Why we use personality tests in hiring and why you should too

by | Aug 11, 2021

A Frog and a Scorpion

There once lived a scorpion and a frog. The scorpion wanted to cross the pond, but, being a scorpion, he couldn’t swim. So, he scuttled up to the frog and asked: “Please, Mr. Frog, can you carry me across the pond on your back?”

“I would,” replied the frog, “but, under the circumstances, I must refuse. You might sting me as I swim across.” “But why would I do that?” asked the scorpion. “It is not in my interests to sting you, because you will die and then I will drown.”
Although the frog knew how lethal scorpions were, the logic proved quite persuasive. Perhaps, felt the frog, in this one instance the scorpion would keep his tail in check. So, the frog agreed. The scorpion climbed onto his back, and together they set off across the pond. Just as they reached the middle of the pond, the scorpion twitched his tail and stung the frog.
Mortally wounded, the frog cried out: “Why did you sting me? It is not in your interests to sting me, because now I will die, and you will drown.”

“I know,” replied the scorpion as he sank into the pond. “But I am a scorpion. I have to sting you. It’s in my nature.”

We are who we are and we don’t change much

Now, let’s transform this story into the human world. From my perspective this story is about one’s setup, personality and strengths. We are who we are and we don’t change much.

You would probably agree with me that for certain types of jobs there is a certain personality needed. Not everyone can be a salesman, accountant or developer.

It is just not our nature to succeed in every role.

We were born with certain personality which is made up of psychological preferences, temperaments and predispositions. And while many factors influence us (including social and cultural pressures), personality is a major force behind our habits, behaviors and attitudes.

So it’s not surprising that personality assessments can be a strong predictor of job performance – if you know what kind of personality are you looking for a certain kind of job.

Personality and skills for IT consulting business

Now we know that every person fits for certain role. So what kind of personality/skills are we looking for if majority of our roles in Mooza are about tech consulting?

Consulting is a very specific type of business. Oxford dictionary describes consulting as being engaged in the business of giving expert advice to people working in a professional or technical field.

If you look at the key consulting skills (via Google for example) you will discover that consultants possess many different skills which are sometimes even contradictory, for example strong analytical skills versus great communication/presentation skills.

Pic #1: How Google sees the key skills for consultants

In Mooza, we did our homework and we created two major documents that helped us narrow down the most important consulting skills for IT Consulting business:

  • Mooza Competency Matrix – a set of nearly 30 competencies that are divided into 4 groups: Business Acumen, Consulting, Self-management & Project Management. And based on this document we created 👇
  • Competency Job Descriptions for each role within Delivery

Our set of personality tests and job matching

And now, finally, let’s touch on personality tests. We use personality tests and job matching from TCC www.tcconline.cz.
Recently we even revised our set of personality tests under supervision of TCC consultants to make the results even more accurate for Mooza’s needs. It led to a major change that from one set of tests that we used (Mooza Consultant) we created three sets of tests – one for Mooza Business Analyst, one for Mooza Consultant/Senior Consultant and one for Mooza Team Leader.
Every set of tests consist of slightly different tests and have a different job matching criteria (let’s say the ideal persona that we look for).

For example, the role of Mooza Business Analyst requires these 5 tests:

  • 3 Personality tests
  1. Multifactor Personality profile – where we measure basic personality traits like introversion vs extroversion, cooperation vs. assertiveness and so on – and we want to know what kind of person is sitting in front of us
  2. Career Compass – where we measure basic career motivation of a person
  3. Stress Management Questionaire – where we measure strategies how one deals with stress (as consulting is a very stressful job)
  • 2 Performance tests
  1. Abstract Thinking Test – where we measure analytical and logical thinking and potential for conceptual thinking. For example we set an internal rule that we will not hire anyone who scores less than 50% in abstract thinking. Because we know that analytical/logical thinking is crucial skill for IT consulting business where our people deals with business/functional analysis, dependencies, logical flows and so on.
  2. Press Test – where we measure thinking capacity and ability to make decisions under time pressure

As you can see we measure two areas- personality (which includes motivation and stress management) and lets say thinking performance. Both are crucial to us and both are very good predictors of future successful hiring.

Feedback from candidates

There comes a moment in the hiring process where we talk to candidates and we explain them their results. We are going through all the tests and open discussion about motivation, personality traits or stress management strategies.

Many candidates see this as a great added value to our hiring process. Personally, I believe that hiring is not just about saying yes or no to a candidate – it is also about career advice, about helping a candidate to understand his strengths and weaknesses, his predispositions and personality.

With greater self-awareness comes better usage of your skills which leads you to great job performance and ultimate career success.

Impact on hiring

Of course, these tests are not for free but we decided to take them as an investment in the hiring process to make it more data-driven. Once we gather all the data (from tests, behavioral interviews, practical case studies) we are ready to make better hiring decisions and give job offers only to those who fit into our culture and “consulting role”.
From that moment, test results start to serve us as a basic building block for future individual Talent Development plans.

If you want to join a culture in which your personality matters, apply here

Peter

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