Applying personality questionnaires to create business value

Understanding what makes people tick, how they are likely to behave and the personal characteristics they bring to a role, will help you to make informed, higher quality selection, promotion and development decisions.

Personality assessment by cut-e – with shapes and ADEPT-15 work-related behavioural questionnaires, measures exactly those personality dimensions vital to the quality of your HR decisions.

Which personality dimensions really impact success in your organisation?

The value of personality assessment

Many personality assessments draw on competencies – and deciding which competencies are needed for a specific role enables you to then focus on these within an assessment. Identifying and assessing against these success competencies results in real business value:

An understanding of an individual’s personality helps you to:

  • identify the best candidates for a role
  • predict performance
  • appreciate how decisions are made, how stress is handled, how interactions are approached
  • pinpoint development areas for training
  • understand what is essential for each position
  • consider how a team may interact

Of course some ‘personality’ characteristics require a more in-depth assessment such as creativity and integrity – and cut-e has developed specific tools for these areas.

Dell assesses personality and impacts bottom line

Dell identified those candidates who would generate 35% more revenue and 42% more profit than others from looking at core competency areas.

White Paper: Wired for Engagement

Research shows that an employee’s personality can have a big influence on how engaged they are at work. In other words, some people are just “wired for engagement.”

This white paper discusses the specific personality traits that are related to higher levels of employee engagement, which can in turn lead to advantages for your organisation. To learn more about the specific personality traits associated with engagement and how to incorporate engagement into your hiring processes, order your free white paper below.

Harveys assesses personality to generate more revenue

Harveys Furniture used shapes alongside a situational judgement test and spotted those candidates who would bring in 14% more revenue than others.

About the personality questionnaire shapes

shapes  is an adaptive, cut-e competency-based personality questionnaire system, providing detailed and efficient assessment of a person’s competencies. Because it makes use of adaptive techniques in its design, the questionnaires are short in length and user-friendly whilst still delivering differentiated and precise results. This is far quicker than many similar tools.

With specific versions of the assessment for those in administrative or apprentice positions, salespeople, graduates, managers, executives, and functional specialists, there is the right questionnaire for your people. Each assessment is made relevant as it looks at those areas in which the candidate has had experience or exposure: shapes-sales is optimised for those with direct customer experience and shapes-graduate does not explore management experience.

The shapes competency model

Specific target group versions for shapes

  • shapes basic
    Optimised for administrative staff and apprentices; 15 scales with 6 items each; does not measure any management behaviour/potential; does not require a university degree.
  • shapes graduate
    Optimised for graduates; 18 scales with 6 items each; does not require management experience.
  • shapes sales
    Optimised for sales functions and direct customer contact; 24 scales with 6 items each; does not require a university degree.
  • shapes expert
    Optimised for experts without management responsibilities and sales functions; 18 scales with 8 items each; does not measure management behaviour/potential.
  • shapes management
    Measures specifically the management behaviour/potential; 18 scales with 8 items each; appropriate for middle and senior management including management functions.
  • shapes executive
    Optimised for senior management; 24 scales with 8 items each.

About the ADEPT-15® personality questionnaire

The Adaptive Employee Personality Test (ADEPT-15), developed by Aon Hewitt, is a scientifically based assessment designed to accurately uncover the unique aspects of an individual’s personality to help organisations hire, promote, and develop the very best talent. ADEPT-15 is organised around six styles and fifteen aspects of personality and assesses one’s preferences, work styles, and personality traits. 

ADEPT-15 has been proven by over 8 million global administrations, is backed by 50 years of research, and is built upon a database of 350,000 unique items. It relies on modern data science and adaptive technique to mitigate socially desirable responding and other attempts to “game” the test. It therefore ensures an accurate prediction of on-the-job behavior across the full employee lifecycle – from selection through to development.

Personality assessment: is loyalty predictable?

A question we are asked sometimes is whether it is possible to predict how loyal an employee is going to be in the future. Our answer is: 

We do not believe that loyalty is a characteristic that a person either has or doesn't have: it is a complex interplay between someone’s disposition and values, and the situation or context they are in. cut-e has developed the instrument squares to assess the type of situations in which a person would display counterproductive, and this includes disloyal, behaviour. With this information you can look at the type of situations in which your employees may be loyal - or disloyal.

There is strong evidence that the person’s environment seems to be the key factor that influences their loyalty - and that loyalty is changeable. If you don’t give your employee any reason to steal pencils, if you pay them a reasonable salary and if you ensure that they are content, you won’t have disloyal employees - they will not have any reason to display undesirable behaviour. Examples of changing loyalty are, where on the surface all is smooth, but the organisation does something morally wrong e.g. turns a blind eye to corruption, treats other businesses or people badly and so on.

There are numerous whistle blower cases where previously loyal employees who are paid well, don’t steal, and are happy at work, become disloyal and turn the tables. These examples relate to integrity and can be quantified with the cut-e instrument squares to get a better understanding of people’s behaviour in certain situations.

Personality assessment: Do we misinterpret overconfidence as competence?

