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Chapter 5: Findings

Overview

            This research was conducted in order to determine the reliability and role of personality questionnaire in various human resource activities such as in recruitment and employee appraisal. In addition, this study also aimed to identify the advantages and disadvantages of using personality questionnaires. In order to answer these research questions, the descriptive method of research was applied. Through quantitative and qualitative approaches, the researcher developed a questionnaire that would gather pertinent data. Literatures to support the findings were also integrated. The answers given by the 40 selected respondents were then analyzed by computing their weighted mean. Results were then presented in graphs and tables to facilitate the analysis.

 

Demographic Profile

            For the profile of the respondents, the questionnaire asked for the participants' age, gender, duration of service in the company and their current job position. Below are the graphs summarizing the gathered values for each profile category:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fig. 1: Age Distribution of the 60 Respondents

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fig. 2: Gender Distribution of the 60 Respondents

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fig. 3: Duration of Service of the 60 Respondents to their respective companies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fig. 4: HR Positions of the Selected Respondents

 

Discussion

            In this section, the results of the survey are discussed in relation to the objectives of the study. Specifically, the level of reliability/usability as well as the advantages and disadvantages of using personality questionnaires based on the perspective of human resource employees are determined. Some literatures were used to support points raised.

 

Usability and Reliability of Personality Questionnaire

            Based on the results of the survey, the selected participants were able to identify the specific factors that contribute to the personality questionnaire's usability and reliability. The findings indicated that among the given factors, the respondents believe that personality questionnaire is usable and reliable in terms of its ability to allow easy personality interpretation as well as fast hiring procedures. This identified feature of personality questionnaires is probably attributed to their developed standards that are used for interpreting the results of the test. By means of comparing the answers of the applicant with the developed standards, the human resource staff can easily analyze the personality of the individual and easily categorize him or her to a specific personality type. As these personality types correspond to the individual's attitude and capability, the human resource staff can tell whether the applicant is suitable for the job or to the company's values.

 

            The availability of the standards in personality questionnaires as well as their ability to facilitate ease in recruitment has been demonstrated by a number of companies. A good example is Myers-Briggs indicator, a personality test that has been testing personalities since 1943. The tool has long been used for recruitment and appraisal as it enables fast hiring procedures with less hassle. Specifically, Myer-Briggs allows fast interpretation of results by having a set of standards, which categorize personality into different typologies. Once the applicant has completed the questionnaire, his or her answers are compared to broad personality categories. An example of which is determining whether the individual is an extrovert or an introvert. Other personality categories include thinking or feeling, judging or perceiving and sensing or intuitive (Shuit, 2003). By means of these standards personality categories, human resource personnel can decipher the applicant's personal aspects, which could affect his or her performance at work. In addition, as personality questionnaire promote fast hiring procedures, cost on recruitment can be reduced as employees can start immediately, enhancing total company performance.

 

            Personality questionnaire is not only useful and reliable in terms of its ability to promote fast and easy recruitment. The respondents of the study also agree that this human resource tool is reliable as it helps in providing accurate results. However, it should also be noted that a number of respondents disagree with this factor. Perhaps, this is significantly related to the different factors that could affect the accuracy of the results and interpretation of personality questionnaires. More details regarding this matter are to be discussed in the next section. Assessing the capability and potentials of an employee based on his or her personality can be subjective in nature; nonetheless, the respondents agree that using the personality questionnaire enable the generation of more objective recruitment decisions. As the interpretation of the results is compared to certain standards, the HR personnel do not really interpret the answers of the applicant based on intuition or personal judgments. Moreover, the standards used for interpreting the results were should have been developed with scientific and psychological knowledge. This then supports the questionnaire's objectivity.

 

            Finally, the research participants also agree that the personality questionnaire helps in improving the performance and output of their respective companies. Considering that the respondents agree to the ability of the questionnaire to provide accurate and objective hiring results, there is a greater opportunity for the department to employ the right people for the right job. Specifically, the questionnaire helps in discovering the dominant traits, strengths and weakness of an applicant; this ability is then used by the HR staff to align the person's character with the job' responsibilities and demand. If the employees are assigned to jobs that are suitable to their capabilities, better work outcomes can be produced. Furthermore, this could also facilitate employee motivation. With this feature, personality questionnaire enable the company to achieve a higher degree of productivity.

 

            Based on the overall results given by the respondents, personality questionnaire is a useful and reliable tool for recruitment and appraisal. Not only does this instrument support fast and easy hiring and appraisal procedures, but this also enables the human resource staff to make objective results interpretation. Aside from these, the ability of the personality questionnaire to distinguish a personality type and compare it with the requirements of the job, helps the human resource department in employing applicants that are truly fitted for the vacancy. This in turn makes the questionnaire an important contributor to the company's performance level and quality of output. In is important to consider however that despite the known reliability features of the personality questionnaire, not all respondents are convinced that this can truly be depended on in terms of accuracy. The next section identifies the possible factors that appear to affect the reliability of personality questionnaires.

