Are Personality Tests at Work a Good Idea?

Are Personality Tests at Work a Good Idea?

Personality tests are really an extension of our insatiable need to know. Since time began, we’ve been trying to suss each other out and understand why we behave as we do.

Forget the whodunnit, it’s the whydunnit which counts.

It makes sense, really. Humans are social animals. A high degree of social order is needed to maintain any kind of harmony in human relations and society. We are far more likely to achieve this harmony, in increasingly complex societies, by understanding and respecting each other’s differences. When we understand why someone does what they do, it’s often easier to live and work alongside that person – even if they are fundamentally different to ourselves.

The illusion of control

We live in an increasingly uncertain world. When the ground feels a little shaky, we like to pin things down to establish our sense of control. We place items into categories and people into groups, to try and create some sense of order.

In short, we like labels. They make us feel better. They give us a handle on rocky situations and help us feel more in control of proceedings – rather than proceedings in control of us.

In a work environment, we like to think we can recognise different ‘types’ of people and forecast their behaviour in different settings. We look for guides to others’ characters to help us imagine what our working relationships might be like. 

Personality testing, or some other form of Assessment can appear to provide that answer.

However, too often, the results are misunderstood or misinterpreted. 

Personality testing is an extremely useful tool in recruitment, in individual and team development and in building constructive cultures.  However, used in the wrong way, they can be damaging. 

It’s important to bring in the experts so look for accredited professionals to manage this aspect of your strategic human resources management. At Norgay HR we hold Advanced Accreditation in Harrison Assessments.  If you’d liked to continue this conversation with HR professionals who take assessment and testing beyond labels get in touch at [email protected].