Follow Dave Linkedin
Email Dave Email
Human Resources
Nov 1, 2016

Not All Personality Tests Are Created Equal

Sponsored Content provided by Dave Hoff - Chief Operating Officer and Executive VP of Leadership Development, EASI Consult

This Insights was contributed by Rebekah Cardenas, Ph.D., vice president of business development and assessment solutions at EASI·Consult®. 
Clients often ask what I think about widely used personality tools, like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) or DISC Personality Test. My response almost always begins with a question – “For what purpose?”  What I think about a particular tool depends in part on how you intend to use it. There are many in-depth articles that dig into the history, credibility and rigor of specific tools, such as this one on the MBTI or this one on the DISC. Instead of covering something that’s already been said, let’s examine basic legal requirements regarding hiring so that you can decide if your favorite tools measure up.
As you probably know, the United States has a number of strongly enforced anti-discrimination laws that limit the way organizations can use testing programs and tools for making Human Resources decisions. Major laws include the 1964 and 1991 Civil Rights Acts, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). While it’s nearly impossible to memorize everything these laws require, there are some general rules that span them that you should remember:

  1. Ensure that the test measures the important requirements of the job being filled. Employers have an obligation to prove that the tools used for hiring decisions are job relevant, and that means anything asked of the employee must relate directly back to the specific requirements of the job. Knowing what type of person someone is (an intuitive and feeling, for example) does not tell you anything about whether or not he or she will be successful in a particular role. The problem:  lack of job relevance.
  2. Ensure that the test produces consistent results over time. If you retake a test and your personality profile or type changes, you should question the reliability of the tool. Yet, many popular tools produce results that change over time and yet still are relied upon to make important employment decisions. The problem: lack of consistency.
  3. Verify the validity of the test for your specific application. A particular test may measure what it is supposed to measure – psychologists call this content validity. But that doesn’t mean it will predict success on the job, which we call predictive validity. The ability to predict job performance is essential for tools used in hiring decisions. So if you want to use a tool for team building, look at results others have found for that purpose and in that context. However, if you want to use a tool as the basis for any type of employment decision — from hiring to promoting to compensating — be sure you find evidence that the tool can actually predict job success. You may be surprised at how hard it is to find this type of evidence. The problem: lack of prediction.
As industrial and organizational psychologists, we are held to a set of standards developed by the American Psychological Association (APA) to promote the sound and ethical use of tests and to provide a basis for evaluating the quality of testing practices. Following these standards, I must point out that while some personality profiles or tools may seem helpful to better understand yourself and how you relate to others, you should never make critical hiring decisions based on them alone. To figure out who will be most successful on the job, you must examine the job to determine what personality constructs and competencies are necessary to meet the job requirements. The person you want to hire is the one who is most likely to be successful on the job. Yet in many cases, general personality profiles cannot predict that for you.
Not all personality assessments are created equal. Using tools for purposes other than those for which they were developed and validated is simply put, a problem.
EASI•Consult® works with Fortune 500 companies, government agencies, and mid-sized corporations to provide customized Talent Management solutions. EASI•Consult’s specialties include leadership assessment, online pre-employment testing, survey research, competency modeling, leadership development, executive coaching, 360-degree feedback, online structured interviews, and EEO hiring compliance. The company is a leader in the field of providing accurate information about people through professional assessment. To learn more about EASI•Consult, visit, email [email protected] or call (800) 922-EASI.

Other Posts from Dave Hoff

Block ad easi 121411839
Ico insights


Billhunter300x300 b&w

Farming vs. Hunting:The Future of Sales & Marketing

Bill Hunter - Wilmington Design Company

Non-profit or Social Enterprise: Why it Matters

Diane Durance - UNCW Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Are You Lucky in Retaining IT Talent?

Marty Cayton - TeamLogic IT of Wilmington & Fayetteville

Trending News

A First Look At Independence Mall's Upcoming Transformation

Cece Nunn - Mar 19, 2018

In The Current Issue

ALIST Looks To Influencers

The online world has long provided methods of fundraising. Whether for disaster relief, helping with a person’s sudden medical expenses or g...

Rouse On Remaking The Mall

Changes are on the way to Independence Mall, one of the most high-profile commercial properties in the Cape Fear region. On April 5, the Rou...

Info Junkie: David Reeser

Info Junkie David Reeser, CEO of IT Works, on his app and media picks....

Book On Business

The 2018 WilmingtonBiz: Book on Business is an annual publication showcasing the Wilmington region as a center of business.

Order Your Copy Today!



WilmingtonBiz Expo - Keynote Lunch with John Gizdic, CEO, New Hanover Regional Medical Center
Wilmington's Most Intriguing People of 2017
2017 Health Care Heroes