Why it is crucial to take personality into account when recruiting.


“In a world in which everything is becoming faster – the circulation of information, transactions, technological and organizational shifts – recruiting based on skills alone no longer works.”

David Bernard

Co-CEO & Chief Creative Officer – AssessFirst

Why you should recruit based on potential (and not just on skills).

Eighty percent of the skills that a person acquires today will be obsolete in less than five years. This means that to recruit effectively, it is now crucial to focus not on what a person knows how to do today but on their potential. A person’s potential can be defined as a mixture of learning capacity and ability to adapt. Whereas learning capacity can be identified by a reasoning test, individuals’ adaptation abilities can be grasped through personality. Intellectual flexibility, openness to change and the ability to think outside the box and gain perspective on situations and problems encountered are all key success factors that now need to be taken into account to ensure a successful recruitment. There are different ways to analyze a candidate’s personality: the face-to-face interview, the scenario simulation and the personality questionnaire.

#1 – The interview

Although the interview is still the method used most often to assess candidates’ personality, the reality is that it does not work, or at least not well enough. This is because the interview is a set piece in which a candidate, motivated by the desire to get a job, tries to convey an image of themselves that is as close as possible to what they imagine the recruiter is looking for. Meanwhile, the recruiter will try to make a distinction between the candidate’s contextual behaviors (those that they only show because they are in a recruitment situation) and their natural behaviors (those that will reveal themselves over time). Add to this all of the biases that come into play in the interview situation (primacy effect, halo effect, recency effect, etc.) and the chances are that the recruiter will be less accurate when assessing the candidate’s natural behavior.

#2 – Scenario simulations

Scenario simulations are more predictive of candidates’ natural behavior. However, they are often complicated to put in place, require solid training of the recruiter and can only be used for a limited number of candidates. This makes them not very usable in a traditional recruitment context.

#3 – Personality questionnaires

Meanwhile, personality questionnaires are an interesting alternative to the traditional interview. This is because they often take just 10 to 30 minutes and allow the recruiter to obtain a detailed and accurate assessment of their candidates’ overall behavioral trends. What’s more, they offer the advantage of being able to compare candidates “all other things being equal”. Lastly, the link between the results that people obtain in a personality questionnaire and their subsequent success has now been solidly established.

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More than 10,000 recruiters worldwide use AssessFirst to assess their candidates’ personality and potential. Join them today.