Using personality assessment data post-selection

Selection processes can be expensive and the data gathered can be of use beyond a final selection decision. The re-utilization of personality data after selection makes for a better return on investment and ensures that the data collected has continuing benefits. If personality data are to be used after selection, it is important that candidates be informed of this prior to completing the measures. If this is done, we see personality data as useful in four ways after selection.

First, when selecting multiple candidates, personality data can inform initial placement by matching the candidates with mentors (Wanberg, Kammeyer-Mueller & Marchese, 2006), teams (Morgeson, Reider & Campion, 2005) or leaders (Monzani, Ripoll & Peiro, 2015). In this approach, the personality profiles of the selected employee will be compared with those of existing team members or managers. It is important to note that this does not represent the ‘cloning’ of existing team members or leaders, which is generally to be avoided, but ensuring a complementary fit of typical tendencies for thinking, feeling and behaving.

Second, personality assessment data can inform initial employee coaching and development (Batey, Walker & Hughes, 2012). Here, the new employee can discuss their likely strengths and development areas on starting in their new role, and the same information can be shared with team colleagues as part of the induction process.

Third, the personality data might indicate that new employees possess managerial potential (Goffin et al., 1996) and are well suited to leadership positions (Judge, Bono, Illies & Gerhardt, 2002) or expatriate roles (Caligiuri, 2000) and thus they could be considered for ‘high potential’ or ‘rising talent’ programmes (Silzer & Church, 2010).

Fourth, if the role, team or department that new employees have joined is subsequently subject to redesign, restructuring or redeployment, the personality data could partially inform what new roles they could perform.

The key issue stressed here is that personality data collected during selection can be effectively used later, provided the candidate is informed of these potential uses during the selection process. Using selection data to inform placement and development offers other advantages. Framing personality assessment during selection as the first step in a developmental trajectory and explaining to candidates how the data are to be used increases the face validity and job relevance of the measure, thus improving candidate reactions during selection. It is also possible, though at this point speculative, that candidates may be more engaged in the selection process and ‘fake’ less if they understand that the personality assessment will influence with whom they will work and the training they will receive.

One final note is that while self-ratings are useful, other reports appear to offer greater predictive validity. Thus, we suggest that once a candidate has been in role for a year or so, the company ceases to use self-ratings and instead uses other ratings gleaned from colleagues, managers and subordinates as part of ongoing 360-degree development (Batey et al., 2012).

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