Guild Gathering: Personality Styles Tests

by Danielle Gauthier

Posted October 4, 2018

Once a month, our staff hosts a "Guild Gathering" to explore a timely topic. Read on to discover what was on our minds this month...

Are personality styles tests accurate? And can they be an effective tool during the hiring process?

Our staff recently came together to discuss personality styles tests and the increased usage of such tests in both the non-profit and for-profit hiring process.

Despite the test’s disclaimer that it shouldn’t be used as a job screening tool, more and more organizations are turning to personality styles tests to identify candidates that match the profile they seek, as well as to understand the strengths and work styles of their current employees. A client of ours used such an assessment to gain insight into the work styles of their senior executive leadership and to brainstorm ways to make the team more collaborative and effective. They were also able to use the tool to select the ideal profile of candidates they were seeking for an open position. Interestingly, though they didn’t automatically exclude candidates who didn’t match the exact profile, they often found that after a stretch of six or so months, hired candidates who hadn’t matched the profile were under-performing in comparison to those who had.

Though Development Guild does not employ personality styles tests, our consultants spoke to the importance of getting to know both our clients and candidates in order to accurately assess the “culture fit.” The most successful placements possess not just the desired experience and knowledge, but also an alignment of core beliefs and values with those of the organization – the sought-after “culture fit.” At the same time, our consultants also recognized the importance of withholding judgment and allowing candidates to prove themselves over time. A “gut feeling” is not always reliable, and it’s important to evaluate more than a personality style in seeking the appropriate candidate.

There is not enough evidence to conclude that the results of personality styles tests are entirely factual and reliable. Inaccuracies are possible and likely: test takers’ answers may change depending on their mood, and not everyone can accurately assess their own traits and behaviors in the way a personality styles test expects one to do. Yet, personality styles tests can be useful. They can reveal aspects of your personality you had not considered before, and in doing so, allow you to better assess your own strengths and weaknesses and how they may dictate which career path is best for you.

What is your opinion on personality styles tests? Do you think recruiters and organizations should use them as part of the hiring process? We’d love to hear from you! Write to us at

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