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Why Use Personality Testing?

Comparative validity of different pre-employment assessment methods Download
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With 62% of employers defining a "bad hire" as someone who has a negative attitude, both academics and practitioners are promoting the need to evaluate "soft" over "hard skills." If properly implemented, personality tests can provide valuable information about these attributes which cannot be extracted from a resume or work experience, and help employers answer these three difficult and important questions prior to hiring (or even interviewing) an applicant.

The need to measure the "softer" skills of your candidate pool and the importance of personality-job "fit" may be one of the reasons personality testing has become so common in employee selection. Currently, some form of personality testing for employee selection is used by 80% of the Fortune 500 companies in the US and over 75% of the Times Top 100 companies in the UK. Information technology companies, financial institutions, management consultancies, local authorities, police and fire departments, and the armed forces all make extensive use of psychometric testing.

Beyond helping you answer those three crucial pre-employment questions, there are several additional reasons that many companies choose to use personality testing during the hiring process:

Testing leads to savings.
Pre-employment tests can be a cost effective but highly predictive way to pare down the applicant pool. Scientifically validated tests can make the decision process more efficient by allowing you to spend less time with individuals whose characteristics, skills, and abilities do not match what is needed for the job. Additionally psychometric testing can reduce training and turnover costs by helping you hire people who are motivated to "hit the ground running" because they are excited and motivated by the job.
The costs of making a wrong decision are high.
For many employment decisions, a wrong choice can be devastating, leading to low productivity, high training costs, costly errors and turnover. Because scientifically validated personality assessments like the Cangrade Test are far more predictive than the criteria people normally use to select candidates to interview (e.g. college GPA, last place of employment), by using these assessments you can substantially reduce the chance of making a "catastrophic hire."
The job requires attributes that are hard to develop or change.
Different jobs require different work styles and soft skills. Personality tests can be used to assess crucial characteristics and tendencies that cannot be easily developed through standard training. Furthermore, by capturing a person's "fit" for a particular job, personality testing can help you find people who are motivated to adapt and learn new skills for complex jobs.
Hard-to-get information can be obtained more easily and efficiently.
Automated pre-screenings like the Cangrade Test allow you collect a lot of information about your applicant pool quickly and efficiently- no matter how many candidates you have. One important advantage of using personality and aptitude tests is that they can often provide information about an individual that is not easily obtained using other methods, or that would be much more costly to obtain by other means.
Candidates are treated consistently and fairly.
Using standardized tools in employment decision-making ensures that the same information is gathered and used for each individual, and that the decision to hire or interview is based only on relevant criteria that have been shown to impact real world outcomes such as job performance and satisfaction. Employers often turn to psychometric testing because it is significantly fairer than other, less standardized, processes.
Find Happier Employees.
At the end of the day, you're not only hoping to hire people who can perform well. You want people who are willing to make the workplace "brighter" by wanting to be there. By helping to match people with jobs in which they will be happier and more satisfied, psychometric testing can help ensure a happy and healthy workforce.

The Cangrade Evaluation

The Cangrade assessment is a 15-minute personality test that is based on millions of data points from over 200,000 employees, and built by a team of psychologists who teach and conduct research at top universities, with contributions from industry leaders and subject matter experts. When applied during the screening process, our personality assessment enriches a job candidate's application with complex information about personality, motivation, and job fit combined into a simple and actionable "Candidate Grade" that has been scientifically proven to be one of the most predictive pre-employment evaluations commercially available. The Cangrade evaluation can predict employee performance several times better than interviewing alone, and up to 10 times better than other common pre-interview screening techniques such as employment history and college GPA.

How Does It Work?

Our tests are carefully crafted and scientifically validated to predict personality-job fit and important workplace outcomes such as job performance, organizational citizenship behaviors and employee satisfaction.

Cangrade's psychometric evaluation is:

  • Objective: The final 2 digit job-match Grade is not affected by any characteristics external to hiring outcomes.
  • Predictive: In empirical studies, our test has been strongly linked to important outcomes like job performance and satisfaction.
  • Non-discriminatory: The Cangrade test does not disadvantage any group on the basis of race, gender, age, culture, ethnicity, etc.