 

Pros and Cons of Personality Questionnaire

            The results of the survey revealed that personality questionnaire is a two-sided human resource instrument as it has certain advantages and downsides. For easy comprehension, the pros of using personality questionnaire will be identified and analyzed first. From the given advantage factors, the respondents agree that personality questionnaire allows employers to make effective promotion decisions. This is very much related to another advantage indicated by the respondents, which is the reduction of human resource costs due to employee turnover. As employers are able to assess the employees' attitudes and performance through personality questionnaire, deserving and appropriate people are granted with due promotions.

 

Granting promotion to deserving employees is one of the important functions and advantages of using the personality questionnaire. Benham (1993) stated that promotion is also synonymous to career success where employees are given higher responsibilities or place on higher authority levels. Promotion is considered an important element of human resource management as it encourages employees to perform with quality. This also represents a significant aspect of the internal selection system. The organizational members' affective reactions towards their job and to the company are also influenced significantly based on their promotional opportunities. Most importantly, the turnover process is reduced through promotion (Johnston et al., 1993).

 

Aside from the fact that rapid employee turnover result to significant financial losses, this also works against employee efficiency and productivity. As the morale of the employees are reduced considerably due to turnover, profits and quality are eventually affected (Larkin, 1995). With effective promotion, employees are likely to be more loyal to the company, thus, preventing employee turnover. A previous study (Romzek, 1989) concluded that organizational commitment is positively correlated to internal promotions or career growth; this suggest that promoted employees are likely to have high commitment to the company. The sub-benefits of granting due promotions and preventing high employee turn over all contribute to better company outcomes and performance.

 

The use of personality questionnaire also results to two other advantages. As indicated by the respondents, this human resource tool also allows the resolution or prevention of workplace conflicts as well as promote team-building among the employees. In the article written by Frieswick (2004), various firms had stressed the capability of personality tests to maintain the culture of an organization.

 

With personality questionnaires, companies are able to select participants based on their behaviours, principles and attitudes. If firms will constantly hire employees with personalities that match their standards, an organizational culture is developed. By definition, organizational culture is a manner in which business members are unified by a common standard and goal. The principle of organizational culture states that a certain organization encounters various challenges which the members were able to overcome through established strategies and methods. Hence, organizational culture is commonly defined as the way things are conducted in the company (Schein, 1992).

 

The features of a personality questionnaire appear to promote the foundations of organizational culture. For instance, values within the corporation serve as the main foundation of organizational culture. The value of the organization serves as its defining elements where symbols, practices, standards and other related matters are derived. Values can be defined as a consistent belief that a certain mode of personal or sociable conduct is preferable against a contradictory mode of conduct. In general, values are considered internalized beliefs which guide individual behaviour (Deal & Kennedy, 1982). Through this element of corporate culture, employees are able to establish a social identity which in turn generates meaning and connectedness. This foundation on the other hand, can be achieved through the employment of personality questionnaire.

 

            According to Morgan (1997), the organizational culture has basically four essential strengths. The first strength emphasizes its attention on the human side of organizational life. Secondly, it stresses on the importance of harmonious internal relations among the members of the organization, which in turn results to the achievement of common objectives and goals. It also makes the members, especially the organization leaders to assess themselves in terms of the impact they have on the group. Finally, it develops the organization's relationship not only internally but also externally through the impact of their behaviour on the outside environment.

 

The organizational culture of the company influences overall behaviour within the workplace. As culture promotes the sharing of a common goal between the top management and the employees, the organization and its multidisciplinary teams naturally works in a more harmonious relationship. As the managers and employees work together, the focus of the workers is no longer concentrated on satisfying their immediate supervisors. Rather, they work to satisfy the needs of the other teams in the process. This dynamic motion within the organization gives a more defined role and purpose for each team. Since the teams are held together, their actions are more coordinated. With organizational culture, both the managers and the employees are extremely involved in a constant joint effort to enhance the quality of the firm's products or services at every level. This then involves an impact similar to that of a chain reaction in which, the united goal of the organization to improve its services will eventually enhance their customers' satisfaction and minimize the firm's total costs. In addition, organizational culture increases the employees' sense of pride and self-worth. Hence, organizational culture positively influences the organizational behavior, which makes work teams perform more efficiently (Ahls, 2001).

