How Personality Assessments Can Combat Bias in Recruiting

February 26, 2020 Ruchi Patel

First Published on LinkedIn

Combating bias in the recruitment process is a top priority for employers. In a recent poll by Aon’s Assessment Solutions, 41% of respondents said their biggest concern was ensuring a fair and unbiased process.

But human bias in hiring is difficult to eliminate. Employees can go through rigorous training, but humans will still bring bias and inconsistencies into their decision-making process. By looking for a narrow list of credentials in a candidate, such as degrees from certain universities or past employment at particular firms, recruiters often make biased decisions that do not accurately reflect a candidate's fit for the job.

Personality assessments can give companies the objectivity they need to recruit better, more diverse talent.

Using modern personality assessments in the interview process can help mitigate those biases and extraneous factors that occur in an interview setting. They can give companies the objectivity they need to recruit better, more diverse talent. Additionally, modern personality assessments are more accessible than ever, so you can increase the number of candidates who are able to complete the application.

Here’s a look at how personality assessments can improve the talent assessment process for employers and for candidates by increasing diversity and accessibility.

Use Assessments to Capture Diversity

Hiring for behaviors and personality traits can help your organization pinpoint the best candidates regardless of their race, class, gender or other factors that humans can be implicitly biased against. And because personality traits aren’t linked to any of these factors, you have the opportunity to make hiring decisions that can increase your organizational diversity.

Sophisticated assessment solutions, powered by algorithms, are driving the changes needed to transform talent selection and enable more diverse recruiting. By using artificial intelligence to compare candidates’ personality profiles and competencies to job specifications and organizational demands, businesses can consider a bigger pool of candidates and make more objective decisions. In addition, personality in and of itself, unlike cognitive abilities, doesn’t typically have naturally occurring inherent subgroup differences. Because of this, using personality assessments as part of a candidate-selection process can lead to more diversity.

For example, Aon works with a British engineering giant to help it build a more diverse workforce. By implementing Aon’s reduced-biased methods and solutions, the company has increased female hires by 19%, and participation in its talent assessments by underrepresented groups is up by more than 200%.

Increase Accessibility Through Mobile-First Delivery

To hire for diversity, you have to first make assessments available to people who may not have the luxury of time or technology. One simple way to do that is by reaching everyone where they are: on mobile devices.

Aon has taken a mobile-first approach, designing its personality assessments to be shorter and more user-friendly. Some even follow the form of social messaging apps. While the completion rates on desktop platforms are typically 60%-70%, Aon’s are about 95%, with the biggest increase in participation among underrepresented groups.

Computerized adaptive personality assessments can give companies the objectivity they need to recruit better, more diverse talent. And these types of assessments can lead to better teams by accurately identifying hard-to-capture “intangibles” through rigorous, fair and valid assessment methods, helping hiring managers rely on data for decision making rather than on gut feelings or intuition.

To learn more about how personality assessments can combat bias and increase diversity, download our e-book, Why Behavior at Work Matters


About the Author

Ruchi Patel

Ruchi is a Senior Associate Consultant with Aon’s Assessment Solutions team and leads projects across a range of industries to develop validated tools and selection processes for a variety of roles and organization levels. She earned a Ph.D. in industrial-organizational psychology from North Carolina State University, an M.A. in industrial-organizational psychology from East Carolina University, and a B.A. in psychology and communication studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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