Seeing things from different angles....

In the second part of this blog on evolution of psychometric assessments we will be deep diving into personality assessments, uncovering what they measure, why they are used and questioning whether they have evolved at the same pace as ability tests.

Deep Dive 2: Understanding the importance of personality – Our Internal Drivers, Preferences and Working Styles... 

Have personality assessments evolved at the same pace as their sister, ability tests?

Well, I would argue, the evolution of personality assessments has walked quite a different path to that of ability tests. Whilst ability tests are playing catch up with technology, personality assessments evolution seems to be more about changing perspectives of how we can and should look at personality.

Firstly, unlike ability tests which measure a specific aptitude or skill using an objective test, personality assessments do not test candidates for a right or wrong personality but instead are another tool we can use to give us a flavour of the candidate’s preferences or working style. They are also useful for helping to decide what areas we should probe further at interview and can give us an indication of whether the candidate might be a good fit for the team they are going into. The model that underpins many personality tools have, on the whole, remained the same – the big 5 being the pinnacle of all personality models still now. So instead I’d like to discuss the different ways personality measures go about portraying the information they collect as this varies considerably across tools.  

So what’s changed?

Well it seems it’s the ‘perspectives’ of personality which seem to be what has evolved. Take for instance OPQ, Wave and Hogan; three highly regarded trait based personality tools. OPQ is many people’s ‘go to’ tool for looking at someone’s trait preferences in comparison to the working population; compare that with Saville’s Wave, which seeks to distinguish the difference between a candidate’s motives (what they want to do) and talent (what they are good at) and finally Hogan’s Development Survey (HDS) which goes all Voldermort on us and spins personality on its head to look at dark side. All are based on the big 5 factors but the way they paint the picture or cut the cake depends on the perspective they want to take and the application for including a personality measure that they want to fulfil.

Some might say the biggest evolution for personality is appreciating the need to explore ‘bright’ and ‘dark’ side.  By recognising the accompanying strengths and difficulties and developing a transparent appreciation of ‘who’ that individual is, it helps us decide whether they are the talent we are seeking to fulfil the role within the company culture they will be mixing in. Essentially it’s a bit like checking we have all the right ingredients in the right quantities on both sides of the cake to make that exceptional bake - also known as a win-win for both candidate and employer!

But what about our type-based tools?

When it comes to type-based tools of personality, the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is probably the most famous here. The principles behind the MBTI came about off the back of Carl Jung’s earlier work on considering people based on type preferences. The MBTI has had a very good life thus far and despite the number of tools on the market growing rapidly has remained a popular choice amongst consumers for appreciating team working styles and differences amongst individuals.  

That said, whilst MBTI remains a competitive tool in the development sphere it should not be used to make any selection decisions from.

So, what else is available?

A relatively new tool on the market is the Lumina Spark, which splits an individual’s personality into 8 themes, with 24 bi-polar qualities all placed on a very visually appealing colourful Mandala.

Rather than envisaging personality as a very static entity the Spark prides itself on allowing us to consider not just their underlying persona (what they are naturally drawn to), but also their everyday persona (how they actually behave) and their overextended persona (how they behave under stress) as well as allowing you to reveal an individual’s hidden treasures (underused attributes) too. And what’s more, like our friend the ability test, its gone mobile – with a nifty app allowing you to speed read another person’s personality, map two personas onto one another to see similarities and differences and still provide useful insights for both parties. The spark really has ignited a fire in terms of where we can include it in both assessment and development, sprinkled that engagement element and got people energised to think about both bright and dark sides.

Ok, so that’s a lot to take in... So where have we ended up?

Drawing back to what this article set out to discuss, we can see that the evolution of both ability tests and personality assessments has varied quite considerably but both seem to have a certain dependence on the evolution of technology to make those advancements possible.  From this we have been able to develop tests/ assessments in a way that will still allow us to objectively assess for specific attributes and help organisations overcome some of the 21st century recruitment challenges they face but in more fun, engaging and efficient way.  And it is likely we will continue to see even more advances in the near future, as we move ever more into a very mobile and virtual driven space.  

Want to know more?

Get in touch - As independent test providers we are always keen to learn more about the developments being made to enhance what we can offer our clients. We pride ourselves on being able to offer impartial advice on the most appropriate and applicable tools to meet your specific challenges. Whilst this has been a whistle-stop tour of what we consider the greatest developments to be, we would welcome your thoughts and perspectives on the topic.

Similarly, if you are looking to recruit for a specific role or designing an assessment process and would like to understand more about which psychometric tool will add the most value why not get in touch? Our Assessment Services consultants are on hand to offer guidance and partner with you to distinguish what psychometric tools and assessments will best fulfil your recruitment needs.

Thank you for reading! See part 1 here