 

The reliability of personality questionnaire in promoting high levels of company performance and output appear to be related to the creation of culture within the organization. A number of authors and theorists have identified the relation between organizational culture and corporate performance (Christensen & Gordon, 1999). Denison (1990) for example, has identified considerable correlations between culture and organizational performance, emphasizing on human resources and decision-making practices. Researchers Denison and Mishra (1995) also cited that organizational culture is related with involvement, adaptability, mission and adaptability, which in turn allow return on assets and sales growth.

 

Another significant effect of organizational culture is its ability to enable the acquisition of new skills. It also promotes employee familiarization with the overall operation of the business. In other words, organizational culture facilitates the generation of well-rounded employees who are well-equipped and capable of providing newer or better business solutions. The involvement and participation of the employees help in creating team orientation and organizational efficacy. Organizational efficacy is defined as a generative capability found in an organization so as to effectively overcome various challenges, stressors, opportunities and demands most businesses encounter within its environment. Organizational efficacy exists as a combined judgment of the individual members of the organization regarding their sense of joint capacities, their sense of purpose, direction or mission as well as their sense of resilience (Bohn, 2001). Basically, organizational efficacy refers to the strong sense of self-belief that one can do something to stand out, excel and make a difference. Hence, oftentimes, organizational efficacy is used interchangeably with organizational confidence. This effect is also among the most important advantages brought about by the establishment of organizational culture.

 

The respondents also agree on other advantages of using personality questionnaires. As mentioned in the reliability section, the respondents noted the ability of this human resource instrument to identify the potentials, attitudes and behavior of the applicant. This feature helps the HR staff to determine whether the individual is suitable for the job being offered. In addition to these advantages, the respondents also indicated that employing this type of test for HR processes is less costly. Most importantly, personality questionnaires are highly flexible, meaning companies can easily customize them in accordance to their employment needs.

 

In line with the ability of personality tests to identify the applicants' personal features, some literatures had recognized this important advantage. In one article from the Journal of Property Management (2001), personality questionnaires were described as tools that are initially used to identify applicants with potential psychological problems. However, currently, these instruments are used by employers not only to test the personalities of their applicants but also to align their individual personalities with the needs of the company and the job they are applying for. Rather than screen applicants based on their mental stability, personality questionnaires are now used to screen applicants for competence; hence, the respondents of the research agree with this capability of personality questionnaires.

 

The article further explained that with personality questionnaires, companies can prevent employing applicants that could create conflicts in the workplace or bully other co-workers. This is an important issue as bullying in the workplace is among the common problems employees and employers encounter. Some of the usual bullying tactics include criticizing the performance of others, denying accomplishments, making unreasonable demands, blaming others for their own errors, yelling at co-workers, stealing the credit for other's work as well and insulting colleagues. This concrete example of workplace conflict can be avoided by subjecting incoming employing to personality tests (Journal of Property Management, 2001). This situation clearly stress the significance of screening employees not only based on their technical skills but their interpersonal skills as well.

 

According to Berta (2002), the employment of personality questionnaires used to be an expensive and tedious process. Traditionally, the questionnaire would have to be mailed to the applicant; this procedure apparently takes considerable time and energy. However, with the introduction of the Internet and other computer-based programs, companies are able to make the most of personality questionnaires. Not only does this make the entire process faster but companies are able to screen the applicants in a more effective way. As results can be obtained easily through the computer, employers could employ rightful applicants immediately. Considering the strong competition for talented and highly skilled workforce, firms are then able to gain an important advantage in hiring through the personality questionnaire.

 

Finally, the flexibility of this HR instrument is attributed to its customizable nature. Companies can use personality test in order to assist them in linking personality types to certain job classifications or group of people. The assessment of the applicants personality can also be combined with other forms of tests such as leadership evaluation, skill test or performance assessment. In addition, personality questionnaires has a multi-purpose feature as it cannot only be used for hiring; this can also be utilized for promoting deserving employees, appraising their performance or training (Krell, 2005). This advantage allows firms to develop specific personality questionnaires that are accustomed to what they need from an applicant; this then helps in ensuring that the employees screened through personality questionnaires are suitable for the job vacancy.

 

Although these findings clearly suggest that personality questionnaires are reliable and advantageous, the selected respondents also pointed out some downsides of this instrument. For instance, the participants strongly agree that the applicants can easily fake the answers they place on the questionnaires. Moreover, there are several personality questionnaires available at present that even untrained staff can easily administer this type of test. The respondents also strongly agree that in order to administer this test effectively, substantial training and experience are necessary. As the interpretation of the test is considerably dependent on the standards and the ability of the HR staff to interpret them, inaccuracy of the results is very possible no matter how much training the HR staff has gone through.

