Saturday, August 16, 2008

Can the Dewey Color System be used for hiring?

Recent articles in ERE (and elsewhere) have pointed out that CareerBuilder recently integrated the Dewey Color System into their site.

What is the Dewey Color System? As you might guess, it's a brief "test" where you choose your preference between various colors. It then provides you with a report that purports to describe your personality.

Pro? It's easy. It's much more easily digestible to most people than something like a traditional Big 5 test (and this is certainly not the first more "user friendly" personality test to emerge).

Con? We're far from being able to recommend this as a selection or hiring tool.

Some problems I have:

1) the entire basis of research support (according to their website) is this single article.

2) correlations with the Strong Interest Inventory reported in this article aren't terrible, but aren't outstanding either (median of .68).

3) correlations with the 16PF, which actually is used for hiring, were worse--median correlation was .51 with a range of .33-.68.

4) the results in this article are based on a single sample in a single location--no generalizability here.

5) to their credit, the authors of the article point out "what we have not yet established is that the Dewey Color System Test also predicts the behaviors for which these personality tests are typically used. Thus, more extensive validation should consider using color preferences directly to predict variables such as job satisfaction, leadership potential, etc."

6) beware any testing instrument that is described as "valid" or "validated." Tests aren't validated. Interpretations of them are. Read the Principles, folks (if you must, skip to page 4).

Is it easy? Yup. Might there be something to this? Yup. Is this another example of the P.T. Barnum effect? Yup. Should we be very careful and conduct good research before using personality tests? Yup.

Are we at a point where we can say this should be used for personnel selection? Nope.

p.s. speaking of personality tests, did you know Hogan Assessment Systems has their own blog? I didn't until now--check it out.

1 comment:

Hogan Assessments said...

Thanks for the mention... We'll be expanding the scope of our little blog in the days to come, so keep checking back!