Why Behavioral Assessments Get a Bad Rap

The GoodJob Team | April 28, 2023

Here’s why traditional personality tests are criticized and how GoodJob’s pre-hire assessment is anything but. 

How well do you know your team’s workplace behaviors, and would you be able to spot certain traits in a candidate based on a conversation? For most HR professionals, having prospective new hires complete behavioral assessments is about finding the right candidate for the job based on objective, unbiased results. You want to know what to expect from your potential new team lead or product specialist, and you want to use a tool (not simple conversation) to uncover those traits and behaviors. 

Tests like the Myers-Briggs or the Big Five are common go-to’s for this purpose, and they lead the way in the nearly $2B personality testing industry. The use of psychometric tests, which measure personality and aptitude, has grown in popularity since the tests were computerized in the late 1990s and early 2000s, with an estimated 100M people taking these types of tests globally every year. 

Though, beyond their unquestionable popularity, personality assessments get a bad rap in the context of the workplace. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has reported instances of bias in certain hiring processes where personality tests were given too much emphasis without being supported by academic psychological research. For example, Target had to pay a $2.8M settlement in 2015 due to claims that their pre-employment personality testing violated the ADA Act. 

For a personality assessment to hold its weight in a court of law against discrimination claims or the EEOC, it must be statistically validated. And proven science must serve as the foundation for the assessment, generating unbiased results without a shadow of a doubt. 

Critics of personality testing caution against using test results to make decisions in the workplace, emphasizing that results should only be one factor among many to consider. They are aware of the discrepancy between how individuals present themselves on a test and how they may actually behave in certain situations. 

Skeptics are also quick to call out tests like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, which produces four-letter descriptions of personality, as being just as valid in predicting professional success as using astrology or a Magic 8 Ball. 

As the working world evolves with hybrid roles becoming commonplace, psychologists have been researching how to modify personality tests to be both valid and reflective of the changing work environment. Despite heavy criticism of personality testing, managers still find assessments overall to be invaluable in making decisions and must seek alternate solutions that not only break the stigma but create an entirely new category of pre-hire testing: psychology-backed behavioral modeling. 

GoodJob Is Better Than a Personality Test

Personality tests and GoodJob are not synonyms. We’re different, and we’re better. In fact, we’re laying the foundation for the new wave of pre-hire testing that doesn’t consider personality at all. 

Our software removes bias from the hiring equation by relying on proven behavioral psychology and data science. Two elements that are essential to preventing hiring discrimination.

You won’t find us focusing on a candidate’s introversion or extraversion. We also steer clear from measuring categories like agreeableness, which can change based on emotional factors. Those personality characteristics have led other assessment tools to bring inequity in the hiring process. Instead, GoodJob focuses on an individual’s work traits and behaviors as we highlight an individual’s PATH: Purpose, Approach, Thinking, and Habits. 

We Reveal a Candidate’s PATH 

GoodJob’s behavioral PATH Assessment® pinpoints an individual’s habits and behaviors in the workplace. For example, our behavioral assessment test will spotlight the typical actions you take to solve problems (habits), and those habits can align with what motivates you (purpose), your on-the-job love language (approach), and how you process information (thinking).

Once we identify those habits and behaviors, we match candidates to roles based on the behaviors they exemplify. Our high-accuracy matching system works by objectively measuring candidate PATH results against current team performance in a specific role. For this, we look to the second critical layer in GoodJob’s assessment. 

We Build Job Role DNA™

Your team’s current performance in a particular role is based on competency, capability, and behavior resulting in quantifiable role success. We call this measure of success the  Job Role DNA, and it serves a key function in matching candidates. 

Not only does it allow you to see the dominant traits of your current top performers, but it allows you to choose new hires whose PATH results complement those dominant traits. Rather than personality characteristics, you’ll see numbers, which are much more objective — and unbiased.

Schedule your free demo today if you’re ready to hire better, slash your time-to-fill, and ensure an objective hiring decision all in one.