IT Employment

Employee personality tests--what's the point?


I once wrote an article for TechRepublic in which I discussed types of employee assessment tests and how they’re used. I got an eyeful from responders on that one, most of whom deplored the use of such tests. A lot of good points were made against them, including one from TechRepublic member Worker_Bee who called them a form of a "psychological strip search." He pointed out something that I hadn't considered: 

"Once your manager has your test results in hand what will prevent him from using them to manipulate you? Let's see, Joe here has a confidence problem so I will constantly remind him that he is lucky to have a job at all and he will be grateful for that zero percent raise." 

A good many managers responded, however, saying that they find the test results useful and would never manipulate someone based on the information. Those points aside, the problem I have with these tests is that they themselves so easy to manipulate that I question their accuracy. If you're looking for a job and the test asks you to answer true or false to the question, "I get extremely impatient when things don't go my way" are you really going to answer "True" even if it is true? 

You can tell there are not-very-well-hidden goals in these tests, that the same questions or statements are repeated in varying iterations to try to establish a behavior pattern. If you really wanted to mess with someone, and if a possible job wasn't on the line, you could answer differently for each of those statements. But then the test would reveal, I suppose, that you've got some kind of multiple personality disorder. 

 Sometimes however, you may contradict yourself unconsciously. For example, one statement may be "I like my environment to be neat and tidy." Then four statements later it will be "My working area is very neat and tidy." OK, this won't work with me because I'd LOVE for my environment to be neat and tidy (which would call for an answer of True for the first instance) but it's not neat and tidy because I'm too lazy to keep it that way (which, of course, would cause me to answer the second statement with False).  

I also don’t know how to answer the statements that ask how others see you, like "People think of me as highly effective." Well, who really knows how they are perceived by others? And what does that prove anyway unless the test actually asks those people you know how they perceive you in order to compare the two answers? What does it mean if you think people see you as effective but in reality they think you're a wimp of the highest order? Does it mean you're delusional or just eternally optimistic? 

And don't get me started on the effect of human moods. Let's say on one morning you get up and your spouse tells you she's leaving you, your dog bites you on the way out the door, and then you get caught in a traffic jam for an hour. Wouldn't your answers differ if instead you'd gotten up that morning, signed your child's straight-A report card, found $50 in the pocket of your coat, and got to work in record time? You have to wonder.

About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

47 comments
mgordon
mgordon

In response to your question: ["I like my environment to be neat and tidy." Then four statements later it will be "My working area is very neat and tidy." OK, this won't work with me because I'd LOVE for my environment to be neat and tidy (which would call for an answer of True for the first instance) but it's not neat and tidy because I'm too lazy to keep it that way (which, of course, would cause me to answer the second statement with False). ] This is not conflicted. A pattern of wishing for things but not actually having them helps establish the "N" axis on the MBTI, it is what "N" personalities *do*. They are visionary, and once they have a vision, you then give it to the more concrete "S" person who doesn't wish for much but is a "doer". "N" types do not get as bored with endless helpdesk and server administration as "S" types. Can you manipulate people with this information? Of course, but there's nothing magical about it, people manipulate others all the time. Personality typing merely improves efficiency. Ultimately only one thing manipulates a person and that is making him or her happy -- does anyone here have a problem with that? The MBTI and similar tools simply make it easier to make someone happy and help explain why some combinations of personalities just aren't going to work.

Todder
Todder

While I do not know if it is a personality test per se, I have used the Strength Finders Assessment Test before and I have found it to be very informative and insightful. I did not use it as a function of the hiring process, but as a tool when I started a new job and wanted to get a feel of the team I had inherited. I very rarely received a negative comment regarding the test or the results and many individuals thought that the results were the what they viewed as their strengths, along with some unexpected surprises. There are no negative aspects of this test, just what your answers say about your top strengths. I myself found that the results were very close to what I thought were my strengths. I did learn that one my four strongest strengths was Ideation, which didn't make a lot of sense until I read the results more and it helped me understand that a strength of mine is the energy I get coming up with ideas, making connections, etc...