 

The tendency to obtain inaccurate personality test results due to the answers provided by the applicants themselves has been raised in the past (Furnham, 1994). In particular, a common practice among applicants is to overestimate, especially on positive attributes, their scores in the test. The tendency of applicants to overestimate or fake their scores in a personality test appear to increase when they have an idea on what type of employee the company is seeking. Naturally, if the applicants could easily present the profile they believe the employer requires, the reliability of this instrument is significantly affected. Moreover, despite the accuracy of the HR personnel's interpretation, there is a great possibility that the wrong employees will be selected with the presence of this issue.

 

Although the use of personality questionnaires is reliable, the company would have to ensure that its HR department has the people that can administer this effectively. Companies should then assure that their HR employees have undergone appropriate training and have sufficient experience; while the test itself is inexpensive and easy to use, obtaining the right people for its utilization can pose a challenge. Moreover, considering the fact that training and experience alone cannot significantly limit the misinterpretation of results, it is quite difficult to hire and pay for highly skilled HR personnel when positive outcomes are not guaranteed. Thus, rather than insisting on the use of personality questionnaires to various HR procedures, the company is likely to resort to other means of recruitment and employee evaluation.

 

The validity of the results obtained from personality questionnaires is also doubted. Based from the obtained results, the respondents agree that it could determine the personal features of an applicant, which could help in the hiring process. However, considering the need for trained personnel, the tendency of the applicants to fake their test answers and the risk of misinterpreting the results, the respondents were not totally certain if the results of test are accurate enough. In one newspaper article by Osterman (2005), the validity and accuracy of the results obtained from personality tests had been questioned by several critics. The critics noted that one of the main problems with personality questionnaire is that most of these tests are not really meant for hiring purposes. Although the questionnaire can be used to help companies evaluate the employees and build teams among them, these tests cannot really be used to employ people. For instance, if an applicant was identified as shy based on the interpretation of his or her test results, this does not necessarily mean that the individual cannot handle jobs that require an outgoing personality. Thus, a shy individual can be an effective salesperson as the job encourages an outgoing character.

 

Based from the results obtained from the survey, the use of personality questionnaires has its positive and negative sides. In terms of reliability, the instrument is relatively reliable in determining the personal attributes of an applicant. As the results of the test are easy to analyze and interpret, the speed of hiring and other HR activities is increased. In addition, since the attitudes and behavior of an individual can easily be compared to the developed standards of the test, employer could determine which applicant is most suitable for the job offer. Naturally, as personal features and job requirements are aligned, higher levels of company performance and output are achieved.

 

These benefits of the personality questionnaire are further supported by its more specific advantages. One of which is the ability of this instrument to assist employers in giving due promotions to deserving employees. As the questionnaire provides the data regarding the employees' performance, work attitude and behavior, employers can use these as basis for promoting workers. This is an advantage as promotions will not be based on the employers' intuition only or from personal relations. In addition, giving promotions helps in promoting employee loyalty, which contributes to low turn over rates. This then help companies save on significant costs on hiring. Most importantly, the use of personality questionnaires in promoting employees helps the company identify individuals that have great potentials and can contribute significantly to the firm's future development. Personality questionnaires are also beneficial to the company as it enables the employment of individuals that have more or less similar work principles and attitudes. This in turn helps in promoting teamwork among the employees. By means of having a common direction and value within the company, organizational structure is established. This human resource concept on the other hand, contributes to the development of effective relations between employers and employees as well as among colleagues. With coordination and teamwork, conflicts within the workplace are also prevented or easily settled.

 

However, the use of personality questionnaires also has its disadvantages. For instance the respondents noted that while this instrument has the capability to identify the personal attributes of an applicant, the accuracy or validity of the results cannot be ascertained. This is mainly because of the tendency of the applicants to fake their test answers in accordance to the profile which they believe is what the employer is looking for. The effective administration of this HR instrument also needs certain requirements including considerable training and experience of the HR staff. As the employment of highly trained HR staff is an investment for the company, it will be difficult for other to have this type of personnel when the outcomes of personality questionnaires cannot be depended on fully. The cited literature also noted the statements of various critics, suggesting that personality questionnaires may be able to categorize people into personality types; however, this cannot be used for hiring procedures. Apparently, the personality implied in the test results does not necessarily connote the capability of an individual. With the individual's perseverance and sufficient training, an unsuitable applicant may turn out to be a good and dependable employee.

 

With these findings, one cannot really say that personality questionnaire is very effective; although it has beneficial features, certain negative factors affect the reliability and validity of this tool. There are several implications that can be derived from these findings. One is that the reliability and validity of personality questionnaires is dependent not only on the ability of the HR personnel to make accurate interpretations but also on the questions in the questionnaire. The findings and literatures used in this chapter imply that companies should used questionnaires that had been verified as reliable. Furthermore, while applicants have the tendency to fake their answers in their questionnaire, personality questionnaires can be developed in such a way that fake scores can be prevented. This can be achieved considering that personality questionnaires can be customized.

