How and When to Use Personality Assessments in Selection

The previous sections have examined the question of whether or not personality assessments are useful for selection. Having concluded that they can be, we now provide a slightly more practitioner-focused discussion of the questions how and when personality assessments can be useful.

Employees are often the single largest cost and most complex ‘resource’ to manage; they are also the source of the knowledge, skills and abilities needed for organizations to thrive. Therefore, effective employee selection is a crucial component of organizational functioning and there is an indisputable need for organizations to ensure that they manage the flow of talented people within their organizations. The activities and processes often identified as vital for talent management include recruitment, selection, development, reward, performance management and succession planning. Personality data can be useful in all these areas. Equally, selection does not refer exclusively to the selection of new employees. Personality data can be useful for the selection of redeployed staff, short-term secondments, expatriate workers and future talent.

In order to elucidate how and when personality assessment can be useful in selection and talent management more broadly, a selection paradigm is presented in Figure 8.1. There is no established framework for the selection paradigm, but authors have agreed on some key elements (Guion & Highhouse, 2006; Smith & Smith, 2005), which range from identifying the needs of the organization through to the evaluation of the selected candidate(s). As discussed above, personality-oriented job analysis offers a very useful framework but rather than repeat this discussion, in this section we focus on considerations when choosing selection methods (beyond predictive validity), administering selection methods (initial and additional) and how to use personality data after the initial selection decision is made.

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