed out’ candidates based on certain personality characteristics that don’t make them a great fit for the company. This was their way to ensure their organization’s culture stayed intact, and new employees were satisfied with and could easily adapt to their beliefs and practices.  A “snowflake” is a term used negatively to describe someone who has a strong sense of entitlement and individuality, is emotionally unstable, is easily offended, and is not as good with those who hold differing views.

The original Snowflake Test includes questions in the likes of “How many sick days should be given to employees?”, “When was the last time you cried and why?”, “How do you handle it when your ideas are shot down?”, or “How do you feel about the police?” among many others.

While implementing an assessment like the Snowflake Test may seem like a great way to determine whether job candidates have the desired qualities that fit well with the organization’s culture and can handle the environment that comes with their job, doing so can bring you quite some trouble.

Why Should Organizations Steer Away from Snowflake Tests?

unfolding snowflake tests

Lacks Scientific Evidence

Hiring assessments play an important role in the selection of potential job applicants. A pre-employment assessment that is effective must be supported by science and can be generalized to all job applicants.

Snowflake Tests were designed to filter out job applicants who don’t fit well with his organization’s culture. So far, there has been no scientific evidence of the assessment. For an assessment to be used on a wider population, it needs to be scientifically valid and reliable.

Culture and personality assessments that are legitimate are generally predictive of new hires’ workplace behaviours and are a result of rigorous testing among various population groups. This is something snowflake tests lacked, causing many to question how valid or reliable the test really is.

Reduces Diversity

diverse workplace enhances workplace culture. Making space for individuals with different opinions, experiences, and backgrounds can lead organizations towards better results, efficiency, and innovation.

By limiting potential candidates solely on the basis of their personal views and choices, the workplace becomes extremely homogeneous and compact. Like-minded individuals are most likely to bring the same ideas to the table, causing organizations who adopt such practices to cut down on their innovation and growth.

A snowflake quiz attempts to maintain workplace homogeneity by eliminating those who don’t align with their desired qualities – and this is surely not something organizations would want to prefer.

Discriminatory Hiring Practice

Organizations work hard to eliminate bias and discriminatory practices from the workplace. Due to its discriminatory nature, using tests like the Snowflake quiz as a pre-employment tool for selection would undoubtedly prove to be problematic, as it advocates for bias within the workplace.

The Snowflake test not only contains questions that focus majorly on the political state of the U.S.A, it also contains questions that dive deep into an individual’s private life choices. This raises a question of ethics and privacy in hiring.

To determine how well a candidate’s values align with those of the organization, culture and personality assessments are crucial during the hiring process. There are a number of readily available culture-fit tests today that are backed by science and can help you make informed decisions.

Choosing Scientifically Valid Culture-fit Assessments

As we’ve seen, an assessment needs to be supported by science to be reliable. Numerous researchers have extensively researched workplace cultures and employee behaviour over the years, creating a variety of tests to assist in effective hiring. Some tests most widely used in hiring today are –

  1. Cognitive Ability Tests,
  2. Role-specific Skill Tests,
  3. Situational Judgement Tests,
  4. The Big Five Personality Test
  5. DISC Assessment

To aid in their hiring and selection processes, organizations frequently use one or more scientifically backed pre-employment tests.

At PerspectAI, we use principles of psychology and game science to design pre-employment personality and culture assessments. Our psychometric assessments are based on theories that form the foundation of personality and behavioural studies, such as that of the Big Five. In our assessments, candidates are scored not only on their predisposition to particular traits but also on what drives them to work toward their objectives – or in simple terms, their motives.

By integrating our assessment designs with AI-based algorithms, we can build a comprehensive and detailed picture of the candidate’s profile that includes both traits and motives, based on which we can draw inferences and predict job outcomes.

To learn more about how PerspectAI can support your recruitment strategy in the context of personality and culture, book a session with our team today!

Author PerspectAI

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