Selection and Psychometric Testing

HBR has a nice overview of dos and don'ts when it comes to personality testing and hiring decisions. A few scattered thoughts:

First, I'm surprised that only 18% of companies use personality tests for hiring - that's much lower than I would have expected. However, the cited growth rate  (10-15%) doesn't surprise me. Remember the "war for talent?" Organizations recognize that finding, retaining, and leveraging good employees is essential for their long-term success, and personality tests are a useful tool for this. (Shameless plug: yes, as a leading global provider of the DiSC test, I am of course pleased by the long-term industry growth that this article suggests.)

Second, "know the law." Yup, can't argue with that - legal compliance is certainly important. Though I confess that I'm slightly gobsmacked by the exhortation that, "organizations should not ask candidates to take any assessment that was designed for the purpose of diagnosing susceptibility to depression, risk for other kinds of mental illness, or any kind of personality disorder." I am hard-pressed to imagine an ordinary workplace situation in which a hiring manager would, as a matter of course, subject applicants to tests of mental illness.

Finally, as regards the business needs, kudos to the author for discussing an important but oft-overlooked point, and one where many organizations fall down. A comprehensive selection process should indeed function cradle-to-grave. How does an organization track the performance of new hires over time? What is the career prediction for a given employee at time of hire, and how is that prediction borne out by the employee's growth and success over the years? A world-class talent management program should absolutely contain a feedback loop between employee performance and the selection/testing processes. Alas, such a thing is sadly rare.