Álvaro Cárcel, Executive Search Director

Do Personality Assessment Tools Predict Job Performance?

In my opinion, the answer is a resounding yes.

A correct personality assessment, through the right tools, minimizes the possibility of making mistakes when making hiring decisions, as well as the possibility of being guided by unconscious biases.

Obviously, they are one more element in a global evaluation, but there is an infinity of data that corroborates the above. In fact, the validity of the methods/tools used to assess is a key criterion to be taken into account.

Without wanting to go into too much detail, in general, validity is usually measured as a number between 0 and 1 (where 0 means that there is no correlation between the method used to evaluate and the result achieved, and 1 means a correlation of 100%). Values ​​above 0.5 are considered especially good. Evaluating a person exclusively using unstructured interviews yields a validity of 0.38, and the validity drops to 0.26 if a decision is made based exclusively on positive references. On the other hand, if interviews are carried out together with an evaluation of personality (and ideally also of cognitive capacity), the validity scale increases significantly.

That said, sometimes we forget where we started. In a professional environment, it is not about evaluating a personality “in the abstract”. It is about evaluating a personality in comparison to a specific position.

Therefore, the position to cover must be dissected before evaluating the person, and differentiate:

- On the one hand, the key experience/knowledge points required for the position (which can be fairly easily assessed through an interview)

- On the other hand, the behaviors expected to develop successfully in the position (and that are difficult to assess exclusively through an interview).

Thus, by way of simplification, if a company in the consumer goods sector opens a process to incorporate a Commercial Management, it will foreseeably look for the following:

- Key points of experience/knowledge: a) X years of experience negotiating with large retailers; b) Have managed business volumes of X million €; c) Experience managing teams of X people, etc.  Easily assessable in an interview.

- Personality behaviors: a) Some degree of extroversion; b) Communication skills; c) Influence; d) Negotiation capacity; e) Orientation to results; f) Emotional control, etc.  It can be partially evaluated in an interview, but other tools are required to go deeper.

Precisely the above is usually the first big mistake in the selection process: starting the evaluation without being clear about what should be evaluated (and just as importantly, also what should be discarded, because it is not relevant to the position). In other words, if for a position, when evaluating, we give special importance to a specific behavior when in reality it is not important, the evaluation is immediately flawed (and partially invalidated).

This tends to happen, to a greater extent, in newly created positions, or complex positions, which are more difficult to dissect than a “traditional” Business Management, as in the example above.

Saved this point, the question arises: And what tool should be chosen to correctly evaluate what we want to evaluate?

There is a wide range of options on the market, some really useful and with proven validity, and others of doubtful utility (and high cost). Incorporating a personality assessment into the selection process has a cost, and as with any business decision, it is important to analyze the ROI. A bad choice can mean wasting a significant amount of money per year. On the other hand, a good choice can lead to significant savings by reducing errors and, consequently, turnover (approximately, it is estimated that the average cost of a company for hiring an inappropriate profile is €53,000. If we consider the number of errors that are made, especially in large corporations, we are talking about figures that can be frightening).

As experts in evaluation, and after years of experience testing different options available on the market, we currently believe that the models based on the "Big Five Framework" are the ones that offer the most accurate conclusions when making decisions in the field. professional.

And furthermore, this personality assessment should ideally be complemented with an assessment of cognitive ability, another critical aspect to take into account, especially in managerial positions.

From Saltor Talent, we have decided to betby the OPTO and CORE tools, developed by the Danish company Master International.

What reasons have guided our decision?

- Maximum quality standards (national and international certifications)

- Possibility of choosing the key and most relevant criteria of the position, and visualizing the degree of fit and possible gaps

- Platform quality (usability)

- Quality and variety of reports that can be generated

Final reflection: In a selection process, people who evaluate people intervene. On this basis, there will always be a certain degree of subjectivity, and therefore it is impossible to completely eliminate the possibility of error. However, our mission is to reduce subjectivity to the minimum possible and, consequently, minimize the risk of error in decision making.