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What is the value of a behaviorial assessment or personality test in hiring for accounting & finance?


Topic Expert
Regis Quirin
Title: Director of Finance
Company: Gibney Anthony & Flaherty LLP
LinkedIn Profile
(Director of Finance, Gibney Anthony & Flaherty LLP) |

Collecting data for the sake of collecting data is never a good idea, and may end up being a liability.

Let's take a step back. If you collect the data, what is your overall hypothesis - opposites will have a positive effect on your business as the conflict will generate outstanding output; or conversely do you believe that like minded people can collaborate positively and the end result will be outstanding output?

Assuming you answered the first question and you collect data, what will be your policies and how will you use the data for hiring decisions? What is your exception process? Regardless of the work history, will you deny employment because the individual does not fit into the mold?

In the end, someone will feel they were mis-treated...and you will be sued. Are you willing for all of the results and your policies to be aired before a judge?

I would not recommend it. You should be able to create an educated guess of a person's personality, based on the questions you ask in the interview.

Chris Shumate
Title: Accounting Manager
Company: Dominion Development Group, LLC
LinkedIn Profile
(Accounting Manager, Dominion Development Group, LLC) |

Regis - To your comment "do you believe that like minded people can collaborate positively and the end result will be outstanding output?", I think back to Covey's 7 Habits book, where he says something along the lines of if like minded people agree on everything, then one of them is not needed.

If an individual does not fit into the company's mold, the company has a chance of missing someone that could turn the company around, if that is needed.

I always enjoy reading your responses. Thanks.

Bryan Frey
Title: VP Finance/Corp Controller
(VP Finance/Corp Controller, ) |

I was once helping a mid-sized public company find a new CFO (years back) and the CEO and I discussed this kind of testing at length b/c it was something he had read about and was interested in. We ended up using the "Predictive Index" (or "PI") test on he, his entire e-staff, and, yes, the finalists for the CFO position. The PI is kind of like Myers-Briggs, for those of you who have been subjected to that in business school, but it's much shorter and simpler.

The testing came back with interesting results on each person's core personality traits, as well as insights into how well certain types work with one another based on a large database of PI history. In the end I don't think the results swayed him towards one candidate over another, but it did give us interesting and, we thought, valuable insights into the CEO, his team and the candidates and how they do, and might, work together. Altogether an interesting and not painful process that shed some light into complex working relationships.

So, clearly not for everyone, but valuable and worthwhile in this instance. As I recall, BTW for those interested, the testing ran a few grand for the whole group of folks as well as interpreted results.

Topic Expert
Cindy Kraft
Title: CFO Coach
Company: Executive Essentials
(CFO Coach, Executive Essentials) |

More and more companies are using assessments (Gallup, DISC, Myers-Briggs) in an attempt to mitigate the difficulty of hiring for culture fit. Culture fit mistakes are frequent, expensive, and interruptive ... and if companies have a good understanding of their culture and can leverage a tool to minimize hiring mistakes, I believe it is in everyone's interests to use it.

Think about it from the candidate perspective. You might lose out on a job that you probably could do but clearly would NOT be a fit long term. Which means, you'll be dissatisfied and back in search mode sooner rather than later.

Topic Expert
Christie Jahn
Title: CFO
Company: Prime Investments & Development
(CFO, Prime Investments & Development) |

The company we use now adds a lot of value. It measures the candidates integrity, reliability, work ethic and substance abuse. If they pass this section (it's based on a distortion rating), we then have more in depth that measures: recognition, social need, assertiveness, and competitiveness. If they pass that there's an aptitude that measures math, grammar, problem solving, etc.

You can also build Team Master reports - you set yourself as the leader and choose your direct reports and it tells you how well your personalities will work together. It is invaluable and very effective. We implemented it several months ago; but my team master report nailed every one of our personalities and hurdles we could face (which I do) with certain individuals. So as a leader; it really gives you the edge on the best way to work with each one of your team mates. I know I can be more direct with one person and I may have to take a different approach with another one.


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