Candidate Comparison Done Right

Using personality tests with interviews makes candidate comparison objective and — dare we say it — easy.

After the candidate pool has been sufficiently narrowed down, distinctions between highly qualified candidates can start to feel arbitrary. Employers may find themselves parsing minutiae, measuring Candidate A’s great anecdote about on-the-job innovation against Candidate B’s international experience and Candidate C’s arresting interpersonal skills. Although by this point it may feel like the final hiring decision is a matter of personal inclination, an objective solution to candidate comparison does exist. Leveraging personality, or a person’s core wiring and the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that stem from it, allows employers to use hard data to parse the finer differences between candidates.

Candidate Comparison is about Predicting Performance

Holding interview notes and résumés for Candidates A, B, and C side by side for comparison won’t ensure the right hiring decision gets made. Traditional hiring tools such as résumés and interviews have a low correlation with job performance, which means it is entirely plausible that the candidate with the best résumé and interview performance is not always the best candidate in the hiring pool.1 While résumés and interviews do provide helpful snapshots of candidates — and add value to the candidate experience by giving the candidates some sense of control over their presentation — their utility increases considerably when paired with personality data.2

Employees are long-term investments, so it is essential that employers gather an overarching picture of each candidate’s potential. Reputable personality data is highly correlated with workplace performance. It reveals stable dispositions that translate to specific work-related outcomes involving both practical and strategic behaviors.3 Candidate comparison benefits from personality insight because employers can confidently anticipate a person’s day-to-day workplace behaviors and capabilities. More than just a highlight reel, it also puts a spotlight on possible counterproductive behaviors that could infringe on the candidate’s workplace performance. Selecting a candidate using personality data is the best way to decide which candidate will perform the way the organization needs an employee to perform. Implementing a multipronged approach to selection by utilizing personality tests alongside résumés and interviews can give employers a well-rounded view of candidates and make the candidate comparison process less cumbersome.

Personality Data Is an Equitable Candidate Comparison Tool

As always, employers must ensure that small biases — Candidate A’s witty asides, Candidate B’s movie-star cousin, and Candidate C’s award-winning smile — do not creep into the rationale behind hiring decisions. Employers can rely on personality data to further standardize their candidate comparison process and cut down on any potential bias. Reliable, well-validated personality tests promote diversity in hiring because participant scores are highly predictive of individual differences in workplace behavior but show no differences in gender identity, sexual orientation, race, religion, or age. This absence of adverse impact makes well-validated personality tests the fairest tool available for selection processes. They help employers make selection decisions based on what matters — that is, predicted workplace performance — and avoid what doesn’t.

Personality testing also makes candidate comparison fairer in less obvious ways. For example, employers who assess their candidates get a clear view of the overlap between candidates who seem like they might be high-performers and those who data predicts will be high performers. Using personality as a verification tool can help ensure that hiring managers don’t hire someone who is charismatic in lieu of a less captivating but more qualified candidate. Personality data also ensures that lack of prior experience, often an exclusion criterion for inexperienced candidates, does not cause employers to overlook future high performers.4 When performance predictions are clearly laid out on the table, certain other variables (such as work experience) become less important.

Personality Data Contextualizes Candidate Comparison

Candidate A’s elevated emotional intelligence may be an asset in motivating workers and maintaining team cohesion but be an occasional liability in a hypercompetitive industry. Candidate B’s sense of grit may deliver results but lead to an unsympathetic approach to coworkers. Candidate C’s perfectionism may be a great asset to quality control but conflict with the organization’s emphasis on speed. Whatever the situation is, personality data ensures that employers get a clear idea of how candidates will behave in the role in question, providing nuanced insight regarding the pros and cons of each candidate’s workplace performance. By isolating specific behaviors and their associated advantages and disadvantages, employers can zero in on which candidates have the assets essential for the role and spot potential dealbreakers early on.

Personality data also helps employers understand how well an employee aligns with the given industry, organizational culture, and team culture. Because the difference between underperformance and overperformance is often motivation, it is important that employers accurately predict if a candidate will be engaged with the overall mission of the job.1 Leveraging personality data to match employer’s vision of what a hiring win looks like is a must during candidate comparison.

Candidate Comparison is a Science

It is no secret that the labor pool is contracting. Employers cannot afford to overlook promising candidates. The Candidate Assessment Suite not only makes the choice between Candidates A, B, and C less daunting, but it also helps employers make decisions more efficiently and accurately. The system allows users to create and tailor hiring projects to what matters most for the role and organization, give candidates personality tests, and rank their scores according to the employer’s bespoke criteria. Organizations that make their candidate comparison process as easy as ABC will have no problem hiring the best talent available.

This post was originally published on the Hogan Assessments blog.


  1. Feher, Zsolt. (2020, March 23). The Key to Economic Survival: Your Hiring Practices. Hogan Assessments.
  2. Hogan Assessments. (2021, March 16). Using Personality Tests in Interviews: The Ticket to Hiring Success. Hogan Assessments.
  3. Chamorro-Premuzic, Tomas. (2015, May 4). Are Competencies Still Alive? Huffington Post.
  4. Chamorro-Premuzic, Tomas. (2015, February 18) Three Things You Should Know About Workplace Competencies. Forbes.
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