IZA DP No. 13809: Whoever You Want Me to Be: Personality and Incentives
forthcoming in: Economic Inquiry, 2023.
What can employers learn from personality tests when job applicants have incentives to misrepresent themselves? Using a within-subject, laboratory experiment, we compare personality measures with and without incentives for misrepresentation. Incentivized personality measures are weakly to moderately correlated with non-incentivized measures in most treatments but are correlated with intelligence when test-takers have information about desired personalities or are warned that responses may be verified. We document that actual job ads provide information about desired personalities and that employers in the UK who administer personality tests are also likely to administer intelligence tests despite the potential for substitution between the tests.