Candidate Test

Your candidates will be presented with a set of statements with which he or she can agree or disagree on a 5 point sliding scale. This assessment takes about 15 minutes to complete. Cangrade test

Cangrade's evaluations have the added advantage of being easily delivered online. This approach has distinct advantages over paper-and-pencil tests:

  • There is no need to print and distribute printed material. This dramatically lowers the cost of test administration, so that you can use your most predictive tools when they make the biggest difference- early in the process.
  • Results can be processed immediately with no manual input.
  • Many candidates enjoy completing online personality profiles in their own time even outside of the recruitment process.

The Personality Trait Report

The Cangrade Evaluation assesses over 40 personality traits and motivators, 20 or which are presented to the employer. These measures are relevant to the functioning of individuals in a wide variety of situations. These traits should not be seen as "positive" or "negative." Any given trait can be good or bad depending upon how they fit together with the other traits and the particular job for which you're hiring. Because of this, when you're deciding who to evaluate further, you should focus not on these individual traits, but on the two digit "Candidate Grade" discussed later.

The results are measured and presented in percentiles relative to the population of the United States. For instance, in the below example a score of 80 on Precision indicates that this candidate scored higher on this attribute than 80% of the population of the United States - or, in other words, this candidate has above average Precision.

Cangrade trait

In contrast, in the following example, the candidate scored 88 on Ambition, which indicates that this candidate is more ambitious than 88% of the people that you are likely to meet or interview.

Cangrade trait

The Cangrade Score

Cangrade trait

In addition to the individual attributes that are reported above. The employer receives one two-digit Candidate Grade (CG) which indicates how well the candidate will likely perform in a particular job given his or her unique combination of personality attributes. Similar to the way we report individual traits, the overall Candidate Grade is a percentile rank, representing our prediction of the candidate's likely job performance when compared to the entire possible candidate pool for a particular position. This Candidate Grade is far more predictive of over-all job performance than the individual attributes.

For instance, in this example, the candidate received a grade of CG 85 on a "Cangrade - Sales" test. These results indicate that this person is likely to outperform 85% of the population of the United States in a sales position- or, in other words, this is an excellent candidate for further evaluation.

Cangrade vs. Academic Letter Grades

CangradeLetter Grade
94 - 100A+
87 - 93A
81 - 86A-
74 - 80B+
67 - 73B
61 - 66B-
54 - 60C+
47 - 53C
41 - 46C-
34 - 40D+
27 - 33D
0 - 26D-

Since the Candidate Grade can have a range from 0-100 it differs significantly from the traditional Academic Letter Grades that are more common. For additional clarity please refer to the below table for a conversion from the Candidate Grade to the traditional Academic Letter Grading Scale.

The Cangrade Job Fit score is a statistical prediction of a candidate's future performance on the job. Candidates with higher scores have combinations of personality traits and "soft skills" suggesting that they are more likely to succeed. This does not mean that candidates with lower scores cannot perform well on the job. Rather, a candidate with a lower score represents a more risky potential hire. A candidate with a lower score might still become a top performer if he or she is particularly motivated, works hard, or undergoes more training and development than candidates with higher scores.

Sources Behind Cangrade

Building on data from hundreds of psychology studies and millions of data points from over 200,000 employees, the Cangrade team of psychologists from top universities, industry leaders and subject matter experts have identified many aspects of personality, aptitude and motivation that have an important impact on workplace performance and satisfaction. Cangrade has developed sophisticated statistical methods to help employers find and retain top talent and help job-searchers find careers they will find more fulfilling. Our methods use cutting-edge scientific research to align the best people with ideal positions.

Here is What We Do:

In-depth analyses of data from thousands of studies in cognitive, personality, social and industrial psychology, statistics and financial economics.
Apply statistical techniques to turn research data into models that maximally predict real workplace outcomes.
Continual research, allows us to refine and empirically validate our model and contribute to academic literature.
Systematic collection of anonymous feedback on job performance allows us to continually adjust and improve our methods.

Selected Citations

Credit and Blame at Work. Dattner, Ben, Psychology Today, Internet Archive, 22 Sept. 2012. Web.

Hiring a Nanny, Au pair or Babysitter for Your Kids? TakeCare!, The Columbus Dispatch, Internet Archive, 22 Sept. 2012. Web.

The world of psychometric testing: a report. Wahi, Kanika et al., Asia-Pacific Institute of Management, 22 Sept. 2012. Web.

Related Topics:

Product Overview Cangrade FAQ