In this article Espen Skorstad, Chief Commercial Officer Europe at cut-e Group, explores how mistaking overconfidence for competence may help explain why more men than women are in leadership positions. He offers some tips as to how companies can equip themselves with better insight to get the right people for the right job. 

Overlook the introverted and miss out

Listen to the silent: In this article we look as how businesses may lose out on significant attributes and overlook real benefits if they ignore the more introverted personalities amongst the workforce.

Personality assessment: Is the distinction between ‘left-brain’ and ‘right-brain’ helpful in recruitment?

American neurobiologist Roger Wolcott Sperry proposed a distinction between left-brain and right-brain thinking in the 1960s, to describe how the brain processes information.

The idea is that the left hemisphere of our brains processes information analytically using words. Left-brain thinking is therefore verbal, logical and detail-oriented. In contrast, the right hemisphere of our brains processes information intuitively using pictures. Right-brain thinking is therefore visual, creative and context-oriented. 

However, there is actually no basis for this in neuroscience. Yes, we may have a natural tendency towards one way of thinking but each of us will use both sides of our brain in our everyday lives. The whole brain is involved in all cognition.

The concept of left-brain/right-brain thinking does at least encourage debate about our dominant personality traits and behaviours. This has a value but, at cut-e, we would advise recruiters to focus more on the requirements of the role. The essence of recruitment is to understand what ‘good’ looks like in each role you’re trying to fill, not to look for desirable traits which might not actually be needed in the job that’s on offer.

Perhaps in the future, advances in neuroscience - and the study of neural networks - will uncover the existence of a ‘meta trait’ in our brains that tells us which approach (left-brain or right-brain) we should use in whatever situation we’re encountering? That would certainly be an interesting development. Creating a psychometric assessment to measure that meta trait would then be a fascinating challenge.

Reference reading

Ashton, M. C. (1996). Personality and job performance: the importance of narrow traits.Journal of Organizational Behavior, 19, 289-303.

Baron, H. (1996). Strength and Limitations of Ipsative Measurements. Journal of Occupational and Organisational Psychology, 69, 49-56.

Barrick, M. R. & Mount, M. K. (1991). The Big Five personality dimensions and job performance: A meta-analysis. Personnel Psychology, 44, 1-25.

Bartram, D. (1996). The relationship between ipsatized and normative measures of personality. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 69, 25-39.

Bartram, D. (2007). Increasing validity with forced-choice criterion measurement formats. International Journal of Selection and Assessment, 15, 263–272.

Brown, A. & Maydeu-Olivares, A. (2012). Fitting a Thurstonian IRT model to forced-choice data using Mplus. Behavior Research Methods, 44, 1135-1147.

De Vries, A., de Vries, R. & Born, M. P. (2010). Broad versus narrow traits: Conscientiousness and honesty-humility as predictors of academic criteria. European Journal of Personality, 25, 336-348.

Dudley, N. M., Orvis, K. A., Lebiecki, J. E. & Cortina, J. M. (2006). A meta-analytic investigation of conscientiousness in the prediction of job performance: Examining the inter-correlations and the incremental validity of narrow traits. Journal of Applied Psychology, 91, 40-57.

Griffith, R. L., Chmielowski, T. & Yoshita, Y. (2007). Do applicants fake? An examination of the frequency of applicant faking behavior. Personnel Review, 36, 341-357.

Heggestad, E. D., Morrison, M., Reeve C. L. & McCloy, R. A. (2006). Forced-Choice Assessments of Personality for Selection: Evaluating Issues of Normative Assessment and Faking Resistance. Journal of Applied Psychology, 91, 9-24.

Hicks, L. E. (1970). Some properties of ipsative, normative and forced choice normative measures. Psychological Bulletin, 74, 167-184.

Justenhoven, R. T. (2014). Adaptive allocation of consent – Innovative Itemformate zur Messung von Persönlichkeit. Unveröffentlichte Masterarbeit. Hamburg: Hochschule Fresenius.

Kurz, R., Bartram, D. & Baron, H. (2004). Assessing potential and performance at work: The Great Eight competencies. Proceedings of the British Psychological Society, 4, 91-95.

Lohff, A. & Wehrmaker, M. (2008). AdallocTM – adaptive scales for online questionnaires. In W. Sarges & D. Scheffer (Hrsg.), Innovative Ansätze für die Eignungsdiagnostik (S. 239-251). Göttingen: Hogrefe.

Salgado, J. F. (2003). Predicting job performance using FFM and non-FFM personality measures.Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 76, 323-346.

Saville, P. & Willson, E. (1991). The reliability and validity of normative and ipsative approaches in the measurement of personality. Journal of Occupational Psychology, 64, 219-238.

Schmidt, F. L., & Hunter, J. E. (1998). The validity and utility of selection methods in personnel psychology: Practical and theoretical implications of 85 years of research findings. Psychological Bulletin, 124, 262-274.

Sitser, T., van der Linden, D. & Born, M. P. (2013). Predicting Sales Performance with Personality Measures: the Use of the General Factor of Personality, the Big Five and Narrow Traits. Human Performance, 26, 126-149.


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