 

Chapter 6: Positive Synthesis

            The findings derived from primary research clearly indicate that personality questionnaire has a certain degree of reliability. The use of this instrument in hiring and appraising employees can also result to several other advantages. Nonetheless, the downsides of this tool affect its reliability level. In this chapter, more literatures and case examples are discussed in connection to the obtained findings from the survey. This chapter will focus on the quality, advantages and disadvantages of personality questionnaires.

 

Quality

            The obtained findings from the survey indicated that the reliability of personality questionnaire lies considerably on its known ability to determine personal attributes of an individual or applicant. Aside from this, the instrument is also reliable for companies that intend to hasten their hiring processes. Literatures had indicated that these reliability factors of the personality questionnaire are supported by the personality standards used to interpret the test results. Through these standards, personalities can be identified easily and rapidly. A number of researches had already verified the usefulness of personality questionnaires in identifying various personal attributes and its important role in the recruitment practice. For instance, the ability of a personality questionnaire called the Five-factor model in defining job-relevant personality traits such as customer service orientation, proactivity and integrity has long been recognized. The validity of personality questionnaires within occupational setting had also gone through large meta-analyses where researchers were able to conclude that job-related personalities can be used to predict an individual's job performance aspects (Tett, Jackson & Rothstein, 1991; Barrick & Mount, 1991).

            The reliability of personality questionnaires is also supported by a myriad of tried and tested tests used for identifying the personal attributes of the applicants. In a study done using New Zealand companies as sample, the researchers concluded that a considerable number of these organizations use personality tests in their employee selection processes for non-management positions, management positions or both (Keelty, Macdonnel & Taylor, 2002). Among the most commonly used personality test was Saville & Holdsworth's Occupational Personality Questionnaire (OPQ). Other selected firms stated other kinds of personality questionnaires including the 16 Personality Factor (16PF), Myers Briggs Type Indicator, Adult Personality Inventory, in-house developed tests, the Omnia Environment Compatibility Rating and the Californian Personality Inventory. Some organizations however were not aware which type of personality tests is used for their hiring procedures as the selection is carried out by an external consultant.

 

            In order to understand the role of personality standards in the employment of personality tests, certain examples can be taken into consideration. In the United States, the Myer-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is the most common personality questionnaire used by companies. This questionnaire attempts to relate an individual's personality with one of 16 types based on four main traits. During the 1940s, Katharine Briggs and daughter, Isabel Briggs Myers invented the test based on the original ideas of Carl Jung. While Jung divided personalities into eight different types, Briggs and Myers expanded these categories; thus, a total of 16 profiles are now used for the test.

 

The personality test is basically comprised of 25 questions that aim to identify the person's style and preference within four dimensions. The first dimension is between extroversion and introversion. This dimension mainly categorizes a person based on the source of his energy. For instance, extroverts derived their energies from the outside world, whereas introverts obtain their energies internally in the form of emotions, ideas and impressions. Stereotypical images of extroverts (talkative) and introverts (quiet) are not enough to define these dimensions. This is because once extroverts have been with people long enough, they have enough energy to be by themselves. In the same way, introverts can be quite talkative in social settings once revved up (McGarrity, 2003).

 

            Sensing and intuition is the focus of the second dimension. In this case, people categorized as sensors that see what is in front of them; they have a keen sense for catching details and facts. Moreover, they are more interested in past or current events rather than those that will happen in the future. On the contrary, people who are intuitive are those that could pick up on the realities of relationships that surround them. They are quick to realize the wider implications of complex matters or explanations. The third dimension is concentrated on thinking and feeling personalities. In this case, the aim is to determine whether the individual is generally ruled by emotion or by reason. Those who are considered as thinkers prefer to be detached, analytical and logical when subjected to a decision-making process. They are basically driven by objectives and are more after clarity and justice. On the other hand, the decisions made by feelers are typically influenced by their emotions and interpersonal involvement in the situation, making decisions more subjective (McGarrity, 2003).

 

            Finally, the fourth dimension is focused on judging and perceiving qualities of an individual. The judges are the types of people that are very organized, neat and on time. They are the ones who want everything planned ahead of time. The perceivers on the other hand are not as organized as the judges; however, they have a very flexible personality, enabling them to deal with unexpected turn of events. They are very spontaneous and do not plan things in advance. They are not affected either if things do not go as planned. In terms of formulating decisions, both personalities are also different. The judges tend to be quick in making decision and often stick to their initial conclusions; perceivers on the other hand would rather keep their alternatives open as they find it very difficult to make concrete decisions right away (McGarrity, 2003). Through this personality standards HR staff can easily analyze the answers of the applicant and determine whether he or she can comply with the requirements of the job.

