ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Human Resources - Are Personality Tests Good Indicators of Employee Performance?

Updated on July 11, 2012

Employers have utilized multiple strategies in their hiring processes throughout business history. More recently, they have begun to use what are called emotional intelligence tests. Some say these tests are irrelevant in determining an employee’s future performance. Others however, say they are a crucial ingredient in hiring the right people. While I maintain that emotional intelligence is a good indication of a successful person, I think there is room for improvement in the actual process of determining emotional intelligence.


Those who support the testing say it boils down to four major traits a person portrays. These are self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management. Each of these has specific components within, all of which are related to how one carries himself and how that reflects in ones work. Advocates argue their stance with several key facts and points. For one, emotional intelligence has statistically been seen in successful managers and employees. For instance, a retail clerk who scored high in the self-management portion of a test will usually be more able to handle his or her emotions when dealing with a difficult customer. Also, emotional intelligence is a means to reduce risks and turnover for an organization. If they can determine in the beginning who has the ability to self-manage himself or who has high interpersonal skills, the likelihood they will be a better resource for the company increases significantly. Not only do they reduce turnover, the tests have also proven to reduce the risk of negligent hiring. This will help companies avoid legal issues and lawsuits, as well as aid in ensuring safety in the workplace. This is issue is infinitely important and should be of utmost importance in every organization.


There are many out there who say no, emotional intelligence tests are irrelevant. The reason they take this stance is because all too often, a potential employee will lie or alter the answers of the test in order to ensure he or she gets the job. If a candidate knows that the answers to the test will help management determine his future, what incentive does that person have to tell what he truly believes? Would any intelligent person not alter the answers to obtain employment? After all, they applied to the job to become a paid employee, not share their emotional traits. That is the main reason opponents will give for not supporting emotional intelligence testing. They aim to stop fakers. Also, many of the questions on the test may be a bit too simplistic and obvious. It is easy to see what a company is trying to determine if a question on a tests ask how they handle a tough situation, and one of the answer choices is “scream in outrage.” They say it would be far more efficient to look more closely at technical skill sets and not waste time on such questioning. So for opponents, the inaccuracy and obvious nature of the test become a hindrance in determining an employee’s actual emotional intelligence level.

Conclusions and Opinions

So who is right? After reading both sides of the argument and participating in class discussion, I firmly believe that both sides are absolutely correct. The four criterion used in determining emotional intelligence are very important and very relevant to job performance. This is especially true when considering the fact that many people who have taken these tests are proven, successful individuals in the workplace. Still, what about what the other side? Do people fake the tests? Yes, research has indicated that up to thirty percent of individuals will lie on a test to get hired. However, in my eyes, that does not discount the fact that many people who have scored highly in multiple areas are more productive and successful individuals.

So I think emotional intelligence has its place in the hiring process. I think it is a very good indicator and can significantly reduce risks and help an organization. Still, I do not believe people should take a questionnaire like test. The fact that so many people admit faking their answers is reason enough to eliminate that type of emotional test. What might be a solution? I believe that if we could develop a way to recognize signs of emotional intelligence in people when conducting interviews, it would boost the validity of emotional intelligence. The interview itself would probably need to be conducted with at least two HR representatives. It would also help to record the interview for further review upon completion. The interview style of testing for emotional intelligence would significantly reduce the likelihood that one would lie on the test or alter his answers. When one is in a face to face setting, he or she is more likely to speak truthfully. This is true not only because he is right there on the spot and nerves are high, but because it is much harder to speak untruthfully to someone’s face. It is easy to fake a resume. It is not so easy to make up a story when asked an off the wall question in an interview setting. So I believe if we could master the art of the “emotional intelligence recognition interview” style test, we could master the hiring process. In that respect, I sit on the fence with this issue.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • rjbatty profile image


      7 years ago from Irvine

      In his book "Emotional Intelligence," the author (Daniel Goleman) posits that emotional intelligence is more important that IQ. I tend to agree. While people can learn to handle technical information, their personalities are usually hardened by the time they are seeking employment. Creating a harmonious workplace is far more difficult than locating individuals with an exact skill set.

      While your idea of using HR reps to conduct emotional intelligence testing has merit, I don't think it's realistic. Most companies pay their HR reps a clerk's wage. An individual who could conduct a comprehensive emotional intelligence test would require higher qualifications -- to steer the questioning psychologically when dealing with prospects who are adept at lying even under the pressure of a personal interview. I do not think companies are willing to hire more sophisticated HR personnel because of the cost factor. If a standard HR rep is merely reading off a set of questions, this doesn't really differ much from having the applicant complete a written test.

      I think the key here is to make the "correct" answers to a written test far less obvious so that cheating may become virtually impossible. There are tests that have been created by psychological pros that are used to clear an individual applying for a high-security clearance position (e.g., working at a nuclear launch facility). These tests do not have guessable answers -- they are so discreet and probing that you would have to be a psychologist to glint the intent of a question. Companies that rely on HR departments to weed out malcontents could use more complex tests and reduce or eliminate the lying factor.

      Kudos for bringing an intriguing subject to Hubpages. I can't quite understand why the topic hasn't generated any feedback, but then I have a number of hubs that have generated zero responses myself.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)