Skip to comments.What If Employers Want You to Take a Personality Test? Are Employers Going Too Far?
Posted on 11/28/2006 6:56:38 AM PST by freepinglurker
What If Employers Want You to Take a Personality Test?
by Peter Vogt MonsterTRAK Career Coach
If you're asked to take a personality test as part of the hiring process, you have some choices to make -- theoretically, at least.
For example, you could respectfully decline to take the test. You could ask the many questions you have concerning how the test was developed, what it purportedly measures, who will be administering it and interpreting the results, who will see the them and how they will be used. You could even ask the employer why he's using a personality assessment for hiring purposes in the first place.
But what you could do in theory and what you should do in reality are two very different things.
"When you're applying for a job, you have to remember that someone else is probably applying for it too," says Josh Pierce, an account executive with financial-planning firm Leon Rousso and Associates.
"If you gripe about a test that gives an accurate blueprint of a candidate and the other person doesn't, I think we all know who will get the job," says Pierce, who took a personality test when he interviewed at the firm in late 2005. "You have to have the confidence that the employer is ethical and does not use the negative traits as a bias against you."
Pierce was fortunate in that regard. Leon Rousso, the company's founder, had a straightforward, laudable goal in using a personality test as part of the selection process: He was simply doing all he could to hire the best-fitting candidate for the job for everyone's benefit.
"In my mind, I'm hiring someone for life," Rousso says. "Josh has been with me now for over six months and is working out as I had hoped . The bottom line, in my opinion, is that he will become a better employee and associate, and hopefully, I will become a better leader and mentor as a result of this additional aspect of the hiring process."
Find a Middle Ground
Fair enough, but that probably doesn't erase the concerns you have about taking a personality test as part of applying for a job, nor should it. It's only natural -- and wise -- to have questions. The trick is finding the middle ground between the path of least resistance (taking the test and keeping quiet) and the path of, well, greatest resistance (refusing to take the test), especially when the latter path might effectively end your candidacy.
"Remember another thing the company is assessing is your reaction to the idea of taking the test," says Ben Dattner, principal of Dattner Consulting, an organizational effectiveness firm. "If you seem overly defensive or paranoid or whatever, they'll wonder about that."
Be Wise with Your Questions
If you have a question or two, ask away, says Kathleen Shotkoski, vice president of human resources and training for Securities America, a financial-services company. Just be sure to "ask the question in a polite and professional manner," she advises. "Start with something like, It seems like assessments are being used by a lot of employers these days. What prompted you to start using one for this job?' From this one question, you can get a wealth of information, and if you don't feel comfortable with the answer, ask more questions."
At worst, you'll discover that the job and the company just aren't a good match for you, especially if you sense that the employer is quickly becoming annoyed by just a few straightforward questions.
"Ultimately, questions may not only give you insight about the test, which is important, but also about the culture of the company, which is more important," says Joe Schmitt, chair of the Labor and Employment Practice Group at law firm Halleland Lewis Nilan & Johnson. "Do you really want to work somewhere that is going to be upset with you if you ask questions about their test?"
An interview is a personality test. Basically, they are trying to reinvent the wheel.
Many many personality tests are pure junk. Of if they have any value at all that value is rarely gleaned from some HR person reviewing and interpreting the results. They might as well as you what astronomical sign you are.
Back in the 1970 and early 80's did personally tests, IQ tests, interviews, etc.
Look, if you don't like the way they do it, stop looking to work for someone else, put your back into it and start your own business.
Garde la Foi, mes amis! Nous nous sommes les sauveurs de la République! Maintenant et Toujours!
(Keep the Faith, my friends! We are the saviors of the Republic! Now and Forever!)
LonePalm, le Républicain du verre cassé (The Broken Glass Republican)
Nearly 20 years ago I went for a job interview. Part of the interview was with a psychologist. Amazingly enough I got the job.
I dont go to work to make friends and if I do, thats a bonus.
As far as "personality tests" go , the vast majority of them are used to weed out people with high IQ's (defined as anything above 104 which is average, 100, plus the standard deviation of the test) and any initiative ,, they're looking for reliable sheep who follow orders and don't think too much ,, if you're having trouble getting hired you're probably looking at the wrong companies...
Go on welfare....
By far, the most accurate means of telling if an applicant will be successful is to know his IQ. Since that's been forbidden, employers need roundabout methods of telling who's going to be worth hiring.
But they are always very pretty people, aren't they? Nice suits, nice hair...and that's about where it ends.
I took a personality test for a position and found it possibly more instructive for me than for the company. The result, I was made a nice offer, but from the test I realized that was not the kind of work I wanted and I turned it down.
In the box labeled personality, just check "yes" and move on to the next question.
I hired a girl that pulled an unloaded weapon on her office partners.
Wish I had such a personality test
An "ethical" employer will not use negative personality traits against an applicant?
What employer WOULD NOT use negative personality traits against a job seeker? Sheesh! What am I missing here?
When I worked in the nuke industry, we had to take a personality test. I believe it was an NRC regulation. I guess they don't want nuts to be running around a nuke plant.
