Slower Job Hiring is the Result of Lower Unemployment (Final Revised Post)

Thesis: The longer time to fill job vacancies is caused by a decrease in unemployment, rather than other factors such as job personality tests.

A recent article published by the Wall Street Journal titled, “Today’s Personality Tests Raise the Bar for Job Seekers” highlights the growing importance of personality tests for hiring new candidates. “In 2001, 26% of large U.S. employers used pre-hire assessments. By 2013, the number had climbed to 57%, reflecting a sea change in hiring practices that some economists suspect is making it tougher for people, especially young adults and the long-term unemployed,  to get on the payroll.” I have personal experiences with these personality tests in applying for finance related jobs. The growth in popularity of theses assessments is surely a positive as it enables employers to better screen candidates for culture fit and to verify the candidate possesses the characteristics for that job function i.e. customer service must be able to communicate well with people. The last phrase of that excerpt I disagree with, however. Personality tests themselves do not discourage against young workers or individuals who have been unemployed for a while. The authors’ viewpoint on this aspect is very shortsighted and fails to take into consideration the type of candidate a young person or unemployed individual is compared to someone with potentially more active experience.

Furthermore, the author goes on to explain how the time it takes to fill job vacancies has been on the rise since the Recession. The author claims that personality tests make it harder for job seekers and are the cause of this issue. However, the author fails to point out how unemployment has also been on a steady decline since the Recession. We have a classic case of cause vs. correlation, and I feel like the author is badly mistaken in the claims drawn in the article. Furthermore, I would go on to make the argument that employment and time to fill job vacancies are directly correlated. Therefore, when there is higher unemployment, there are more available workers in the market, and open job positions can be filled quickly. When there are less people actively seeking a job, the time to fill those open positions will be greater. My proposed solution seems to be a more realistic logistical model than personality tests accounting for the dramatic change in time to fill job vacancies. For more information on personality tests that employers use to hire new candidates as well as what some of the largest U.S. companies look for in these results click here. I view the topic of personality tests as intriguing, but not a separator between age of potential employees or the rise in time to fill job vacancies.

3 thoughts on “Slower Job Hiring is the Result of Lower Unemployment (Final Revised Post)

  1. Chang Tian

    I agree with you that age of potential employees is not a critical reason for the prolonged job-seeking time. However, I think the personality test indeed count for the slower job hiring. Imagine when HR department deciding on people to hire, the personality test would give negative evaluation on people they may have hired without the test, however, the test would not provide any extra good candidates with higher quality in technique out of the potential employees pool from which the HR department hire people without the test. In another word, the personal test can only delete people from the list, but contribute nothing on bring up better job-seekers. So I think it would slow the hiring process.

  2. Alex Rogel

    I agree that this is very important. Personality testing within organizations can lead to more efficient teams and more effective collaboration. Particularly in the finance or business world where efficiency is crucial.

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