Whilst a certain level of intellectual ability may be a necessary prerequisite for success, personality attributes have been identified as providing further explanation, particularly in terms of interacting with others, building relationships and communication. Indeed, intellectually able individuals can often falter if their personality attributes are not aligned with the interpersonal demands of their roles. Therefore the assessment of personality is important. Personality can make a bright person appear dull, slow to learn and ineffective, and it can also help a person of average intelligence appear quick and clever.
Personality attributes are described as natural and innate tendencies that drive or motivate our behaviours and ultimately distinguish us as unique from others.
Important Facts About Personality and its Assessment
Personality assessment delves beneath the façades we can encounter during interviews, and even when working with someone, looking objectively at the underlying traits that drive an individual’s behaviour. The best personality tools contain complex lie detectors and validity scales that can pick up when a candidate is lying, indicating to the practitioner whether the individual is engaging in impression management, and to what extent. Use of personality tools that do not possess robust lie detectors and validity scales is often a waste of an organisation’s time and resources.
Despite what distributors of many personality instruments claim, personality assessment will not give you a perfectly accurate picture of an individual’s personality or intellectual functioning. The best personality instruments (of which there are very few) can at best provide us with 65 to 70% of the picture (and that is when they are interpreted by a psychologist extensively trained in the interpretation of the tool). The benefit of obtaining a profile provided by personality assessment is that much of the information provided may not be readily obtained from interview, or even by observing someone at work. To get the most accurate results from personality assessment, there are two pre-conditions that must be met:
- The instrument used to assess personality, must be a well-researched and proven inventory, with good reliability and validity, and sophisticated lie detectors and validity scales (to control impression management); and
- The resulting profile generated by the assessment should be interpreted by a qualified psychologist, with considerable experience in interpretation of that particular instrument.
It must be remembered that a personality profile is only one source of information and it should be used to clarify and confirm other legitimate observations. It was not intended to replace other sources of information, such as interview and performance ratings. Indeed, personality assessment is best used to guide questioning and seek verification through other means of assessment.
PSI’s most commonly used personality assessment is one of the world’s best known and most utilised tests, and is particularly suited for recruitment and development. It has numerous lie detectors and validity scales that indicate if a candidate is trying to make him or herself appear in a more favourable light than is actually the case. It has been successfully tested for reliability and validity using samples of tens of thousands of people across numerous demographic and occupational categories. It is deemed to be highly accurate and predictive year on year in The Mental Measurements Yearbook. Very few tests can make this claim.