Why Personality or Behavioural Assessments have little impact on businesses?

by Ammar Khairi | 16th September 2019


Despite researchers claiming the use of personality or behavioural assessments outside academia as debatable, many companies still resort to rely on these assessments as tools to hire the right candidates.

Needless to say, many of us could relate to the amount of emotions we often feel when companies we work at, or a position we are interviewing for, require us to sit through such assessments.

To the uninitiated, this triggers anxiety and one might even start to worry that he or she might score poorly. In many situations, low scores raise red flags, and most companies would often categorise this as “unfit for employment” - a commonly used HR term.


Unfit, incompatible, the Odd-One

Imagine these terms being called out loud when the external hired “experts” brought in by the management dissect the result of your assessment.

Now, how about those who are familiar with it? Perhaps many of us could relate to few of these key assessment areas:


Natural drive to influence situations and people
Team orientation
Decision-making style
Risk management


Keep in mind these tests are designed to measure certain scopes of your qualities, and in this case, towards building your personality and behavioural profiles. However, how do you measure technical qualities of specific job functions, for instance, a branch-banking manager’s on-job competencies via these?

How about Internal Auditors, L&D heads, Bursars or Chief Technology Officers?


Do these factors relate directly to productivity?

Despite this old question, it is still relevant for us to ask ourselves today on how we measure the qualities of our talents to match with future business goals and needs.

Human Resources Director Australia quoted that personality test will never encourage your managers to have the kinds of flexible thinking you need, because the test makes the ultimate decision. When there’s a test to fall back on, managers inevitable step back from responsibility and surrender to the test.

Fara Iza Abdul Rahim, Development Head for the Malaysian financial industry’s technical competencies at Finance Accreditation Agency reveals that having a set of required traits would not translate into required behaviour, which may be the basis for the success of a particular role.



A mixture of both

According to a survey in 2018, FAA argues that many organisations are still confused with the differences between personality assessments and technical competency assessments, and its impact on businesses.


“The best way is to have a structured process to assess the individual’s knowledge and skills, and its application, for both behavioural and technical competencies.”


Technical competency refers to the knowledge and skills of any particular job function, for instance, risk managers, internal auditors, compliance officers and sales director.


Job Families under the Individual Accreditation. Source: Finance Accreditation Agency


22 domains under 6 competencies of a Branch Manager Source: Finance Accreditation Agency


Fara reaffirms that to date, technical competency assessments are still the best indicator of the internalisation of the required behaviour towards the success of measuring organisational productivity on BAUs, projects and growth.


Rethink your qualities and culture

No matter what your success criteria is, it will help you rethink of the ideal core skill sets and behavioural culture towards achieving the business goals.

A combination of both ensures a more accurate diagnosis of talents beyond your assessment centres, and simultaneously a win-win situation to both organisations and individuals in optimising their contributions in propelling growth.



FAA’s Individual Accreditation (FDA) provides a quality mark of competence and specialist expertise for specific job functions in order to instil confidence in both employers and employees, as well as clients. With no examinations involved, FDA is designed to evaluate individual’s proficiencies and skills through portfolio submissions, evidence-based interviews, and online assessments. Individual accreditation has been very effective, and has benefited over 50 FSI-related clients globally.






Friday, September 13, 2019

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