Personality/Cognitive Assessments in Hiring Decisions

I have written about this subject several times before, it seems to happen each September:

There is a trend in these articles.  Two years ago, the tone of the article was about the use of pre-employment assessments as another data point in evaluating an applicant.  In 2011, the tone shifted as the tests were being used as a way to eliminate and/or differentiate between candidates based on cognitive and personality traits.  This year’s edition takes a step further, some companies are beginning to use these tests as the primary hiring decision-making tool:

Meet the New Boss: Big Data

The heavy use of assessment testing has proven hiring results for many types of jobs that experience heavy turnover (call centers, hourly positions).  By using statistical relationships, employers can screen out applicants who are at high risk for leaving the position.  However, the heavy use of assessments are raising the concerns of fair hiring practices as some of the statistical relationships could also be screening out certain populations from the applicant pool.

Whether you like it or not, think it is a good idea or not, pre-employment tests are becoming more the norm and are being weighted heavily in the hiring decision.  Right now it is primarily focused in entry-level, high turnover type positions, however it is only a matter of time when these tools will be implemented for other positions when the test makers can find and prove certain statistical relationships exist for success in higher level positions.

Guess we will see in Sept. 2013?


Just saw a follow-up article in the WSJ online about the legality of the pre-employment tests:


About Kevin Monahan

I have 10+ years experience in coaching clients in their career management and career change efforts. Personal career consulting services combined with employer outreach to help find opportunities for both constituents.
This entry was posted in Application, Career Management, Job Search, testing and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Personality/Cognitive Assessments in Hiring Decisions

  1. Pingback: Personality Test – Redux | Career Seeker's Guide

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