Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaire (16PF): Advantages and Disadvantages in Hiring

If you’re looking to streamline your recruitment processes and make better hiring decisions, pre-employment testing can help with this. Discover insights into your candidates and how well-suited they are to the position available by asking them to take a pre-employment assessment. One test that many recruiters are now using is the 16PF (Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaire). Find out more about how it works and the pros and cons of incorporating it into your next recruitment process.

What Is A 16PF (Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaire)?

The 16PF (Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaire) provides a way to assess an individual’s personality using a structured approach. Developed by Dr Raymond Cattel, this tool was first published in 1949.

Today, the 16PF (Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaire) is a self-assessment report that uses the five-factor model of personality. This psychometric tool is designed to measure the respondents against sixteen different factors that, when combined, make up your personality.

This assessment is used to predict behavior in the workplace, as well as performance and communication. Hiring managers enjoy using this tool during the recruitment process to find out how an applicant may interact with others and determine whether that person may fit well with the other personalities in the team.

The sixteen traits of the 16PF (Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaire) can be divided into five umbrella categories, as follows:

  1. Extraversion: Relating to others. Does the person spend more time focusing on their relationships in the workplace or completing tasks?
  2. Independence: Influence and collaboration. Does the candidate have an assertive style, or are they more cooperative?
  3. Toughmindedness: Thinking style. Is the candidate quite realistic and objective, or are they more intuitive and creative?
  4. Self-control: Structure and flexibility. Does this person have a flexible approach, or are they more disciplined in how they handle things?
  5. Anxiety: Management of pressure. How does this person cope when they experience setbacks or challenges, and how do they handle stress?

Advantages of a 16PF (Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaire) In Hiring


As a recruiter or hiring manager, it can be difficult to justify why you chose the person you hired for a position. By implementing a personality assessment such as the 16PF (Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaire), you will have data to base your decisions off, making them easily justifiable. Gain objective insight into your candidates’ personalities and make your hiring decision more straightforward.

Increased Self-Awareness

By answering questions about their own personality, many respondents find that they gain more insight into how they behave in the workplace. Reading the results can increase the self-awareness of the candidate, as they can easily see their strengths and areas in which they may like to develop their skills.

Easily Narrow Down Your Candidate Pool

If you’re struggling to cut down your shortlist to a realistic number of people to interview, the 16PF (Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaire) can help. After having applicants complete this assessment, you will know more about each individual, and that can help you decide who to bring in to interview.

Informed Interview Process

Having additional information about your candidates when coming into the interview is useful, as you already know quite a lot about these people before you ask them anything. If you have any concerns following the results of the personality test, you can steer your questions to find out more about these potential problem areas. It also provides a way to talk to candidates about their strengths and weaknesses from the results of the test.

Support Desired Workplace Culture

It’s likely that you have a desired workplace culture that your organization is aiming to achieve. To support culture change, your hiring process must be tied in with the strategy. That means hiring the right kinds of people who will change up your organization for the better. For example, if you want people to speak their minds more, then you can use a personality assessment to hire someone who is direct and honest.

Hire for Team Fit

Another advantage of using the 16PF (Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaire) during recruitment is that you can locate a candidate who will be an ideal fit within the team they will go into. Teams work best when there are a variety of personalities in them, as this fosters creativity, problem-solving, and cooperation. If everyone was the same, it would be harder for the group to come up with new ideas. Find a person who complements the existing personalities within the team.

Disadvantages of 16PF (Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaire) in Hiring

Less predictive of job performance When being used alone

Many hiring managers include a personality assessment in the recruitment process, expecting it to predict how well someone will perform in the job. However, that’s not the main goal of a personality test. They can tell you a lot about how someone works, which can assist you in finding the best ways to manage that person and decide whether they are likely to fit into the team. However, they are not hugely indicative of job performance when used alone. In order to most accurately predict job performance, hiring managers would need to use an assessment that includes both personality traits and cognitive ability questions.

Reliability of Answers

Whether intentionally or unconsciously, many job candidates will answer personality tests by selecting the responses that they think the hiring manager would prefer. This can make the results of the 16PF (Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaire) largely invalid or hard to interpret in any meaningful fashion.

Personality Tests are extremely helpful in the hiring process

By asking job candidates to undertake a personality assessment such as the 16PF (Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaire), you can gain much more detail on how this person behaves. This will assist you in making better, more informed hiring decisions. You can select someone who will fit in with their team and the workplace culture, narrow your candidate pool, and have a more informed interview process. Make your hiring decisions more objective by incorporating one of these tests next time you are hiring a new staff member. You will likely find that this makes the process far easier for you.

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