a.techno.geek
a.techno.geek

James, there is as in the personality test/assessment, is no right or wrong answer. You might say the question just is. But, I do think there is a problem with you when people have a difference of opinion. The reason there is a problem with a difference of opinion, "You seem to be ranting." Is this how James treats his charges if they dare disagree with him? You say they rant? And there are sometimes points worth ranting over. What I think the young lady was trying to get at is that to use tests as a begin all, end all is as you like to use the word absurd. Let me tell you a little about my background James. I have been at this IT stuff ever since "Unit Record Equipment" at the age 16 years. I cut my teeth on an IBM 360/20. I am now 55 years old, do the math. Also James at that tender age I was helping 35 and 40 year olds to understand what they needed to know with the unit record equipment and the IBM. So you can see that I lead by example, even at that age. I have been around the block more then a couple of times. I have did what I have asked others to do on a project. I am an on hands type, not just school theory. I was never a "junior" in anything because I never needed anyone to hold my hand to do any job. I just have this innate ability to know what to do (plus I carry around a note pad and pencil) with the proper instruction, book or manual. I also have a question? Isn't it stealing time from the employer when you are on here during business hours? What would that say about your personality? Woe be tied if I caught one of my people doing this during business hours? Are you saying do as I say, not as I do. I lead by example, not because I am the boss, but because I lead.

Robbi_IA
Robbi_IA

I was once passed up on a position because of an answer on a personality test. I had just come from a management position where I discovered several employees were stealing from the company. The question? "True or False - If people know they are not going to be caught, they will be more likely to steal from their employer". I said True - I had just experienced it first hand. I didn't mean I would steal - I meant my employees had. But the test scorer didn't know what I had just been through, and the question kept me from getting the job.

No User
No User

WOW!!! I didn't think I would ever see an article like this at Tech Republic. It's about time!!! The bottom line is folks who need to give personality tests should not be in the hiring process. In fact they should not be in a position of power. Symbolism over substance. Just like money, power should be put in the hands of those who know what to do with it. The plethora of dehumanizing counter productive nonsense that has been dreamed up over the past 60 years is just incredible. If you don?t have a clue the next best thing is to dream up some nonsense to use in place of a clue. When you promote a nitwit to a position of power and or (daddy's little boy or girl) inherits the company they always seem to take the position that the disasters that they create are the result of anyone else but them. So they create nonsense like the HR dept and personality tests to weed out those nasty critters when all that is needed is for them to take a good long look in the mirror at the moron who screwed up the company. Look folks, for quite sometime now companies have merely been investments and no longer a business of substance that stands for something meaningful or special. If it were not then they simply would not clobber us with all that manure they keep shoveling in our faces.

ProblemSolverSolutionSeeker
ProblemSolverSolutionSeeker

If you read a lot, study a lot, observe a lot, you will see through these tests as a formality to help companies feel good about who they are hiring. And, yes, you will feel like it is a waste of your time. It is just another tool to help managers make better decisions. I have always been a great test taker - if the job hinges on the test - I will get the job. It has amazed me over the years how easy it is to break these tests. Like any other tool, these tests can be abused. Does that mean they should not be used at all? Definitely, steps should be taken to curtail the abuse. Well, I could write a book, but gotta go.

a.techno.geek
a.techno.geek

I once did a career assessment test (part of the requirement for the college I went to). I told the councilor that was administering the career assessment test that I already knew what my assessment would come back and say about me, that I would come out having prediction toward computer work or engineering. Her response was it was impossible to manipulate the assessment test, I told her to wait and see. When it came back, it came back that I was suited toward engineering or computer. She told me she had thought it was impossible, but being as I had predicted a head of time she asked me how I did it. I explained, that all I had done was answer any and all questions that had a mechanical, logic, numeric theme to them with a positive response, anything that was not was answered with low to moderate response to it. What she didn't know though was that she was working with genius material, me!

ByteBin-20472379147970077837000261110898
ByteBin-20472379147970077837000261110898

There's no way someone can get to know what another person is really like from a piece of paper. You have to INTERACT with that person for many months before you really get to know the person well enough to make any assessment of who they are and what they can do. Though there are some people that are so predictable you could tell on the first interview. No test needed. I've taken one of these tests for a job at a restaurant one time. They were looking for a dish washer of all things! It was a family restaurant, not even a posh one. I found it strange but I was very desparate for a job. I never got called for an interview, even. I've had to take these tests in other areas too. Most I run into were multiple choice questions where you were to pick one choice out of several, and there was no "none of the above" and/or "all of the above" choices. And the remaining choises didn't even come close to applying to what I thought or who I am. And you weren't allowed to skip a question. So you had to put down something that was "the closest" when none applied. This means you're basically forced to lie and give a false answer which will be seen as "correct" by those reviewing it. You can't put in your own answer or "doesn't apply" even. So all they see is what you put. And that was wrong because there was no choice that suited you. I have decided that if they need a 'personality test' from someone, they are just trying to screw with my head and I don't need to work for them. If I did, I might get screwed with even more and who knows it would lead to a very bad situation. I found it best to prevent it before it starts: Just Say No. There are lots of other places that will get to know the person for who they really are, not try to make them admit to something they are not.

