Friday, March 02, 2007

Assessment in the Mainstream Press

Boy, folks sure have personality tests on the brain these days.

This article on, titled "Surviving the personality test" discusses how organizations are using personality tests these days and also touches on the issue of "cheating."

Tip of the hat for...

- Talking to real experts in personnel selection, such as Robert Hogan and Murray Barrick. Too often journalists seem like they just pick the first name in the yellow pages.

- Pointing out that using a good personality inventory in conjunction with an interview can increase predictive power.

- Emphasizing the importance of personality inventories being standardized (and the fact that interviews often aren't).

- Reminding everyone that characteristics required of one job aren't required of all jobs. It's a scary moment when a hiring manager wants to use the same assessment, in the same way, for every job.

- Encouraging people to be honest, as the point here is to match what the person can do (and wants to do) with what the organization needs. Not that this will necessary work.

Wag of the finger for...

Saying that personality tests are "not trying to discern whether you're an extrovert or an introvert." They sure as heck ARE if you're hiring for a job where those traits are associated with success (e.g., long haul trucker, salesperson).

- Claiming that personality tests can't be cheated on. Sure they can. We know they can. It's not always easy to do so, but it doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize that questions like "do you like to go to parties?" are probably getting at extroversion and that's probably important for jobs like a restaurant host/hostess. But the more important point is it doesn't seem to matter all that much.

All things considered, not a bad article. I give it a B+.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Weird thing is that it serves an individual no good to fiddle a test like this!

All it's doing is ensuring that people get jobs that fit them like a wet sock and not a tight glove.

The pay rate might look good now, but sitting in the wrong job for 30 years will be miserable, drip by frustrated drip.


Martin Haworth