Psychology-based assessments are not new; in fact they have been used in personnel selection since World War I. One hundred years later, their use has broadened, their science has developed, and research has proven the link between assessment results and job success.
It is well documented that two clear components link to career success: cognitive ability and conscientiousness, which appear to relate to performance across virtually every job and organisation. From measuring just these two variables it is possible to account for 20-30% of the variance in job performance across a wide variety to roles (American Psychological Association, 2004). Studies have also shown that successful job performance is a product of technical knowledge and appropriate personality traits (Nauert, 2013).
Cognitive ability assessments measure how well a candidate can process information and solve problems in areas such as verbal, numerical, and logical reasoning. These are typically used as part of a selection process and, as previously mentioned, are one of the key elements which feed into predicting job performance.
Personality assessments on the market today are often quite versatile. They tend to have applications which are appropriate for use throughout an employee’s time with an organisation: from selection to team integration and performance, individual development, transition to new roles and areas, and even moving on.
So how can cognitive ability and personality be best utilised in an organisational setting?
In the selection process, personality and cognitive ability assessments enhance decision-making about candidates’ potential: how they fit with an organisation and team, and where their strengths and development areas may be in regards to a role, both current and future. Assessment results can equip the interviewer with extra data on a candidate to build a more accurate picture. They can provide information on how a candidate might prefer to work and improve interview quality by highlighting areas which should be explored further.
In a development-based scenario, using a well-validated personality assessment enables easy identification of core strengths and areas for development in a work context. The resulting report provides deep insight into the values, motives, and preferences of employees. This can lead to improved self-awareness and areas to focus development efforts for the employee, as well as vital data for the employer on how to keep employees engaged.
Individual awareness can be extended into team applications, bringing together individual patterns to illustrate the relative strengths and weaknesses of the team as a whole. Use of a team method can accelerate the high performance of a team, enabling people to understand each other’s working styles and recognise how to make the most of the team’s skills as a whole. Objective assessments are also a good way to anticipate or identify issues the team may encounter and offer opportunities to counter them. Understanding the personality make-up of team members is essential for success.
These are just some common uses of psychology-based assessments; there are many more! In addition, the integration of psychology assessments and technology systems can increase possible applications even further.
You can read more about the validity of cognitive ability and personality assessments in our "Re-thinking Recruitment" post.
We’re curious to hear about your experiences with psychology-based assessments. How do you use them? Have you found some types of tools more effective in certain situations than others? Have you had problems using assessments? Feel free to comment and share your experiences.