RFink
RFink

Everytime I had to take one of these I would always score in the extreme areas of the tests. My secret is simple, answer the questions as written, make no assumptions. You'll mess up the tests everytime. I lost respect for these tests.

Johnny Bee
Johnny Bee

I'm not going to name any of the "profiling" tests I have completed. having served the government, and several high ranked corporate environments I have been subjected to several of these tests. Some of them do ask the obvious questions about your reaction to stimuli. Other tests, the ones that aer designed to reveal your personality rather than your self-perceived reactions are a much better gauge of a person's overall personality. My company uses these tests to assist employees in their development. Sometimes that development takes them away rom the company, but that decision is always left to the employee. The employee is also taught how to interpret the results of other people, which we encourage others to post publicly (although, not all do, and are not penalized for it - some people are simply more private-minded than others). The company NEVER takes it upon themself to publicly display anything pertaining to the employee themself. In many cases, this understanding of your fellow worker's traits helps pave the way to better team work since you begin to understand the motivation of some people and what interests them, drives them, and how they may react if thrwon a "curve-ball". That is the altruistic purpose of these tests at my office. They are never used in the hiring process as we take the stance of "hire for attitude, train for aptitude"'. Helping our employees understand themselves and each other is part of that aptitude.

madtechgirl
madtechgirl

I think those tests are easy to manipulate. It's easy to tell what type of answers they want for a sales position vs entry level technician, etc. I actually answered one honestly and the company's shrink accused me of duplicity because my interests consistently were down the center of her scale. Because my primary interest is art - she decided I needed to pursue my gift rather than work in business and IT. She obviously doesn't understand IT. Needless to say I didn't get the job and I still see that after one year they are still looking for qualified people. As a manager I can't imagine using a personality test. It's like references, who's going to be stupid enough to list someone who will give them a bad reference?

RFink
RFink

Why is it "stealing time" if I post here during business hours but it's not stealing time if I'm working at 2 AM? I have a decent boss who understands this. One of my previous bosses didn't. His favorite quote was "You're salaried, time has no meaning." If that's the case then I can't steal it, can I?

JamesRL
JamesRL

I have a great relationship with my team, though it took time to develop. My team educates me all the time. I don't impose things on them in general, I ask them for their thoughts, ask them to make plans, or I propose something and ask for their inputs. Ever do any training on situational leadership? It bascially states that there are four leadership styles and it isn't a question of using the one that suits your personality, its a question of using the one thats appropriate for the situation. In other words, I might delegate a network diagram to my networking guru, because I know he knows what to do, but I might have to micromanage a budget submission from the same person because they have never done it before, as one example. I'm not a school theoritician, I am a 22 year veteran of IT. I'm not sure whether I should respond to your last question because frankly it sounds more rhetorical to me - you seem to have made up your mind already. But just for fun.... I'm not stealing time from my employer while I am here. A) I am salaried and work far more than the nominal 40 hours a week B) I am measured on results. I know for a fact that some of my employers come to this site during business hours. I know because I send them links. All my employees are mandated to keep up with technology given the nature of the business. So do as I say but not as I do? Not a chance. If you read my posts disspassionately, you will see that I don't disagree with the original poster that personality tests are not a good basis for a hiring decision - my point was and is that they may provide some valid information, but they aren't the only means to do so. Like I said in another post, I don't miss them now that my company doesn't do them, because I am a fairly good interviewer and the company provides training in the same techniques I use to managers. James

JamesRL
JamesRL

It might be, but did someone actually come out and tell you that? Like I said in a previous post, the answers in the one I used (McQuaig) are not meant to be reviewed individually. Instead, there are multiple questions to find the same information, and its the combination of answers thats provides the response. The response to that question is not to find out whether or not you are a thief. Its meant to judge your perspective on people and trust. I would encourage people to go online and take the myers briggs tests - they help you understand yourself better. I've only seen those used in development, not hiring settings. James James

mgordon
mgordon

" Just like money, power should be put in the hands of those who know what to do with it." Any person that has the power to give you power still has the power. Grok?

