Personality Tests in the Hiring Process

The vast majority of Fortune 100 companies use personality tests to separate the candidacy wheat from the employee-to-be chaff. What do these tests do? Are they worth the time and resources? And more importantly, are they effective?

Kathy Brizeli, the Senior Director of Member Services and Client Success at McLean & Company, worked in psychometrics for 12 years at Caliper. Psychometrics is one of many tests used to measure how an applicant’s traits relate to job performance. As an evaluator, Kathy interpreted assessment results and relayed them back to the potential employers for the candidate being evaluated.

“What we found out were the candidate’s innate tendencies – strengths and weaknesses,” notes Brizeli. “I would recommend their use as an additional piece of information, but never the sole determinant of a hiring decision; they should only be a piece of the puzzle. Assessments don’t necessarily consider experience or skill development.”

Personality testing is in the news: Merve Emre’s The Personality Brokers is the just-released book on how the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator was invented by a mother-daughter team in the early twentieth century. According to Emre, personality testing is now a two-billion-dollar industry.

The New Republic weighed in on the topic, saying that Myers-Briggs, taken by two million people each year “is used by universities, career coaching centers, federal government offices, several branches of the military, and 88 of the Fortune 100 companies.” CPP Inc. sells it for $49.95US. On the flip side, organizational psychologist Adam Grant wrote, “The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is better than a horoscope but less reliable than a heart monitor.”

Robyn Knezic, Delmanor’s Director of Human Resources uses the Wiley – Global Assessment Profile XT.

“We are able to see areas where a candidate excels, and where they may have challenges. Some of those areas are: verbal skills, verbal reasoning, numeric reasoning, energy level, assertiveness, sociability, manageability, attitude, decisiveness, accommodation, independence, and objective judgment,” notes Knezic. But this comes with a caveat: “I think it is important to keep in mind that the personality profile is only one piece of the process and should not be relied on solely when making a hiring decision.”

With fifteen years of testing experience, Maryann Romano, Vice President of Human Resources at Distinct Infrastructure Group, also worked with Caliper, which she says costs $600 per test. “If you are limiting it for one or two candidates, fine. If you’re filling ten candidates over six months, the costs can get significant, especially if things don’t work out for whatever reason.” She claims that personality testing has shone light on, “knowing the warts, deciding if you can live with them, how to manage them, and how they like to work.”

Meanwhile, Mardi Walker, VP of Human Resources for the Ottawa Senators shares similar experience with personality testing. “Personality testing,” she says, “has worked out well for store clerks and store associates.”

In addition to Caliper, Walker used Gallup’s StrengthsFinder Personality Test – what she refers to as “very intense”. “It tested arithmetic ability, a person’s honesty and integrity, and how likely they’d be to ‘help themselves to the merchandise’.”

Vered Lerner cautions if the test is not administered properly, or if the tested individual isn’t honest, “the results may be misread or misunderstood.” The CEO and Founder of Bizstance Services has been working in HR and management for over 20 years.

The employer, moreover, ought to understand that a test doesn’t reveal everything. “Not all roles require testing, and employees are complex individuals with emotions, and the ability to change and adapt, given the right conditions and support.”

– Dave Gordon

How to Have a Difficult Conversation with an Employee

It’s never easy to have a difficult conversation in the office, especially if you’re deathly afraid of confrontation. However, it’s impossible to manage a company and not have to approach an employee at some point about their behaviour, insubordination, or work quality, and sometimes even terminate them. Brushing the issue under the rug or simply ignoring it can make the situation worse and negatively affect the workplace, productivity, and other employees. There are several different types of difficult conversations that you might need to have at some point, including policy breaches, coworker complaints, dress code violations, and even workstation cleanliness. As a manager or supervisor, it’s important to know the proper way to handle these conversations, or it could do more harm than good.

Prepare Yourself
Before deciding to have the conversation, get prepared by asking what the behaviour is that’s causing the problem, and what outcome from the behaviour is impacting you, the team, the environment, etc. You need to have an understanding yourself before providing clarity to someone else about the issue. This will also keep the focus on the issue and avoid derailing the conversation.

Choose an Appropriate Location
Before entering the conversation or even calling for a meeting with the individual, decide where it will be held. Finding the right location will set the tone of the meeting. Your office is usually the best place, but depending on your company culture, it might ease the tension if you talk over a cup of coffee or lunch at a food court in the building or nearby; this can lessen the chances of the employee feeling embarrassed. However, if it’s a more formal conversation, your office, a conference room, or a boardroom is probably the most appropriate place.

Leave Your Emotions at the Door
When starting the conversation, be straightforward and tell the individual what the purpose of the meeting is. Be sure to not get caught up in your emotions; keep your feelings in check and don’t let them drive the conversation. Focus on the facts and be careful not to say things like, “I feel disappointed,” which will only add biased emotional elements. It also helps to be aware of your preconceived notions about the situation and the person involved, so make sure to leave that at the door as well.

Be Open and Listen
Be calm and fair during the discussion. Don’t project anger or judgment because that may result in the employee getting defensive and things might get heated. Find a balance between polite and firm; be caring but remain professional. It’s important to be open to hearing what the other person has to say. Be mindful and treat them with respect, even if you completely disagree with them.

