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What If Employers Want You to Take a Personality Test? Are Employers Going Too Far?
http://wlb.monster.com/articles/personalitytest/?WT.mc_n=rss2005_DMM ^

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?"


TOPICS: Business/Economy
KEYWORDS: humanresources
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I have been job hunting for a few months now (I have years of sales experience) and they have all seemed to want you to go through this 3 month journey of just about everything. My most recent experience has gone like this and all have been similiar: Mountains of paperwork/applications/questionaires,background check, criminal check etc... 2 phone interviews, I have been through 4 interviews with numerous questions and several interviewers, a day in the field with an existing representative, lunch with all the other representatives, a company networking function on and on and on. Now they want me to take a silly personality profile. I have had just about enough. Is this normal these days? What's next genetic testing, maybe a dna sample for hiring purposes? Maybe bank statements, a copy of my family tree? I am so sick of this. What do you think of this? Is privacy gone? why do employers think they need all this to sell their product?
1 posted on 11/28/2006 6:56:40 AM PST by freepinglurker
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To: freepinglurker

An interview is a personality test. Basically, they are trying to reinvent the wheel.


2 posted on 11/28/2006 6:58:29 AM PST by Brilliant
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To: freepinglurker

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.


3 posted on 11/28/2006 7:00:37 AM PST by rhombus
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To: freepinglurker

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.


4 posted on 11/28/2006 7:00:40 AM PST by edcoil (Reality doesn't say much - doesn't need too)
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To: freepinglurker
Welcome to Free Republic.

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)

5 posted on 11/28/2006 7:01:35 AM PST by LonePalm (Commander and Chef)
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To: freepinglurker
This is a result of companies treating their people like resources (thus human resources) instead of people. Such companies are frequently not good ones to work for (although there are exceptions).

When I was in college, I tried to get a summer job at RadioShack and they required a minimum of two interviews. After the second one they wanted another and I just said forget it and took summer classes instead.
6 posted on 11/28/2006 7:01:42 AM PST by JamesP81 (If you have to ask permission from Uncle Sam, then it's not a right)
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To: freepinglurker

Nearly 20 years ago I went for a job interview. Part of the interview was with a psychologist. Amazingly enough I got the job.


7 posted on 11/28/2006 7:03:13 AM PST by cripplecreek (If stupidity got us into this mess, then why can't it get us out?)
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To: freepinglurker

I dont go to work to make friends and if I do, thats a bonus.


8 posted on 11/28/2006 7:03:25 AM PST by ▀udda▀udd (7 days - 7 ways Guero ╗ with a floating, shifting, ever changing persona....)
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To: freepinglurker

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...


9 posted on 11/28/2006 7:03:32 AM PST by Neidermeyer
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To: rhombus
Of if they have any value at all that value is rarely gleaned from some HR person reviewing and interpreting the results.

Frankly, HR people rarely do anything useful, unless making everyone else stressed out and angry is considered useful these days.
10 posted on 11/28/2006 7:03:50 AM PST by JamesP81 (If you have to ask permission from Uncle Sam, then it's not a right)
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To: freepinglurker

Go on welfare....


11 posted on 11/28/2006 7:05:00 AM PST by dakine
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To: freepinglurker

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.


12 posted on 11/28/2006 7:06:18 AM PST by D.P.Roberts
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To: JamesP81
Frankly, HR people rarely do anything useful, unless making everyone else stressed out and angry is considered useful these days.

But they are always very pretty people, aren't they? Nice suits, nice hair...and that's about where it ends.

13 posted on 11/28/2006 7:06:19 AM PST by rhombus
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To: freepinglurker

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.


14 posted on 11/28/2006 7:07:20 AM PST by YellowRoseofTx
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To: freepinglurker

In the box labeled personality, just check "yes" and move on to the next question.


15 posted on 11/28/2006 7:07:29 AM PST by durasell (!)
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To: Brilliant

I hired a girl that pulled an unloaded weapon on her office partners.

Wish I had such a personality test


16 posted on 11/28/2006 7:08:34 AM PST by Fighting Irish (My opinions have been forged by where I've walked - not by who I hear on the radio)
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To: freepinglurker
"You have to have the confidence that the employer is ethical and does not use the negative traits as a bias against you."

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?

17 posted on 11/28/2006 7:08:44 AM PST by Mr. Brightside
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To: freepinglurker
Back in the dot com boom days, one of the uber-cool companies gave me a personality test - I failed.

But I'm still in business, and they're not!

Bottom line, if you need the job, go ahead and take it. It's generally meaningless HR drivel.
18 posted on 11/28/2006 7:08:46 AM PST by frankenMonkey (Are there any men left in Washington, or are they all cowards?)
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To: Brilliant; All
The ab-so-effen-loot-ly BEST reason to take advantage of what the United States of America has to offer, and START YOUR OWN BUSINESS.
19 posted on 11/28/2006 7:12:49 AM PST by Gideon Reader ("The quiet gentleman sitting in the corner sipping Kenya AA and enjoying his Stan Getz CD's".)
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To: frankenMonkey

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.


20 posted on 11/28/2006 7:14:21 AM PST by Londo Molari
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To: Londo Molari

One question on the test -- "Do you believe you are Jesus Christ". I kid you not.


21 posted on 11/28/2006 7:15:20 AM PST by Londo Molari
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To: freepinglurker
My undergrad degree is in Industrial Psychology. I helped professors develop employment tests, particularly for police and fire departments (of which I took more than I can recall...I could probably ace them since I know the parameters they are testing for).

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.

22 posted on 11/28/2006 7:16:05 AM PST by ContemptofCourt
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To: JamesP81

"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.


23 posted on 11/28/2006 7:17:06 AM PST by Polyxene (For where God built a church, there the Devil would also build a chapel - Martin Luther)
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To: freepinglurker

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.