 

Advantage

            One of the identified advantages of employing personality questionnaires is its ability to identify the applicants' personal attributes in relation job being offered. Major companies such as Hewlett-Packard, Pepsi and Sara Lee have made use of personality questionnaires for hiring and management training; the companies themselves confirm that this HR instrument is capable of discovering important employment issues such as the applicants' experience and credentials. Moreover, as the companies are able to assess the applicant's aptitudes, character and weaknesses, they are able to assign them to job positions where they are likely to excel and succeed (Frieswick, 2004). Other than hiring, these companies are also employing personality questionnaires for the training and development of the employees. This function of the personality questionnaire is said to be an important key in enhancing executives and staff that lack certain social skills. Through personality tests, the company is able to give the right feedback that will encourage them to strive harder.

 

            The multi-functionality of personality questionnaires is yet another important advantage of this HR instrument. This feature also enables the flexible nature of personality tests. Recruiting employees is perhaps the most popular purpose of personality questionnaires. As stressed by a manager of a recruitment agency, the use of personality tests allows them to find diamonds in the rough. The recruiters do not initially ask applicants to undergo the test for recruitment. Usually, recruiters would screen applicants; once the applicants pass the initial screening, recruiters will use the personality tests to verify their instincts. In this case, the tests are used to ensure that the judgment of the HR professionals is correct; this feature is then how personality tests can be used for selection, development as well as retention (Krell, 2005).

 

            Recruiting will not be effective if the applicants do not fit to the position being offered. In this case, personality tests are also useful for finding employees with the credentials that suit the job. In some cases, companies use personality questionnaires not to establish a personality pattern within the company but to ensure that each employee can give their best performance to their respective job assignments. Personality questionnaires are also useful in gauging the comfort level of the applicants with job; at times, assessing attitudes of potential applicants can be helpful in adjust the job requirements and responsibilities in order to establish a better match (Krell, 2005).

 

In other companies, personality tests are used not only to strengthen but also to diversify their hiring process. In a group of executives for example, balance should be observed in terms of personalities. Thus, rather than creating a team that is dominated by growth-minded members, executives with personalities that can manage the team should also be included; in this way, a department is not congested with leaders or any other single type personalities. Through a diversified and balanced workforce, companies have higher chances of overcoming future challenges and achieving greater progress (Krell, 2005).

 

            The employment of a diverse workforce and its advantages has been supported by several literatures. Despite the many issues and problems related to workforce diversity, literatures claim that this is an important element of an effective organization as well as provides several advantages (Benibo, 1997). According to Dobbs (1996), the recruitment of a highly diverse workforce is very useful as it provides the organization a larger pool of skills and talents. This also increases the opportunity of the organization to hire employees that are highly appropriate for specific company needs and requirements. In actual company operations, workforce diversity can also help in generating a multitude of useful ideas for decision-making. In other words, workforce diversity broadens the company's perspectives and increases its options for developing decisions. Cox (1991) noted that the quality of decisions is significantly improved through workforce diversity.

 

For companies who intend to operate globally, workforce diversity is an important factor. In the marketing aspect, success is more attainable if diverse employees will conduct marketing efforts to ethnic minority and foreign communities (Cox, 1991). Moreover, using locals to handle some of the activities in the organization can help in developing more appropriate international strategies. In general, diversity in the workplace can help organizations in adapting to the challenges of global operations (Benibo, 1997). According to Lockwood (2005), the ability of workforce diversity to combine different perspectives, ideas and cultures together is an important asset that brings forth creativity among the employees. Specifically, the differences in the employees' experiences, views and education all contribute to the formation of mixture of ideas, allowing the formation of innovative solutions. As this helps in improving organizational performance, some organizations have become increasingly interested in developing a diverse workforce. Sonnenschein (1999) has stated that creativity and innovation is achieve in diversity as differences in way of doing and looking at things enable the formation of something that is unexpected. Through this, creativity from workforce diversity will be able to develop products or services that would both please and surprise customers. From this perspective, it becomes apparent that while diversity can result to difficulties, it also opens several avenues of opportunities.

 

If the company matches the job with the applicants' personality also help in reducing the turnover rate within the company. Through this advantage, companies are able to reduce hiring and training costs. There had been actual cases where companies were able to achieve reduction in employee turnover rate. In an article written by Dina Berta (2002), the author focused on citing various American restaurants that use personality questionnaires and were able to achieve significant reductions in their employee turnover rate. One of these food establishments was Garcia and Pepperoni Grill; its management uses personality questionnaires in screening the applicants. According to the company's human resource director, with the help of the personality tests, management turnover in the company has dropped from 46% to 25%. Aside from the reduced turnover, the HR director also noted that personality tests are advantageous as it improves management training efforts. It also makes the company more selective with the employees that it hires, ensuring that all applicants who passed fit in the organization.

