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The Value of Testing Worker Personality


An individual’s personality is a set of distinct characteristics that define his or her character and have an impact on the attitudes towards work, productivity and cooperation with other team members. The primary aim of these tests is to assess the strength and weaknesses of each employee and determine their role within the organisation. This paper will review evidence suggesting that it is vital for businesses to test worker personality as well as scholarly articles, which argue that this approach is ineffective.

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The Main Elements of Worker Personality Testing

Having an effective organisational behaviour management strategy is an essential element of a businesses’ competitive advantage, and personality testing can be used to improve the hiring and managing practices in the domain of human resources. The primary aim of the personality tests at a workplace is to use the evaluations when determining the best role for each employee, which should result in improved efficiency of operations.

According to Attiq et al. (2017), though personality testing, an employer can determine the work satisfaction metrics and innovativeness of ideas that the employee can present. These elements are also connected to developing a supportive work environment. In essence, through personality tests, one can determine the best approach to managing and helping employees enjoy their work and remain productive. Human resource managers can use the results if these tests to create professional development plans for individuals, tailored towards their capabilities and personalities. This approach will help a company hire, retain and train professionals, ensuring that their workforce is continuously developing and improving.

However, since the majority of worker personality tests are self-assessments, they are often subjected to bias. Fell and Konig (2016) state that in this case, individuals who fake their answers to these tests to appear more appealing receive a significant advantage when compared to people who answer honestly. This mitigates the positive impact that worker personality tests should have on the productivity of the organisation and the process of assigning roles.

Moreover, Fell and Konig (2016) state that the rates of faking differ among cultures. This means that even improved tests that account for bias may produce inaccurate results when distributed among applicants from different cultures, becuase the individuals will demonstrate different levels of bias. This factor suggests that relying solely on worker personality tests is not a correct approach.

Determining a worker’s personality allows managers to understand their attitudes towards work and their prospective productivity. According to Mussel, Gatzka and Hewig (2018), these tests provide an assessment of qualities that are connected to a person’s “well-being, psychological disorders, work performance, and academic achievement.” Hence, one can understand if a person is a good fit for a position and if their work satisfaction rates, connected to their character traits, will not negatively impact other team members.

This is an essential factor becuase Attiq et al. (2017) state that there is a correlation between work satisfaction and innovation in a work environment. In addition, these tests can be used to predict how an individual will behave within this organisation. Therefore, personality tests are useful when hiring new employees becuase they provide valuable insight into the work-related characteristics of one’s personality.

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Reviewing the nature of the personality tests distributed at a workplace can provide a more cohesive understanding of the counterpoints regarding the value of this method. The majority of such tests use self-reporting as their methodology (Sjoberg, 2015). These types of tests are easy to carry out and evaluate, which is why they are commonly used to test the personalities of the company’s employees. However, the inaccuracy of results that arises as part of the methodology can harm the company, mitigating all the prospective value, such as increased productivity and better team collaboration.

In contrast to self-reporting, other techniques can be used to mitigate the risk of faking when taking a personality test. Mussel, Gatzka and Hewig (2018) suggest using situational judgment tests as an alternative to self-assessments. This approach is also a worker personality test, however, it requires managers to evaluate a person’s performance by providing them with different scenarios and possible answers. Mussel, Gatzka and Hewig (2018) report that such tests have high validity and can be used to examine the same personality qualities that are evaluated during standard employee personality tests.

This technique is also easy to carry out and does not require any special equipment or extensive periods of time for receiving the test results, making it as useful as self-reporting. Therefore, managers can use different types of personality tests to improve the accuracy of determining a personality type of an individual.

The downside to having personality tests is the cost of carrying out the assessment, having an evaluation and redesigning the current approach to organisational behaviour management. Sjoberg (2015, p. 582) states that “faking is a common problem in testing with self-report personality tests, especially in high-stakes situations.” While the author suggests that each test can use statistical models to account for faking and ensure more accurate results, it requires a professional with experience in statistics to design an appropriate test. Another critical factor reported by Sjoberg (2015) is that people are more likely to lie when taking a test if they know that it is essential for their personal life or professional career.

Therefore, an employee who knows that the results of the test will affect the type of work and responsibility they will be provided may be tempted to either consciously or subconsciously alter his or her test answers. This results in ineffective work and unnecessary spendings on the tests.

Personality testing allows for establishing diverse teams, which can be more productive in their work. Lykourentzou et al. (2016, p. 1) state that “when personalities clash, teams operate less effectively.” This means that even if a company employs qualified professionals with well developed soft skills, the distinct differences in people’s characters can lead to conflicts and misunderstandings. Hence, constructing teams in which members have a similar outlook on face to face collaboration is more productive for a company. A manager can use personality test results and best practices to hire and retain people that can effectively collaborate in a given work environment.


Overall, this paper examined the points and counterpoints of the value that testing worker personality has in the context of organisational behaviour management. The main argument for the value of using worker personality tests is the ability to examine a worker’s personality. This element can be used to design a supportive work environment, create effective teams, support innovation and diversity of personalities employed. However, the majority of the examined scholarly articles argue that most employers use self-reporting as the primary approach to personality testing, which is often subjected to bias or faking.

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Reference List

Attiq, S., et al. (2017) ‘The impact of employees’ core self-evaluation personality trait, management support, co-worker support on job satisfaction, and innovative work behaviour’, Pakistan Journal of Psychological Research, 32(1), p. 247-271.

Fell, C. and König, C. (2016) ‘Cross-cultural differences in applicant faking on personality tests: a 43-nation study’, Applied Psychology, 65(4), pp. 671-717.

Lykourentzou, I., et al. (2016) ‘Personality matters: balancing for personality types leads to better outcomes for crowd teams’, Proceedings of the 19th ACM Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work & Social Computing – CSCW ’16. ACM, San Francisco, The United States, 27 February – 02 March, ACM, pp. 1-10.

Mussel, P., Gatzka, T. and Hewig, J. (2018) ‘Situational judgment tests as an alternative measure for personality assessment’, European Journal of Psychological Assessment, 34, pp. 328-335.

Sjoberg, L. (2015) ‘Correction for faking in self-report personality tests’, Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 56, pp. 582–591.

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