Employer Branding Talent Acquisition

Candidate Testing: Cultural Fit is the Key, But How Do You Get it Right?

Personality profiling and psychometric tests are becoming an increasingly popular part of the recruitment process, with over 70% of large UK organisations regularly using assessment tools to interview for new recruits.

At Pure, we utilise psychometric profiling where appropriate on behalf of our clients to ensure highest level of candidate fit on each placement. Such tools are extremely valuable and are an additional source of information for today’s recruitment market. The profiling techniques help employers to establish the behavioural preferences, leadership styles and motivation of each candidate. Although often dreaded by candidates, they are beneficial to those applying for the role as well. However much relevant experience and skills a candidate has, if their working styles and values do not ‘fit’ with the organisation it could be incredibly hard for them to settle in and to feel fulfilled and engaged in the role.

However personality and behavioural assessment tools should only ever be considered as just one aspect of the recruitment process and not in isolation. They work as an extension to competency based interview practices and should never be used as the final decision making tool. But they do bring the following benefits when creating a robust selection process.  So how do Pure get the best from Psychometric testing?

1. Additional selection criteria

Compared to factors such as education and experience, the behavioural traits and the personality of a candidate can be much more difficult to assess during an interview. So including personality profiling as part of your recruitment process will provide you with additional, objective information, to help you identify the most suitable candidates. However, it’s important to understand from the outset exactly why you are assessing the candidates, and that the traits you are looking for are aligned with the job description, requirements of the role and the organisation’s culture, values and the other member of the team.

2. Interview planning

Profiling tools can also be useful when you are preparing your questions ahead of candidate interviews. Have a look through the results to see if there are any additional questions you’d like to ask or areas you’d like to cover. For example, if you are looking for an assertive character, and the candidate’s results suggest they are more inclined to adopt a passive stance, you may want to ask for examples of how they have previously handled difficult situations or worked to resolve conflict. It’s important to remember that people’s preferred behavioural traits in their personal life don’t always match the traits they show in their working life. To some degree people are able to adapt their stance to fit with the role they are in. Psychometric profiling shows a preference to a certain behaviour only.

3.  Aligning culture and values

However thoroughly an interview process is conducted, it can still be difficult to assess how someone will really fit within an organisation’s culture. Personality profiling can help to assess someone’s own values and identify how these will fit with the culture you’ve created, or are working to implement. It’s important to consider the impact on culture when you are recruiting, especially if you are appointing at a senior level. An organisation’s culture and values should flow from the top level down, so the overall values need to be shared and supported by those working at an executive level. It is therefore useful for other members of the team to complete a profile beforehand.

4.  Fitting in with the team

There are many different types of assessment tests available, but generally they’ll be used to measure how candidates differ in their motivation, values, priorities and opinions. This will help you to understand how they are likely to respond to different tasks and situations. In terms of personality, the tests can give an indication of the working style favoured by a candidate. This can really help you to understand how they will interact with their fellow workers. It can be especially useful if you’ve already used some form of profiling tool with your existing employees to understand what motivates them and their working styles. If you already have this information, you can see how potential candidates could fit and strengthen your existing team.

5. Planning ahead

The additional knowledge provided through these assessments can also help you to plan ahead. In the short term they can help you to plan an effective induction process, based on the candidate’s behavioural preferences, and to decide on their initial objectives and identify any training which may be required.

The results of these profile tests also identify people’s potential, as well as the experience and skills they have already developed to date. This information can help you to identify potential progression opportunities from the outset, helping you to build and develop top talent within your organisation.

By Gill Buchanan

Gill is a founding Director of Pure Resourcing Solutions has worked in the recruitment field since 1988. Gill’s experience is broad based and includes eight years of specialist recruitment experience within an international specialist recruitment company including five years working within financial services recruitment in Sydney, Australia.