One question on the test -- "Do you believe you are Jesus Christ". I kid you not.
Sorry, off point there...anyways, one of the reasons for these tests is, of course, to justify the existence of the HR department. The other reason, which people never realize, is that the employer is "setting the tone" with the interview process. Indeed, one of the purposes of the interview process is to let the applicant know what the company is about. In that regard, you should pay attention to what a potential employer is trying to tell you.
"Frankly, HR people rarely do anything useful, unless making everyone else stressed out and angry is considered useful these days."
Double-Dog Dittos to that! IN-human Resource people are not there to help you, but to enforce layer upon layer of PC crap and bureaucracy.
The ugly truth is that lawyers, the PC Police, the ACLU, etc have made it damn near impossible to fire someone these days. If you do wish to terminate someone, the process is lengthy and often painstaking, mainly due to fears of retallitory litigation, unemployment hearings, and mountains of paperwork.
Thus, we're a lot more selective in who we hire. Managers need to be absolutely certain that the person they're hiring is the best "long term" fit for the position. Long gone are the days when you could hire and fire at will, for any reason, and not face legal repurcussions.
We use a couple of different assessments in our hiring processes, depending on the level of the position. By and large, the assessments serve us well. They're written in such a way that you can tell if the person answering is simply telling you what you want to hear, or if they're truly being candid. It will ask the same question in a few different ways to glean a truthful response. We face it every day, some people can interview very well and tell you exactly what you want to hear (if I have one more person say they're a "motivated self-starter" I'll scream), but turn out to be complete disasters once they've been hired.
These assessments serve as an effective way to ferret through the BS. They also give you ammunition to justify your decisions should someone claim you discriminated against them during the hiring process.
Do these outsourced companies keep this info for all the world to see? It requires my name/addresss etc... to take the profile.
Perfect job for Obama (empy suit)
The PC police in corporate HR are trying to label you from the git-go... and if you don't fit their 'flavor-of-the-month'... see ya' later.
No harm, no foul.
Did she lose her partnership?
I had to take a personality test once as part of an interview process. The test had insane questions which asked for level of agreement/disagreement, such as, "I am usually comfortable on the edge of a ledge." I'm serious, that was one of the questions.
There were other questions like that, which made me feel like they were going to issue me a high-powered rifle and a copy of the President's schedule. I had to double check that the company I had applied to was not called "Parallax".
After a great deal of delay, they offered me the job and a very nice salary. I declined and told them the test was the reason.
Heck, I had to take a lie detector test for a job 30 years ago. I don't trust lie detector tests after that. It indicated I lied on a question (theft related) I told the truth on and indicated I told the truth on a question I lied big time on (drug question).
Personally, I have no objections to taking a personality test, but I will not take a lie detector test. First, I've never known a lie detector administrator that has as clean a criminal history as I do, and second, everyone, and I mean everyone, has done things they'd just as soon no one else know about. I've turned down four jobs because they either demanded a lie detector test or demanded I sign a form agreeing to take one if they told me to.
It is the new diversity tool. I work in a group that has more highly driven people than the other personalities combined. If you want to see some fun, put two strong personalities on the opposite side of a topic.
I see no problem with a personality test. The rest of the run-around you describe is ridiculous, though.
Then why do they need HR departments?
To find if she was a psycho (pulling a weapon on people)? Or to find if she is a sloppy person who only does a half-assed job (the unloaded weapon)?
Most people I know who have taken these tests go in with the attitude of "how would a person this company wants answer" not "how would I answer".
A friend worked at a small company for a few years when the CEO decided that everyone needed to take a personality test. He and his office parter told the boss they wouldn't take them because they thought the test was a waste of time and were far too busy with real work. The test quickly disappeared.
So-called "personality tests" measure the subject's willingness to go along with stupid bull$#!^, nothing else.
"Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached." -Manuel II Paleologus
Would have saved a call to 911.
That sounds like some of the creation/evolution threads here.
"I hired a girl that pulled an unloaded weapon on her office partners.
Wish I had such a personality test."
To determine whether she was likely to pull a gun on co-workers or to determine whether she was foolish enough to point an unloaded weapon at someone?
These personality tests have been given for years. I was an administrative assistant in HR twenty years ago and I frequently gave these types of tests, as well as IQ tests. If I remember correctly the personality test is commonly used for sales positions.
Also, the person giving the test might not be the one who evaluates the tests. But, they will likely notify others if you attitude regarding the test is hostile.
Some of you people are talking out of your a$$es.
You don't know a thing about personality tests.
There are some very good ones out there. And they can make great predictors as to whether or not a candidate will be successful in a particular job in a particular company.
You don't FAIL these tests. They look at your results and compare them to the results of successful employees in the company.
Some of you may have had the 'pleasure' of working for a company where you, your personal style, your working style just didn't fit the culture. It's not a failure, and it doens't mean that there's anything wrong with you. You just don't fit.
That it was the selection process should be about. Finding out if you and the company are a match.