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How Personality Tests Help Recruiting in a Tight Labor Market

Joshua Spears

COO for Traitify | Film, Books & Animals, aspiring Kool-Aid man | Inventor/Visionary in Work

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times …"

One doesn't need to be a former English major to recognize Charles Dickens' iconic opening to "A Tale of Two Cities." The quote remains so famous today in part because of its relatability. At one time or another, most of us have experienced opposite extremes simultaneously.

Professionals involved in hiring new employees are experiencing it right now, in fact.

We're all enjoying the best economic times that we've had in about a decade. But that makes the challenge of finding and hiring great employees tougher, as the supply of high-quality workers in various industries tightens and demand increases.

The U.S. civilian unemployment rate has remained at 5 percent or less for 18 consecutive months and was sitting at 4.5 percent in March 2017. Yes, there are those who question whether the official unemployment rate is the best indicator of the true health of the job market; but there is no doubt that the U.S. job outlook has improved markedly since the start of the financial crisis in 2008.

And it's clear that there are a lot of job openings out there — nearly 5.7 million at the close of January 2017, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That's plenty of competition for workers.

In this environment, successful recruiters must simplify the application process, increase transparency, and create a more personalized, positive experience for applicants.

In the following, I'll show you the central role personality assessments play in building a more effective recruiting process in a time of tightening labor markets.

Understand what you are really looking for.

Assessments can and should be tailored for your company's specific needs. But if you don't fully understand what makes for a great fit, how can you even begin to look for it? Would you even recognize a good match if you met him or her? Research suggests that personality has a greater bearing on workers' success than their particular skills or experiences — and, as we've said before, there are specific traits almost every employer should be seeking and avoiding. However, defining a set of characteristics that you want on your team is mostly a function of defining the unique culture you want in your workplace. Talk to your personality assessment provider about how to build an assessment that helps uncover the particular traits you need to find to build your ideal workplace.

Use an assessment that is as easy as possible to complete without compromising quality.

With so many alternatives available, many job seekers will drop your company from consideration if they find your application process is too onerous. In a tight labor market, it's more important than ever to drive higher volumes of candidates from which to choose. Reliable insight can be generated from a test that takes just minutes to complete.

Use an assessment that's mobile-friendly.

Many people live on their smartphones and tablets. That's especially true of younger people but is becoming increasingly true of older generations, as well. Meet your candidates where they live by using an assessment that they can complete on the same device they use to order pizza, chat with friends, and listen to music.

Get personal(ized).

This point bears considerable emphasis. The Amazons and Netflixes of our world loom very large. They have helped shape our expectation for personalized experiences, and younger candidates in particular have come of age in the era of personalization. Any kind of company can craft a more personalized recruiting process, and a better understanding of individual personalities certainly helps.

Look for stable traits rather than changing states.

The idea here is that you don't want to collect input that is in flux, such as moods. You want to understand and examine fundamental characteristics of personality. That's what a good personality assessment should do, and it's one of the things that separates a science-based assessment from even the most perceptive interviewer's impressions.

Continue to use the data after you make the hire.

Don't deep-six the results of your personality assessments after making hires. Use the information to manage and develop staff. Be transparent with the results. Share them during the interview process, and then continue to discuss them with employees on an ongoing basis. Interactions can be greatly enhanced — and, yes, personalized — by invoking specific test results.

Moreover, as you become better acquainted with employees over time, compare what you've found with what the assessment revealed and start asking some questions about whether your assessment is revealing traits that both ring true and are relevant to your organization. As we said above, a good assessment should help you find the right employees for your organization, so maintain a dialogue with your provider about your evolving needs.

We'd love to show you how the right assessment solution can be integrated into a hiring process that's optimized to succeed regardless of market conditions. Just request a demo.

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