NOW LEFT TR
NOW LEFT TR

what they want you to think. Sorry PSSS, this is the number one. The tests are designed to make you think yor exact post. I could tell you more, but I to gotta go.

JamesRL
JamesRL

Much as we might like to spend months getting to know someone, employers can't afford that. If I had just said no, I would not be employed where I am, a big software company, and with nice bonuses and steady promotion. The personality test is a tool. I only gave it once, and I certainly didn't give it as much weight as the interviews. I doubt I would ever use it to decide anything. I don't miss it now that we don't use it. But I wouldn't hold it against an employer to use it. The way we used it, is not to see if you fit some mold. Its to see if you have the temperment to "fit in" with the other team members. The questions overlap. Answering one question strangely because you didn't understand the question should not significantly skew the results. I would never use it for a dishwasher. But at my company we provide intensive training for 6 months and it costs a great deal. We want to make sure we have a good hire before we make an offer. James

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

On the last test that I was given there where more blank questions than ones answered. I refused to answer any incriminating questions that had been placed on the paper. Things like [b]Q[/b]I use Illegal Drugs [b]Possible Answers[/b] All the Time, Occasionally Rarely. So I placed a NA beside that Question and did the same with many more that where all along the same lines. If they had of had another option of Never I could have answered the questions easily but when the person giving the test claimed that the correct answer should be Rarely I hit them with no that implies that I take Illegal Drugs and I'm unwilling to say that as it is a lie. Then I started to pack up to leave and she asked what I thought I was doing. My reply was that I didn't really want to work with a bunch of self confessed criminals and I was leaving to think over my options as to who I should be working for. Then the Management had to tell the woman from HR that I already had the job and to shred the papers. :D Col

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

I took one and got turned because I wasn't enough of a yes man. Wouldn't want to work for a set of pussies who use that for a recruiting criteria. Glad I found out before I up sticks and relocated.

NOW LEFT TR
NOW LEFT TR

to give a bad reference in the UK. All you can do if now refuse to give the reference. This then is taken as a bad (but empty) reference.

Dr_Zinj
Dr_Zinj

Number one is the test is useless if the reviewer doesn't know how they are supposed to be used. Number two, if any of you are familiar with the term 'poison employee', you'll know why they have this test. There are some people who are so negative that they bring everyone else's productivity down. Admittedly, most of us can spot them without a test. However, the test gives you an 'objective' means of identifying them for personnel action. Number three, any business where a large portion of the business involves interpersonal interaction, compatibility can be a major factor in how productive the business is. I know of a hospital that encouraged a large percentage of their employees to seek jobs elsewhere because of incompatibility problems. Afterwards, productivity rose approximately 20%. That's a very big deal when you have a $20M budget.

ProblemSolverSolutionSeeker
ProblemSolverSolutionSeeker

Just remembered! I expressed interest in a franchise last year. The next week, I received an email telling me show to up at such and such time at this location to take a LITERACY test. That is when I realized I was not going to buy this franchise; what other inane decisions were there going to be that I would have a hard time doing with a straight face and not openly laughing at the process? Oops, said too much.

Erudity
Erudity

Dear Madtechgirl: I used to do SAS programming. I was intrigued by the art of laying out code in such a manner that it was (a) pleasing to the eye, and (b) creative. (Okay, (c) it worked!) It was art to me. Rest assured that you are right to be interested in ART and that ART relates directly to business, especially IT business. Who else will be called upon to imagine the future for how technology will support or grow business? Who else will be called upon to imagine how business models might change and technology will be the net under that change? It's you. It's your inherent understanding of ART that allows you to truly add customer value. Fire the shrink before she shrinks the staff of all of its creative spirits! I am an artist, whose father is an artist, whose brother and sister are artists, and I wove my art into every programming and analysis assignment I ever had. Be what you are and your customers will love you! Eruditie.

BillmanL
BillmanL

When I was hired by my previous employer I had to take one of those personality tests. My favorite question was "Who was a better President, Lincoln or Washington?" So if I say Washington am I a racist because I didn't choose Lincoln since he emancipated the slaves during the Civil War? If I choose Lincoln am I unpatriotic for not choosing our first President? I think these tests can be easily manipulated by smart individuals. Another favorite of the female employees was the "Do you prefer tall women question".

