Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

6th Mar, 2024

Olivia Maguire
Olivia Maguire
Job Title
Content Marketing Lead

Personality refers to the unique set of characteristics, traits, behaviours, and patterns that define an individual and differentiate them from others. It includes characteristics such as extroversion or introversion, openness, conscientiousness, agreeableness, and neuroticism (known as the big five personality traits).

Someone’s personality affects how they think, feel, and behave in different situations and how they interact with the world around them. In the workplace, having a team of diverse personalities is important as it brings together a variety of thought patterns, problem-solving approaches, and creative processes. This diversity leads to richer discussions, more innovative ideas, and better decision-making, as the team can consider a wider range of perspectives and potential solutions. It also creates an inclusive environment where everyone’s viewpoint is valued, leading to better engagement and productivity.

The role of personality and psychometric testing

To supplement traditional interviews and CV screening, many organisations turn to personality or psychometric assessments, such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) questionnaire and the Big Five Personality Inventory, to gain deeper insights into candidates' suitability. These assessments aim to measure a range of personality traits so that employers can gauge how well an applicant’s personality aligns with the requirements of the position and the company’s culture.

While personality tests can provide valuable information, they also have their limitations and drawbacks. Here are some of the pros and cons:


  • They provide insightful information about candidates’ behaviour, communication style, and potential fit.

  • They help streamline the hiring process by quickly identifying those who are likely to be a good fit, saving time and resources.

  • Using a structured and objective framework for evaluating applicants allows hiring managers to make data-driven hiring decisions on a set of standardised criteria.

  • Some research shows that certain personality traits correlate with job performance and success in specific roles, which means you can identify the candidates who possess the right attributes for the position.


  • Factors such as situational context and individual differences can influence the relevance of personality traits in a work setting.

  • You run the risk of perpetuating stereotypes and biases, particularly if not properly validated or administered. Certain traits may be unfairly associated with job suitability, leading to discriminatory hiring practices.

  • Relying too heavily on personality testing can overshadow other important factors, such as skills and experience.

  • They only offer a snapshot of an individual's traits at a specific point in time and may not capture the full complexity of human personality, failing to account for factors such as personal growth, situational adaptability, and emotional intelligence.

Understanding bias

Humans are naturally drawn to people who share similar personality traits or characteristics to them, which can inadvertently lead to bias during the hiring process. Interviewers may unconsciously favour interviewees who possess traits they perceive as desirable or compatible with their own. This bias can manifest in various forms, such as affinity bias, where interviewers prefer candidates who remind them of themselves, or confirmation bias, which leads to selective interpretation of information that aligns with preconceived ideas.

These biases can stifle diversity of thought and perspectives. Therefore, it’s crucial for hiring managers to be aware and take steps to mitigate their impact.

Incorporating personality assessments responsibly

When incorporating personality assessment into the hiring process, employers must exercise caution. Be sure to select assessments with demonstrated validity and reliability for the intended purpose and population. Ensure that assessments are administered and interpreted by trained professionals, or using reliable software, to minimise errors and misinterpretations.

Guard against bias by implementing measures to prevent discriminatory practices and ensure equal opportunities for all candidates. Strategies like structured interviews, blind CV reviews, and diverse hiring panels can help counteract bias and promote a fair selection process.

It’s important to view personality assessment as one component of a holistic hiring strategy rather than a standalone decision-making tool. Balance the insights gathered from personality testing with other indicators of candidate suitability, such as interviews, references, and examples of work.

And always communicate openly with candidates about the purpose and significance of personality testing. Provide feedback when appropriate and maintain transparency to foster trust and goodwill.

In conclusion

Personality and psychometric tests are a worthy tool in the hiring process, but employers must exercise caution. While they offer valuable insights into candidates' behavioural tendencies and potential fit, they also pose challenges related to bias and validity. By approaching personality assessment with caution, objectivity, and a commitment to fairness and equality, employers can harness their potential to make informed hiring decisions that promote diversity, performance, and organisational success.

If you are looking for a talented professional to join your team, get in touch with a specialist consultant today.