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Are More Hospitals Adopting Pre-Hire Personality Tests?

September 27, 2018

According to Psychology Today, about 80% of Fortune 500 companies use personality tests to assess potential and current employees to make hiring, team building, and developmental decisions.

80% is a big number but not surprising or out of line with what we see, anecdotally. We rarely run into a large, sophisticated company that isn’t using SOME type of personality-based testing. They may not use them consistently. They may not use them at all levels of the organization, or they may only use them for one function – hiring OR development, but not both.

When we began working in healthcare a decade ago, the data we saw was that around 30% of healthcare organizations were using personality-based behavioral competency tests. I thought that estimate was actually pretty high. I’d worked with over 200 hospitals/systems at that point in my career and progressive talent strategies and tools were rare.

So, where are we today? The data is spotty, at best, but our estimate is that at least 50% of medium to large healthcare organizations are taking advantage of these tools. In fact, I had an interesting experience this week at a conference. I met with HR leaders from twenty different systems and 50% seems about the right number.

I met with a few CHRO’s, particularly, those who came from outside of healthcare who said that implementing a more structured hiring/selection process, including behavior-based interviewing and personality-based pre-employment testing, was one of the first projects they implemented. At the same time, I met with an equal number of leaders from reasonably large systems, who admitted that they had no assessment program. Some said they intended to implement these tools but hadn’t gotten around to it – there was just too much going on. A few were in the process of actively evaluating various tools, but a few admitted they’d just never considered it.

Related: Why You Need a Structured Hiring Process to Hire the Best Nurses

I found this last response a bit odd. If 80% of Fortune 500 companies use these tools, and our industry is facing serious challenges with finding and hiring service-oriented people and reducing turnover are priorities, why would they not be exploring these solutions?

Perhaps it’s that many healthcare organizations are just getting around to building out a real talent acquisition function. Maybe it’s healthcare’s natural skepticism or historical focus and emphasis on clinical and technical skills? Perhaps the labor market is such that they are spending all of their time, money, and resources on finding candidates?

Related: 5 Things to Know When Implementing Assessment Tools in Healthcare

Fortunately, progressive healthcare organizations get it and there is a growing body of data and research showing that the successful strategies in other industries can be applied successfully to healthcare. The approach we’ve taken is to build tools specifically FOR healthcare and a team with expertise IN healthcare. To learn more about our evidence-based approach to building a selection system for all levels of the organization:

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Bryan Warren Bryan Warren is the President of J3 Personica, a consulting, assessment, training, and coaching firm, and a guest blogger for PSI. Bryan is an expert in progressive talent strategies, with a particular focus on leader and physician selection and development.