JamesRL
JamesRL

I had to answer one of those tests to join my current employer. And as a manager I had to use them, at least in my first hire. The tests I used were of the "no wrong answer" personality type. And frankly I did review the results, but they didn't tell me anything I hadn't already discovered through a thorough interview process. I suppose if you were an inexperienced or sloppy interviewer, it might reveal something to you. Company shrink? How weird. I have worked in a couple of huge corporations and never seen one in use. I did do a "management assessment" at one company, which was conducted by an outside company. It was a series of workshops where each participant worked with 'actors' on certain scnearios, and a bunch of consultants and shrinks reviewed the video tapes. I think I did better than my peers, but at the same time my bosses had higher expectations. I still think one of the scenarios they criticised me on was sunk by an actor not by my actions. As for references, I have called people I know at firms where a candidate has worked to get an independant assessment. In one case I discovered, as I suspected, that the candidate lied on the resume about his duties. I had actually known the candidate many years earlier at that employer. I enjoyed calling him and asking him about his history with that employer, and I confronted him about his history on his resume. He denied anything wrong. I suggested I could clear the matter up by talking with the HR department of that company, and he suggested he would withdraw his application for the job. Its a small world after all. James

a.techno.geek
a.techno.geek

For one thing I am not your employer and I don't care what you do with their time. If a person is paying for time, then sorry you are taking time away. On the other hand if you are working on your clock (as in consultant) then that is your prerogative. Second place stick to the topic, which has to do with personality assessment tests(?) and their validity in a work environment and as to whether they are a good predictor of how people will function within the company. I say personality assessment tests don't.

No User
No User

Your statement is a contradiction of it's self! When you make a purchase you give up your money in exchange for the item. When you empower another you give up that power in exchange for the return of your time. That is the time you otherwise would have spent conducting those duties which you have now empowered unto someone else. It makes good sense to give it to someone who knows what to do with it. GROK? Additionally, It's odd that you picked just one line out of three paragraphs in which you based your response. That Leeds me to restate one of several other comments I made which may help explain your incorrect assumption. If you don?t have a clue the next best thing is to dream up some nonsense to use in place of a clue. In that case you can?t GROK!

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

I was handed a test once with lots of questions that where impossible to answer in any form. My favorite was I use Illegal Drugs with the possible answers of All the Time, Occasionally or Rarely. I placed a NA beside that question and most of the others and when the woman from HR insisted that I answer the questions and in the case of the above one that I've mentioned if I never used Illegal Drugs the answer should be Rarely my reply was that I didn't think that I wanted to work with a bunch of Self Confessed Criminals as it would adversely impact on my well known Integrity. I was attempting to walk out the door when Upper Management grabbed me and told me that as I already had the job the paper work could be forgotten about. I believe that they changed the test after that episode but to me it was unacceptable to answer that type of question, but then again that may have been the exact response that they where looking for. I just know that none of my techs had to do anything like that but as I was going in as Management it may have been a different story. Col

a.techno.geek
a.techno.geek

People in any business be it IT or any industry, to base a hire on a personality test is ridiculous. People that are hired are for the most part are somewhere between Harvey Milktoast and a Prima donna. You just have to learn to live with the tools you are given to work with (and yes workers are tools, they build a business).

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

Is a reference that just states that this person worked at such & such a place from this time till whenever they left. This means 1 of 2 things [b]A[/b] the person was excellent at their job and Headhunted so the company is dirty on them leaving of [b]B[/b] they where totally incompetent. However if there is a long time interval between the starting & finishing dates it's always option A. It also helps if you know a bit about the company who issues the paper as well because if you know that a major internal change occurred around the time that this person left you have a fairly good idea of why they left. Here in AU it's Illegal not to provide a Reference so most companies just say that this person worked in this position from this time till whenever it was that they left. With most companies who are run by Bean Counters that's all you are ever going to get. However as we live in a very small world most know what has been happening in the competition so we can make up our own minds as to why this particular person left that company. The problem only arises when you have some third party vetting your potential candidates for jobs as they in my experience are totally incompetent and try to hire the cheapest person available and they don't care if they are capable of doing the job or not because the paper works looks nice they are the one that are put forward as the preferred candidate. I see things like this as Poor Business Practices where the actual person/people involved in working with the potential new staff member are not allowed in on the interview process initially. Meaning the manager/s directly responsible here as sometimes a job overlaps 2 or more departments. The only good that it does is place a reason to have a HR Department. When I used to need new staff members I would go into the HR's office and collect all the rejected applications and find a suitable person there without a problem and generally they where someone that I either knew directly or knew of by reputation and because they where experienced that had been rejected by the HR division. Col

