Person answering a personality assessment

Why personality assessments alone won’t identify the top talent

More companies are using personality assessments than ever before. NBC News has reported that their usage is increasing by 20% each year. But are they the most effective way to measure and predict job performance? 

Below is the results of Frank Schmidt’s meta-analysis based on nearly a century of workplace productivity data. 

Meta data that measures the most effective hiring methods.

As you can see, applying personality tests alongside traditional recruitment methods create a less effective process than using a multi-level assessment approach…But why is this the case? 

Personality tests are easy to manipulate 

Some candidates may try to reverse engineer these assessments in order to impress an assessor. For example, from a list of words a candidate will choose the most favourable ones to describe themselves, instead of what their truly like. 

This is damaging to the overall hiring process. HR believes the candidate is someone they’re not and can result in the wrong applicant being hired. 

We are constantly changing 

A lot of personality tests are based on the four-quadrant personality model. This model is built to assess our states. These are the more fluid parts of our personality, for example, a person may be highly organised at work but is disorganised in their personal life. It is recommended that individuals frequently retake these tests because a person’s context regularly changes. Meaning it can be unreliable to predict a person’s job performance. 

So we shouldn’t use personality tests in recruitment?  

This depends on how you apply them. A strong recruitment process would include a multi assessment approach that tests a variety of traits, behavioural and cognitive factors. Combining these components make a personality test much more effective. Here are some factors that indicate a strong personality assessment: 

  • They assess stable traits (instead of states). These are traits that are at the core of our personality, for example, how agreeable you are. Our platform uses the Big 5 Personality Model to measure these stable traits, which is the most reliable and scientifically backed personality model. The personality results are accurate for up to 6 months after they take the assessment. 
  • They allow you to compare each applicant’s scores. This helps you assess the strongest candidate. For example, with Cognisess Pro you can compare an individual’s score against the general population and identify the top scores in the applicant pool. 
  • They have an inbuilt ‘lie detector’. This helps detect candidates who are trying to ‘cheat’ by painting themselves in a more favourable light.  For example, in our new Lens Pro assessment you can choose between two options which are equally viable instead of two choices where it’s obvious what the ‘correct answer’ is. This helps an employer really get to know an applicant and the values they stand for. The process becomes about their true abilities, not the persona which they think will get them the job.  

A 360° recruitment process

Finding the right fit means assessing the whole person. By using a variety of assessments you will accurately understand each applicant’s behaviour, personality and cognitive attributes. Taking the time to understand the potential of your applicant pool will ensure you hire the right person who will thrive in a role. 

To get to this outcome you need an effective recruitment process. We have over 60 neuroscience assessments to suit your hiring needs. Please contact us if you would like help crafting a reliable and accurate recruitment process. 

How can Gamification benefit your recruitment process?

Gamification is a common buzzword in HR. However, what actually is it —and more importantly— how can it help your recruitment process? 

What is gamification? 

Gamification is more than just adding a game into your application process. These scientifically-backed games are an opportunity to truly assess a candidate’s behaviour, abilities and job performance. 

 According to our Chief Scientific Officer, Dr Boris Altemeyer:

 “Gamification is great if it’s applied in the right way. But it should never come first. First of all, we need to define what we actually want to assess and then the gamification on top provides us with a new tool to generate better, clearer and truer data.”

Gamification is about understanding how people’s brains interpret information. For instance, assessing how well a person multitasks and prioritises. For years the ‘in-tray exercise’ has been a popular method of judging this. However, this task can be anxiety-provoking and competent candidates may underperform when they are fully aware that every decision they make will affect their job prospects. With gamification, we can build models that are very similar to daily tasks in a role without directly mimicking them. By engaging the candidates, they relax and forget it is a test situation. Test anxiety is common amongst applicants, and gamification can help combat this problem. We have even received feedback from past candidates surrounding this:  “This was a very unique and fun way to assess individuals. It allowed me to relax and was the first time I have ever enjoyed being assessed”. Because a candidate feels more relaxed, HR will get a lot more accurate data on their abilities. 

Candidates can’t second guess a game

Some candidates may try to reverse engineer their application. But with gamification, it’s difficult for a candidate to do this. For example, in our new Lens Pro assessment you choose between two options which are equally viable instead of two choices where it’s obvious what the ‘correct answer’ is. This helps an employer really get to know an applicant and the values they stand for. The process becomes about their true abilities, not the persona which they think will get them the job.  

