Personality vs Values: Which is the Best Hiring Measure?

Hiring Managers Recruitment Agencies Values Based Recruitment
Personality vs Values: Which is the Best Hiring Measure?

Personality tests are often used as part of recruitment processes to assess candidates – so they can find the ‘right candidate’ for the role. These come in the form of questionnaires to assess different aspects of personality to understand things like how a candidate might react in certain situations, or how they might prioritise things in the workplace.

While personality might seem like a good measure for assessing a person’s fit within a team, it comes with its issues. While we aren’t discrediting these types of tests completely, we’ve outlined some of the most common issues with using personality as a measure:

  1. There should be no ‘perfect personality’

It’s common knowledge that when some of us recruit, we have an idea in our minds of what that perfect candidate should be like. Of course, there are many situations and roles where we really do need certain characteristics about us – otherwise that would be a bit like hiring a doctor who faints at the sight of blood. But for most cases, hiring managers may be missing out on candidates whose motivations and attributes can bring a lot of value to the organisation, simply because their personality traits are different to what we had in mind.

  1. Testing is often transparent

Quite an obvious one, but it’s not difficult for candidates to spot the preferred answers with these types of tests. Even if we wouldn’t act that way ourselves, majority of applicants will be capable of recognising what the preferred answer is and then simply select that one because its what the recruiter wants to here. We all want to sell ourselves when we apply for jobs, so what is stopping people from choosing the answer that doesn’t best reflect themselves? After all, we won’t particularly want to advertise any negative qualities we may have.


  1. We use it as a stand-alone measure

Like we said, we aren’t discrediting personality tests completely. But, when they’re being used as a stand-alone measure, they probably won’t provide a lot of value. Personality only scratches the surface and won’t provide us with much useful information. When they’re used alongside other measures which provide more in-depth information, they’ll prove much more effective. The results of a personality test shouldn’t be used as the key factor in decision making, as there is very little evidence of it being a predictor of job performance.

How are values different?

Personality represents our patterns of thinking and the way that we behave. So, if we’re trying to find people with certain types of personalities so that they fit in with the team, this is when group-think sets in and teams become less creative. Values represent what we believe to be right, and the morals behind our actions and thoughts – it delves much deeper than personality.

People may have compatible personalities, but if they have different motivators and morals then there is a strong chance that a clash will occur. As people, we play out our values in everything we do as it is what drives us. If you’re working in a team where everyone is acting on different values and trying to prioritise different things based on this, there’ll likely be a variety of disagreements and stern discussions go on.

When this happens, morale and productivity can reach an all time low. To be satisfied in our workplaces, we should be achieving according to our values, which becomes easier when we share a values alignment with our team.

Using values-based recruitment

When we hire for values fit, we’re still encouraging and accepting diversity. People from all backgrounds can share the same values, as they’re more representative of our goals and motivations, rather than our opinions and experiences. Whereas when you’re hiring using personality measures, its likely that you’ll end up with very similar teams as our background and experiences are much more likely to shape our personalities.

When we hire like this, we’re opening ourselves to the risks of affinity bias. This is when we unconsciously favour someone who shares similar qualities to ourselves or someone we like as we see them as familiar and relatable. After all, it’s natural for us to want to be around people we relate to. But, when we use values-based recruitment in its place, we can still build diverse teams that work well together and avoid the negative effects of group-think.

Read more about how Shine’s values-based recruitment platform can help you here!

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