Background Checks


When used as part of a larger pre-employment screening process, a “personality test” can be a very valuable guide when the time comes to check references.  Standing alone, a personality profile is like a snapshot that in many respects only reflects a moment in time as are any of the myriad of other assessment “tests”.  A reference report, on the other hand, is like a video that reflects job performance over time.
When the two are combined, however, the best of both worlds can be the result.  Why?  Because any sort of paper and pencil assessment may provide very valuable insights that can direct the course of the questions asked as part of a reference report.  Here’s a perfect example:  Not long ago, a client called and expressed concern that their top candidate had scored in the bottom quartile in an assessment of “attention to detail.”  “That’s the skill we need most in the job we want to fill.  We’ve got to have someone whose attention to detail is outstanding.  We’re afraid the test results disqualify the candidate who, otherwise, is our first choice.”  Our response was, “Let us incorporate the ‘attention to detail’ issue in the questions we ask his references.”  The client agreed, so during the course of talking to references we asked each one to assess the candidate’s skill at attention to detail.  Interestingly enough, all three references said the candidate’s attention to detail was terrible!  But, all three added that the candidate knew his attention to detail was terrible and had consistently surrounded himself with people whose main strength was, in fact, attention to detail.
When we conveyed that information back to the prospective employer, what potentially was a disqualifying weakness turned into a strength – not only did the candidate know his attention to detail wasn’t very good, but he also had gathered people around him who were very good at paying strict attention to detail.
Without the combination of the two – the personality profile and the reference report, invaluable insight would not have been gained that could have enabled the prospective employer to make the best hiring decision possible!  Standing alone the personality profile would have only pointed out the weakness.  Standing alone, the reference report probably would not have focused as deeply on the question about attention to detail.  By combining the two, not only was a potential problem uncovered, it was fully addressed; and, a surprising result and mutually beneficial result was reached – the candidate got the job!

So, do personality or other assessments have value?  Absolutely.  Just like background checks and reference reports, they’re an important part of the puzzle about just who is the best candidate for the job.