It’s important that you brainstorm solutions during the meeting. Ask the employee in question what they think will work. Out of their ideas or suggestions, build on something you like. Asking for their point of view can create a safe atmosphere and encourage them to engage.

Always Follow Up
Following up after the conversation is a good way to smooth over the relationship between you and your employee. It’s also a good way to check up on their progress if there are any changes they need to make. Don’t micromanage, but keep track of how they’re doing, for as long as you think is necessary. If progress needs to be made, there is a possibility they might backslide.

Putting off a difficult conversation will only do more damage to your business. Holding off on speaking to an employee about their performance or attitude won’t help productivity and might even affect the rest of your team. Practice these tips and prepare your points so that you can mentally prepare and be more effective, confident, and comfortable with having difficult conversations. That way, you can get everyone on your team working together and at their highest potential.


Helen Jacob | Staff Writer

Paycheque VS Purpose

Everyone has heard the saying, “There are some things that money can’t buy.” People equate happiness with money. However, the most successful ones are those who never stop dreaming and continue to reach a goal.
Although trying to survive in this world can be quite expensive, we should give more importance to the type of work that we do rather than the amount of money we make. This will result to a happier life and contented career.

Focusing on Your Paycheque:

Takes Away from Your Happiness: A full-time job entails hard work and dedication. If you are just working for the money, you will not go places. Focus on what you can contribute and for all you know, you’re already moving up the ladder, with a more competitive salary. A good income does not guarantee a better source of happiness. Working to earn more money may take the time away from things that of greater value to you, your family, friends, or time for yourself.

Hindrance to one’s growth: Focusing on compensation rather than career development will not provide professional fulfilment. For sure, all of us are working for a living, but its’ not everything. At work you can determine if an employee is only after the salary, they are those who clock in and out without producing anything. Usually, they are the disengaged workers, these are the type of employees who have low morale, inefficient and passionless about a job. The effect is lost productivity resulting to poor product/service quality. Regardless of the role you play in the organization, always think that you have a purpose, and that you’re part is important to achieve the company’s goals. For instance, Steven Spielberg started off as an intern at Universal Studios. Even though his service was unpaid, this did not stop him from showing his creativity.  Sidney Sheinberg (Vice President for Universal Studios Television Branch) recognized Spielberg’s hard work and abilities. This started a history of success in the life of a then student trainee. He focused on sharing and manifesting his talent (rather than thinking of getting paid for the work he did). Now, he is recognized as one of the best directors of all-time.

Focusing On a Purpose:

Make an Impact to Society: Having a purpose is about doing more than just work. Always be of value. Consider yourself as an asset to the company. Do not be contented in doing the same things every time. Take the opportunity to make a difference. We are practically spending much of our time at work so, why not create positive impacts? There is this famous story about police officers who went out of their way to help a man with Alzheimer’s in the city of Little Rock, Arkansas. His wife suddenly discovered that he was missing. Worried because of her husband’s mental condition; she immediately called the police. Luckily, the policemen were able to locate the husband. Apparently, he just wanted to buy flowers for his wife, as it was an old Mother’s Day tradition. Instead of taking the man back home, the officers took him first to a grocery store to help him buy a bouquet of roses.

Work the Extra Mile: These police officers did more than what is written in their job descriptions. The wife was in tears when her husband was escorted home. Although this is just a simple act, they still worked the extra mile.

Always find ways to be happy at work. Wake up excited and enthusiastic. Explore avenues to new experiences. Get out of your comfort zone.


L. Shabudin | DBPC Blog

How to Effectively Condense Your Resume

The appropriate length of a resume will vary depending on your experience and the level of the position you are applying for.  Many will recommend that it stay under 3 pages, but if you find that you absolutely cannot condense it any further without leaving out important selling points, then feel free to make it longer.  For most people, however, especially entry-level employees, you should never need more than 2 pages or so.  Here are a few tips to help you shave down your resume without compromising on quality.

Keep your career summary/objectives short

Say what your proficiencies are and what you’re interested in pursuing.  Keep it to one paragraph.

Don’t go too far back in your work history

If you’re already somewhat established in the workforce, old part-time high school jobs often aren’t particularly relevant to the current position you are applying for.   They take up unnecessary room, while not contributing much to selling your skillset.  Worse yet, they may distract employers and leave them wondering why you included them in the first place.

Keep several versions of your resume

Instead of trying to jam all of your experience into a single resume, have focused, specialized resumes for each industry you’re applying for.  This now allows you to create a distinctive profile as a potential employee, but also avoids clutter and allows you to be more succinct without giving up relevant information.

Use functional highlights to condense similar work experience

You can avoid a lot of redundancy by compiling your accomplishments from similar roles into a single functional highlights category and then simply listing the positions separately.  This allows you to demonstrate that you’ve worked in a similar role at different companies, while preventing you from having to repeat the same duties and achievements 2 or 3 times.

Avoid using fluff in your description

Too many bullet points can take up unnecessarily large amounts of space, while not giving your employer particularly useful information.  For example, do they really need to hear that you “work hard” or are “good with deadlines”?  These things should be implied when they look at your accomplishments from your previous jobs.

Writing a resume can be a tiring experience, so it’s important that its key features are done correctly.  A resume isn’t a history of your entire work life; it’s a way for employers to understand the value you can bring to them.  Keeping things short and sweet but still informative is the best way to ensure that happens.

Lance | DBPC Blog