What If Employers Want You to Take a Personality Test? is a stretch of an article from monster.com. Surely it is written to generations X and Y and falls under the category “Work/Life Balance.” (see our new article released this week regarding this topic). The author advocates a position of questioning the assessment process to the point of respectfully declining to take the test.
In all fairness to the author, he does state that theoretically a candidate could decline but that approach is not realistically a strong position for getting the job. First off, “personality test” is a fat phrase – it can encompass a broad array of assessments. This could mean as simplistic as a Myers-Briggs test all the way up to a full interview with an industrial psychologist. Nonetheless, personality tests are only part of a succssful assessment package.
One topic the author does not address is the hiring process. The EEOC recommends assessments in large part because they are objective – especially in comparison to the one-on-one, in-person interview. Also, companies must maintain a consistent hiring process for all candidates. Any company that runs a process cannot have some candidates completing the assessments and others not taking them. If the assessment is part of the process and a candidate refuses to complete them, technically they have withdrawn themselves from consideration voluntarily.
One last point that is well stated by the author – observing how the company reacts to the candidate’s questioning of the assessments is insightful. One would expect the company to be professional, firm and forthright in their explanation. The author is writing to a candidate audience, but he does not touch on the employer side of this equation. The first question in an employer’s mind will be, “What does this candidate have to hide?”
The hiring process is the stage at which a future employee (candidate) will be most compliant. If they are questioning the process at this phase, what will they be like once they have been an employee for 6 months? Few companies are looking for robotic employees, but noncompliance to established systems must be handled tactfully by a candidate at all times. Companies that use assessments are attempting to find the right fit for the position which not only benefits the company, it benefits the candidate also. I can’t imagine any reasonable candidate would want to accept a position for which their skills, motivations and style are a complete mismatch.