Personality Testing for Hiring Customer Service Staff
5 years ago by

Businesses often find themselves in embarrassing customer service train-wrecks, and lose important customers to poor service, which at times can be attributed to weak decision making during the recruitment process of customer service representatives.

Businesses stand to lose millions of dollars in revenues and sales, owing to substandard customer service, since retention depends on customer experience. If a business aims to improve customer satisfaction levels, it needs to make the hiring decision based on scientific and psychological testing, which can help ascertain the personality types and traits of potential employees.

A comprehensive approach, which takes a holistic view, taking into account the philosophical aims of the customer service team, can greatly enhance service experience. In order to make better recruitment decisions, businesses can use personality and emotional testing before the hiring decision are made. Merriam-Webster defines these tests, “Any of several tests that consist of standardized tasks designed to determine various aspects of the personality or the emotional status of the individual examined”.

Personality testing is an ever-expanding phenomena, which has grown exponentially in the last decade. More than 2,500 personality questionnaires are available in the market, that are currently being employed by companies to benefit from latest research to yield better result in terms of hiring and performance.

There are many employers who have successfully implemented personality testing in the employment selection process to improve the recruitment process. These tests help determine whether or not an employee has the appropriate personality traits for the job for which he or she is being hired. Recent studies have shown that the principles of psychology can be usefully employed to measure and assess the personality and emotional intelligence of potential employees.

This information can be later used to deduce whether or not an employee is an appropriate fit for the position. If companies deploy scientific methods during the recruitment process, retention and performance can be exponentially increased. Personality testing is fast becoming an important tool in the decision making process for recruitment.

Emotional Intelligence

In addition to personality testing, companies have also started testing their employees for emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence has four main components:

  • Ability to perceive emotions in themselves and others and appropriately express these emotions.
  • Awareness as to how their emotions impact thinking, decision making and coping mechanism.
  • Ability to analyze and understand their emotions
  • Ability to regulate their emotions, so that the negative emotions can be suppressed, hence job performance is not adversely affected

Emotional Intelligence testing can help companies determine whether or not employees will be able to handle pressure and resolve conflicts. Additionally, these tests can also be used to assess the level of empathy and leadership skills.

Personality Test Criticisms

As with all ideas, while many are in favor there is also some criticism attached to such tests. There is a debate in the psychology field whether these tests are ethical to use and how accurately do they measure and evaluate the personality of the employees. Personality tests can be helpful in some situations, but companies cannot completely rely on these tests for hiring decisions. Some psychologists have earlier stated that these tests come with some level of bias, and employees often beat the test, hence there is no guarantee that the results are one hundred percent accurate. Critics believe that such tests are easy to cheat, despite test makers claims otherwise. Although these tests do come with certain control questions to catch out test-takers who are trying to give an overly good impression. A study by American Psychological Association found out that 80% of the test-takers had manipulated the answers in order to make themselves look good.

How can these tests help improve customer service

Despite some of the loopholes and criticism, these personality and emotional tests are able to foresee how an employee will work in their given position to a certain extent. It can assess the level of diligence, intellect and cheerfulness that can be expected from a particular employee. If the company is able to determine these personality traits, hiring can be done more intelligently.

When it comes to customer service, especially those employees who deal directly with the customers, it is important that their style of interaction is inviting, pleasant and helpful. Moody, unhappy or rude customer service agents can’t possibly interact with customers effectively and also ruin the workplace morale.

In order to provide effective customer service, companies must hire representatives who have amiable personalities, are extrovert in nature, and with cheerful demeanor, so that the customers feel comfortable asking questions or seeking advice from the company representatives. Hiring employees who are better suited to perform the tasks is likely to improve performance and level of customer satisfaction. Additionally, if these tests are effective during the recruitment process, retention rates can also be improved.

On the other hand, if personality tests are not used for screening purposes, the company will lose on the opportunity to gain insightful information about employee’s personality.


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