Commercial Benefits of Personality Questionnaires for Assessment & Development

August 11th, 2011 by Sarah Green Leave a reply »

How valid are the use of Psychometric Personality Questionnaires for Assessment and Development?

Within Zircon, our Chartered Occupational Psychologists propose that while psychometric questionnaires have the least validity for predicting individual performance and potential, compared to other methods such as Competency interviews, Case Studies, Presentations or Role plays they still have some utility.

The reason for this is due to the type of evidence produced by psychometric questionnaires which is often inferred, rather than reported or directly observed. However they provide us with a wealth of information that can be used support the overall assessment or development process.

Why then do we still use Psychometric Questionnaires?

The use of personality questionnaires within development/assessment processes has become increasingly common in many organisations, and as a result candidates often expect to complete these as part of their assessment/development process. However, it is important to recognise that personality assessments are never used in isolation. Instead individual questionnaires, such as the OPQ, Wave or NEO or others, are much more powerful when used in combination with other assessment activities (interviews, case studies etc).

OK, but how does that benefit the organisation?

Zircon believes that using personality questions, allows assessors/coaches to hold honest discussions with the candidate about their preferred ways of working, behavioural strengths and development needs. Zircon therefore ensures that these discussions link directly back into other more robust data which has been evidenced from the assessment/development process. For example, the data extracted from the candidate’s personality profile can be used to inform the interview data, allowing the assessor/coach to probe to a greater extent and develop great understanding of the candidate’s performance and potential overall. Therefore, when used in combination with other data the personality profile can contribute greatly to making the right ‘hiring’ decision. Ultimately, investing the money and selecting the right candidate is much more cost effective than recruiting replacement staff.

Furthermore, candidates will often feel greater engagement and loyalty to the organisation when they feel that their employer (or potential employer) has invested time and money in them. Ultimately, this is likely to increase a willingness by employees to work hard to increase the organisation’s effectiveness.

Within Zircon, we therefore recommend using personality questionnaires to support the assessment and development of candidates and employees, they should not however, under any circumstances be used in isolation for assessment purposes.

Written by Melissa Tyson, Occupational Psychologist


    Lee, C. H. & Bruvold, N. T. (2003). Creating value for employees: Investment in employee development. Int. Journal of Human Resource Management, 14(6).Dr Robert McHenry of OPP® Ltd (Founder, chairman and CEO of OPP Limited)
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