Recently I read an opinion piece that decried the use of behavioral/personality assessments in the workplace. It highlighted many of the same concerns that have appeared in similar articles I have come across throughout my career. Chief among these concerns is that personality assessments are just not that predictive of work performance. However, the evidence disagrees with this belief. The conclusion from a 2005 review of research by Ones, Viswesvaran, & Dilchert sums things up nicely:

“The operational validities for compound personality variables are in the .40s. Such a level of validity places these personality constructs among our best predictors and best explanatory variables in IWO psychology. Similarly, the Big Five as a set produce operational validities in the .30s and .40s for a range of important criteria. These conclusions are supported by more than two dozen meta-analyses, incorporating thousands of individual studies, spanning decades of research. They explain and predict human behavior in general, and employee behavior in particular. Any assertion to the contrary demands extensive and comparable evidence that critics have so far been unable to provide!”

The full review article goes into more depth on different aspects of research relevant to personality assessment. The bottom line though is proper use of well-constructed behavioral/personality assessments helps hire the right people that positively impact organizational objectives.

Ones, D. S., Viswesvaran, C., & Dilchert, S. (2005). Personality at work: Raising awareness and correcting misconceptions. Human Performance. 18(4), 389-404.