Potential Pitfalls of Personality Assessments as Part of the Hiring Process


Personality testing is being used more and more in the hiring process, even for the hiring of lawyers. According to  Dori Meinert's article," What Do Personality Tests Really Reveal?: Personality assessments are being used more often in the hiring process. Are they accurate?," Some experts estimate that as many as 60 percent of workers are now asked to take workplace assessments. The $500-million-a-year industry has grown by about 10 percent annually in recent years. While many organizations use personality testing for career development, about 22 percent use it to evaluate job candidates, according to the results of a 2014 survey of 344 Society for Human Resource Management members."

But while some law firms and legal employers see benefits to personality testing, others see drawbacks and potential pitfalls and warn employers not to rely too heavily on such tests before making hiring or personnel decisions. Among the criticisms:

  • Many personality types can succeed in any particular role

  • Some tests measure current state of mind rather than actual personality traits

  • Job candidates try to beat the system by supplying answers they think the employer wants

  • Some tests may cause inadvertent violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

Fair or not, as of now, the trend seems to be on side of administering assessments so job seekers -- even attorneys! -- should not be surprised to encounter them as part of the hiring process.

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Screen Shot 2016-02-21 at 1.18.36 PM