Accessibility: more applicants, more talent

The games we have developed can be accessed anytime and anywhere in the world, which widens the talent pool. In the past, applicants who live in remote locations or have mobility issues wouldn’t have been able to physically attend assessment centres. Now they have an equal opportunity to showcase their abilities for a job. 

Breaking down cultural barriers 

It is also important to take into account the visual content of the games. Using shapes that have pre-existing cultural connotations may put candidates from those backgrounds at a disadvantage. For example, in a line up of shapes, they may choose the one that is perceived as lucky in their culture instead of the correct one. In our games, we use shapes that are universal and have no cultural connotations so everyone has an equal chance. 

More data in less time 

These games can also collect a large amount of data around how people make decisions and tackle problems in a short space of time. This means the application process can be much shorter. HR will be able to consider talent which may have otherwise dropped out of a longer application process, whilst using that data to enhance their decision making.

The future of recruitment? 

Gamification is a more engaging, accessible and less pressured method of collecting accurate data to get a fuller picture on a candidate. With all these benefits, why wouldn’t you use it in a recruitment process? In 2018, the global gamification market was valued at $5.5 billion. In the future, gamification may be a common part of most recruitment processes. On the surface, it may look simple but it is an expert skill. If you are interested in gamification, get in touch as we have experts who have been researching, testing and applying it extensively for years.

Book a demo with us to play our extensive library of scientifically-backed games or find out how you can use gamification in your next recruitment process. 

How do we know our assessments are reliable? A comparison with CANTAB

As part of its Global Cognitive Empathy Study (GCES), the Cognisess Research team, led by Chief Scientific Officer Dr Boris Altemeyer, has been conducting research with a number of UK Universities and Colleges to further confirm the reliability of Cognisess’ assessments by comparing them with the clinically approved CANTAB assessments.

We all want to find the perfect job – a job that captures our full attention and gives us an environment where our values align with our actions. But the perfect job is hard to find. Choice, rather than being an advantage, is one of the biggest obstacles between the ever-elusive perfect job and us.

We can use self-reflection to point us in the right direction, turning inward to think about our passions, what we are good at and what we would like to be good at. A huge number of different factors could be the reason why we’re currently in a particular career. Whether this career is right for us often depends on no more than luck. Clearly then, the right sort of help is needed to allow us to find right job.

Cognisess provides that help and with our assessments you can see just how well you fit certain roles. Our tools highlight what makes you a unique individual, ranging from your personality – how you react in certain situations and to other people – to your general mental ability. However we are only as accurate as our tools, so to further improve these, at the beginning of this year we began an exciting new research project.

What are CANTAB assessments?

In neuropsychological testing, CANTAB assessments (from the Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery) are one of the most extensively validated tools, with more than 30 years of research investigating their reliability and validity. We are now in the process of comparing how participants perform in the gold standard CANTAB assessments, versus how they perform in our own.

How can we prove the reliability of what we measure?

CANTAB and Cognisess assessments both evaluate cognitive and emotion recognition performance. If a participant performs well in CANTAB, they should perform well in Cognisess. In statistical terms, this is known as convergent validity, or construct validity. Researchers typically determine construct validity by answering a simple question, does the assessment measure what it claims to measure?

Anyone can take part in our research project and to ensure that we collect data that is representative, we are conducting the project with an eclectic group of participants. Those taking part range from college and MBA students to CEOs and other individuals in full time employment, and we are working with Bath College, Bath Spa University, the University of Bath and the University of Exeter to achieve this.

Focussing on our users

The project also allows us to gather valuable user feedback on the Cognisess assessments. In the realm of research, fun and assessments are not typically synonyms. When assessments are designed for recruitment, this further reduces the likelihood that individuals going through the process will enjoy what they are doing. Yet it has become apparent that users really enjoy using the Cognisess system and playing our assessments.

Peter Wills, 18, from Bath College said, “My favourite games were ColourSwitch and MatriX, although I swear that sometimes there was no X to find in MatriX. I really liked comparing my results with my friends and that got me to play the games again, so that I could get a better score.”

Our assessments are short and to the point – which is very popular with our users. As Bath Spa Art Student, Sanket Shrestha said, “I was surprised about how much fun I ended up having and it didn’t feel like a drag.”

By comparing our assessments against the CANTAB battery, we can ensure that neither the brevity nor entertainment of our own assessments detracts from their reliability. We’re seeking to make our assessments as good as they can be without impacting on any of the important aspects of our system that appeal to our users.

If you would like to learn more about the study then get in touch with us at support@cognisess.com.