24 posted on 11/28/2006 7:17:20 AM PST by ItsOurTimeNow ("All that hath life and breath, come now with praises before Him.")
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Comment #25 Removed by Moderator

To: frankenMonkey

Sweet!

Do these outsourced companies keep this info for all the world to see? It requires my name/addresss etc... to take the profile.


26 posted on 11/28/2006 7:18:22 AM PST by freepinglurker
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To: rhombus

Perfect job for Obama (empy suit)


27 posted on 11/28/2006 7:18:24 AM PST by freepinglurker
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To: Londo Molari

Good grief


28 posted on 11/28/2006 7:18:31 AM PST by freepinglurker
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To: Brilliant
I had a telephone interview with Gallup recently... the whole half-hour was ALL personality-profiling. Not one question was asked pertaining to my background, skills or the responsibilities I would be assuming. After 20 minutes of this crap, I decided I wouldn't persue the position further.

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.

29 posted on 11/28/2006 7:18:41 AM PST by johnny7 ("We took a hell of a beating." -'Vinegar Joe' Stilwell)
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To: Londo Molari
One question on the test -- "Do you believe you are Jesus Christ". I kid you not.

Damn! I knew I answered that one wrong.
30 posted on 11/28/2006 7:20:01 AM PST by HaveHadEnough
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Comment #31 Removed by Moderator

To: Fighting Irish
I hired a girl that pulled an unloaded weapon on her office partners.

No harm, no foul.

Did she lose her partnership?

32 posted on 11/28/2006 7:21:15 AM PST by HIDEK6
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To: rhombus

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.


33 posted on 11/28/2006 7:21:51 AM PST by linda_22003
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To: freepinglurker

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).


34 posted on 11/28/2006 7:21:54 AM PST by dynachrome ("Where am I? Where am I going? Why am I in a handbasket?")
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To: freepinglurker
Hiring processes are currently designed around two paradigms, neither of which is hiring the most productive person. One is defensive, keeping from getting sued. The other is trying to make sure you aren't a troublemaker. Hiring someone now is almost like adopting them. It's very difficult to let someone go, and companies are worried about people faking injuries for workers comp, etc.

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.

35 posted on 11/28/2006 7:22:16 AM PST by Richard Kimball (I get no respect. I went to the proctologist and he put his finger in my mouth - Rodney Dangerfield)
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To: freepinglurker

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.


36 posted on 11/28/2006 7:23:14 AM PST by ican'tbelieveit (Join FreeRepublic's Folding@Home team (Team# 36120), KW:Folding)
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To: freepinglurker
I wonder if HR or the employer or the boss do not want to take ultimate responsibility for hiring someone. If a potential employee takes the test and is not 'hireable' then they don't have to worry. If a potential employee takes the test and is hireable and then does not work out the boss or HR can say, "...but they took the test and it showed them is hireable, I don't know what happened."

Think so?

37 posted on 11/28/2006 7:23:15 AM PST by zeaal (SPREAD TRUTH!)
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Comment #38 Removed by Moderator

To: freepinglurker

I see no problem with a personality test. The rest of the run-around you describe is ridiculous, though.


39 posted on 11/28/2006 7:24:11 AM PST by Sloth (The GOP is to DemonRats in politics as Michael Jackson is to Jeffrey Dahmer in babysitting.)
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To: edcoil

Amen.


40 posted on 11/28/2006 7:25:54 AM PST by Tulane
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To: zeaal

Then why do they need HR departments?


41 posted on 11/28/2006 7:26:33 AM PST by freepinglurker
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To: Fighting Irish
Wish I had such a personality test

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.

42 posted on 11/28/2006 7:27:37 AM PST by KarlInOhio (Hey Kerry, What part of showing heels and ass is a winning strategy in Iraq?)
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To: freepinglurker

So-called "personality tests" measure the subject's willingness to go along with stupid bull$#!^, nothing else.


43 posted on 11/28/2006 7:30:34 AM PST by steve-b (It's hard to be religious when certain people don't get struck by lightning.)
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To: freepinglurker
If they're trying to weed out sociopaths, that won't work. Dishonest candidates just lie their way breezily through a personality test. Conscientious people will object to certain questions, not because they have anything to hide but because there are certain things that ought to be no one's business, if they have no bearing on the job one is asked to perform.

"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

44 posted on 11/28/2006 7:32:03 AM PST by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives On In My Heart Forever)
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To: KarlInOhio
I guess I would have like to know was she the type of person that might actually LOAD her weapon before flipping out at her desk.

Would have saved a call to 911.

45 posted on 11/28/2006 7:32:27 AM PST by Fighting Irish (My opinions have been forged by where I've walked - not by who I hear on the radio)
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To: ican'tbelieveit
If you want to see some fun, put two strong personalities on the opposite side of a topic.

That sounds like some of the creation/evolution threads here.

46 posted on 11/28/2006 7:33:57 AM PST by KarlInOhio (Hey Kerry, What part of showing heels and ass is a winning strategy in Iraq?)
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To: goldstategop
If they're trying to weed out sociopaths, that won't work. Dishonest candidates just lie their way breezily through a personality test.


47 posted on 11/28/2006 7:35:58 AM PST by KarlInOhio (Hey Kerry, What part of showing heels and ass is a winning strategy in Iraq?)
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To: Fighting Irish

"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?


48 posted on 11/28/2006 7:36:43 AM PST by No Truce With Kings (The opinions expressed are mine! Mine! MINE! All Mine!)
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To: freepinglurker

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.


49 posted on 11/28/2006 7:38:26 AM PST by jamaly (I evacuate early and often!)
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To: All

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.





50 posted on 11/28/2006 7:39:01 AM PST by Madeleine Ward
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