 

The respondents of the survey stressed that personality questionnaires does not only reduce the costs due to turnover, but the employment of the test itself is relatively cheaper as compared to other HR tools. Initially, the utilization of personality questionnaires can be both tedious and expensive. However, with the use of internet, computer programs and various communication technologies, the process of taking the test as well as interpreting the results have significantly improved. One of the American restaurant operators who have described the old process of using personality test was Doug McKendrick, co-operator of a steak house located in Atlanta (Berta, 2002).

 

The entrepreneur noted that managers before used to send in personality questionnaires through mail; the response of the applicants will arrive usually after a week. This is then the only time when the employer will make a decision to employ the applicant or not. In reality, applicants do not have a long time to wait for companies' replies regarding their application. They would usually refer to look for jobs continuously until they are hired (Berta, 2002). Thus, if potentially good applicants will apply for companies with faster and more efficient hiring procedures, other companies will lose valuable assets.

Nonetheless, the old procedure of giving out personality questionnaires is long gone. Nowadays, companies integrate computer programs and technologies to make the process faster and easier, both for the HR personnel and the applicants. This development then allowed organizations to avail a cost-effective tool for employee recruitment and selection. In the McKendrick's Steak House for instance, the food establishment uses a program known as CheckStart in order to screen their applicants through personality assessment.

 

The CheckStart program can be loaded easily to the companies' computers or websites. The applicants on the other hand can accomplish the test through the computers and accomplish them within 15 to 30 minutes. The program can then easily present the results in tables with analysis; questions related to the applicant's results are also provided to guide the interviewer (Berta, 2002). The integration of computer technology in administering personality questionnaire also supports the respondents claim that this tool is also easy to use.

 

It has been stated by the selected respondents that personality questionnaires are also advantageous as it helps bring the employees together and prevent conflicts. According to Krell (2005), personality tests allow the concept known as onboarding where new employees are given the opportunity to become comfortable with their new work environment and colleagues. Through personality assessments managers are able to led both existing and new staff towards change. In actual application, the company can provide managers with the four dimensional personality assessments whenever new employees are hired; the results of their assessment can then be used to understand each personality type in order to help them adapt change effectively. Through personality tests, the innate feature of each employee is obtained; this can be helpful in resolving and preventing conflicts. In particular, personality questionnaires help in depersonalizing conflicts among employees. The knowledge on individual differences through personality tests helps employees in understanding each other's differences rather than on the conflict itself (Krell, 2005). Through this, good relations among the employees will be developed and maintained.

 

The use of personality tests is also useful for HR managers particularly in helping out line managers who are to coach their subordinates. By means of personality assessments, coaches within the company are able to understand the needs and preferences of their subordinates; better coaching relationships are then developed through the use of personality questionnaires. If the subordinates need to be coached, the coaches or leaders should also be trained.

 

For this requirement, personality tests are also useful. In order for employees to be promoted and developed, companies must consider their potentials, skills and attitudes. The information on the employees' personality will then help employers to determine their potential business leaders. Pitt Ohio Express, a trucking company in the United States, is focusing on the personality attributes of the key people the company would need in the future. This then would help the company develop proper training programs for potential leaders among its existing employees. Moreover, this can also help in improving the company's recruitment standards (Krell, 2005).

 

Disadvantage

            Although personality questionnaire is a reliable tool and has several advantages, it also has certain disadvantages, which have been pointed out by the respondents. One of which is tendency of the applicants to fake their answers in the questionnaires in order to make themselves more appealing to the employers. According to software developer, Steve Prelack, the main downside of personality questionnaires is that they are easily tampered or manipulated. He himself tried the MBTI test while interviewing some applicants for a food service company.

 

He noted that applicants usually have an idea on what the companies are looking for in applicant for certain positions; with personality questionnaires patterning ones answers based on the personality of an ideal employee is not very difficult to do. The software developer also noted that personality questionnaires are not exactly adaptable to all types of job specifications. For instance, it is understandable why personality tests are given for applicants applying for customer-oriented jobs. However, in the case of controller positions where skills are more essential, personality questionnaires become insignificant (Frieswick, 2004).

 

            In the study conducted by Drakeley (2000), the researcher investigated whether individuals taking a personality questionnaire can really alter their scores in the testing. For this study, the researcher chose to use students as the sample participants. In this procedure, the actual test scores of the students were compared with their self-estimated scores. Descriptive statistics and explanations of every personality dimension assessed were provided. The results showed that students do have the tendency to overestimate their personality scores. Despite this finding, the researcher also concluded that the respondents were reasonably good in predicting their personality test scores.

