Personality Tests as Hiring Tools
Wall Street Journal
. (Eastern edition). New York, N.Y.:
Mar 15, 2006
. pg. B3A
Reproduced with permission of copyright owner. Further reproduction
or distribution is prohibited without permission.
Last year Leon Rousso, a certified financial planner with a practice in Ventura Calif., decided it was time to hire
a new associate. Instead of relying just on resumes and interviews, Mr. Rousso also asked promising
candidates to take the 16 Personality Factors, a personality test.
The reason: Mr. Rousso wasn't just looking for good administrative skills and a possible future successor but
also someone with whom he could get along. Last November he hired Joshua Pierce. Four months on, Mr.
Rousso says his new hire "is working out really well," a success he credits in part to the 16 Personality Factors,
"It's an amazing test," Mr. Rousso says.
Mr. Rousso's experience is becoming increasingly common. Financial advisory firms big and small are using
psychometric assessments, personality profiling and intelligence tests to hire staff, coach employees and
create teams. When used well, the tests, which are relatively inexpensive -- Mr. Rousso says he spent around
$300 per candidate, including consultancy fees -- can cut costs and improve performance. However, advisory
firms risk lawsuits if they fail to do due diligence as there are a plethora of tests available and the industry is
Securities America Inc., a general- securities broker-dealer servicing more than 1,800 independent financial
advisers, uses tests to recruit staff for its head office in Omaha, Neb. They consist of an IQ test, a personality
test and the Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test. MSCEIT, for short, is designed to measure
emotional intelligence by assessing a person's capacity to identify emotions in others. Aptitude in these areas is
particularly important for customer-service representatives who are tasked with providing back- office support