 

The analysis also revealed that the tendency of the students to overestimate their test scores was because some items in the questionnaire were easy to predict. In particular, personality factors that relate to sociability and ambition were the ones that are easy to predict. In terms of school success and prudence, questions that relate to these factors were not as easy to foresee. The researcher noted that this finding is probably attributed to the fact that some personality factors are more commonly discussed among students as compared to others; for example, the ambition factors is more commonly discussed than prudence. The researcher also correlated the tendency of the students to overestimate the test scores with the ranges included in the questionnaire. The choices in the questionnaire restrict the students in making the right answers, thus, the tendency to overestimate the scores increases (Drakeley, 2000).

 

In the research done by Hough and associates (1990), the researchers believed that the issue of applicants distorting their scores in the personality test is not a grave concern as was initially believed; though, this issue is constantly debated and investigated. Furthermore, based from the findings of the research done by Drakeley, it is clear that although there is a tendency for the applicants to intentionally or unintentionally give the wrong choices for their personalities, this issue is mostly correlated to the questionnaire's quality and validity. If the personality questionnaire used by the company has not gone through initial tests for validity, it is likely that the applicants could easily fake their answers.

 

Although it was not indicated in the survey results of this study, one of the common disadvantages of personality questionnaire is its correlation with various legal issues. In particular, some companies or areas do not employ personality tests in their hiring or appraisal procedures due to its tendency to discriminate applicants. Specifically, other critics question the practice of screening applicants based on their religion, gender, origin, religion, age and other personal factors; critic claimed that with personality questionnaires, some employers have the authority to reject applications that do not meet their personality standards. Aside from discrimination issues, the personality questionnaire has also been criticized for its tendency to delve into private matters that do not seem to help the hiring or appraisal process (Frieswick, 2004; O'Meara, 1994). These disadvantages, while observed in some personality questionnaires can be addressed. In order to avoid these problems, the company using the personality test must ensure that the questionnaire has been validated. Moreover, the companies must ensure that the items in the questionnaire do not have any discriminatory effect to the applicants, especially among minorities.

           

Chapter 7: Conclusion

            This study is focused on the critical evaluation on the role and reliability of personality questionnaires in conducting various human resource activities including employee recruitment and appraisal. The research also aimed to identify the pros and cons of screening applicants through a personality test. Primary and secondary resources were used in the study. For the primary data, the researcher opted to conduct a survey using randomly selected HR personnel as participants. A questionnaire, structured in Likert format, was used for data gathering. The answers of the respondents were then processed by computing their corresponding weighted means. The results of the computation were then used as basis for the data analysis. Secondary resources derived from various publications including books and journals were integrated to support the findings.

 

            Based from the results of the survey, personality questionnaires play an important role in the recruitment and appraisal of the employees. The respondents agree that this HR tool is capable of identifying essential personal attributes of the applicants, which promote effective hiring and promotion. In addition, personality tests have some other advantages. One of which is its ability to establish good relations among employees through the resolution or prevention of workplace conflicts. Personality tests also support the establishment of culture within the organization, which in turn helps in enhancing the performance an output level of the company. The integration of computer technology in administering personality tests also made this tool a cost-effective means fro recruiting new employees. The use of personality tests also enables companies to save on valuable resources as it reduces the rate of employee turnover.

 

            Despite these benefits, personality questionnaires also have certain drawbacks. For instance, the validity and accuracy of the results obtained from these questionnaires are continuously questioned. Considering that applicants can easily fake their personality scores, the results would naturally be affected. Moreover, while this tool is relatively inexpensive, it still requires highly skilled and trained HR staff to ensure correct analysis and interpretation results. Literatures however, noted that despite the training of the personnel, misinterpretation is still very likely; hence, it is difficult to employ a strategy whose outcome is not guaranteed. Other critics also pointed out that the use of personality questionnaire is inappropriate as it exhibits discrimination and violation of ones privacy.

 

            In general, personality questionnaire is not a full-proof tool for recruitment, appraisal and other HR procedures. While there may be flaws, literatures had noted that the downsides of personality tests can be addressed. For instance, its relation to legal and discrimination issues can be resolved by ensuring that the questionnaire has been validated. The company must also ensure that the questions in the test are all related to what the company really needs to find out from their applicants. Questions that infringe a person's privacy or suggest discrimination should not be included (Frieswick, 2004).

 

In the article written by Bates (2002), HR professionals also suggest that companies should not fully rely on personality tests alone when hiring or appraising employees. For instance, personality tests should be combined with cognitive test to assess the intelligence of the applicants. Personality tests should not be used to substitute tools that measure the individual's knowledge or capabilities. Hence, it is essential that HR professionals make use of various relevant predictors to improve hiring and promotion outcomes. In conclusion, all HR tools have its own pros and cons; HR staff should then be skilled enough to optimize their benefits and address their flaws.

 

 

 

 

 


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