Too Old For IT
Too Old For IT

Most companies give the dates of employment answer to this type of question.

mgordon
mgordon

You've hit an interesting note (!) about art. I've tried my hand at pen and ink and acrylic painting; but my hands just don't do what my eyes want to see. Photography is my niche, and digital cameras (I have a Nikon D200 right now) are fantastic -- dirt cheap to operate (expensive to buy). I like classical music and 70's music -- CSN, Allman Brothers, CCR. I also program in "C" which benefits from elegant visual structure. It can be made deliberately cryptic but even that is a weird type of art -- see the "Obfuscated C contest".

madtechgirl
madtechgirl

Thank you for that. You're absolutely right. When I was hiring people to train as programmers I looked for artists especially musicians who can read sheet music. Because they were usually people who had that combination of art and logic and puzzle-solving. Developers are creative, that's how we keep coming up with new technology.

Too Old For IT
Too Old For IT

Actually, the emancipation proclamation was less about freeing the slaves, and more about keeping Canada and Britain out of the war on the side of the Confederacy. Both would have rather bought cotton from the South without the overhead of running it through the northern duty-collectors, but found themselves in a quandry regarding being against freeing slaves. (That and the South had better looking officer's uniforms.)

Vijayant Vashistha
Vijayant Vashistha

It depends on type of company.. You need personality test for companies serving in customer care or dealing with public. But if a company deals in software development then you don?t need any personality test. It will be good for coder he/she think like Lincoln or Washington?.both had new thoughts and were creative .. Same thing goes with coder no matter to whom he follow but he/she can come out with some good output if they are serious more about there work compare to thoughts!!! Isn?t it???

mgordon
mgordon

I encountered the MBTI personality type indicator in the Navy. It wasn't emphasized much since it is more of a research tool than a management tool, and the oddity that "E" types give it no credence -- that's one of the marks of an "E" (extravert). Most good managers are extraverts, they need to be since their focus needs to be on "other people". Cubicle geeks are, by nature, introverts. Deviate from this simple plan at your peril. To *stay* what you are your whole life is rather boring, so cubicle geeks need to break out of the cube eventually, and ESTJ managers should spend a bit of time in the cubes to appreciate the grueling drudge that is putting butter on everyone's bread. But if you stick your happy-go-lucky extraverted thrill-seeking (ESFP) party animal in the server room, well, start looking for his replacement. It's boring in there and he won't stay. But as I've said, ESTJ/ESFJ leader types don't believe in personality tests and won't use them. They make many mistakes. That's why we have so much to talk about on this forum.

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

My mother does some voluntary work for an Organization and they bought a new Digital Photocopier. It broke on the first run after only printing a couple of hundred pages and that was when I meet their Senior Tech who was moaning about the new Oracle DBase system that they had just put in place. Apparently the crowd who did the job came in one weekend ripped out the entire old system installed the new one didn't even setup the new system with their data and worse still didn't offer any training for the new system. Needless to say they couldn't work the system and the Techs where at their wits end as they couldn't remove any parts from the warehouse as they couldn't track them. Well to keep my mother happy I offered to have a look and see if I could be of any assistance to just help them out of a bind. I walked in with the Senior Tech from this company and just hit the computers with a vengeance and had things up and running in a couple of hours. This was 3 weeks after the new system had been installed and they where still waiting for a tech to show up to fix it up. I really don't think that he could have done much as it was more a data problem than a actual system problem. I then spent a couple of hours training several people on how the system worked and walked out happy knowing that they had the parts for my mothers Photocopier. I didn't expect anything more from the entire incident but I had handed out a business card just in case they needed any more help. Several days latter I got a check for Services Rendered that was way above what the job was worth and more importantly after fixing the photocopier they replaced it with a new one as soon as they could get one up from down south from their main warehouse. But they kept the existing machine running in the meantime. The silly people there think that I'm magic and insist on paying way above the normal rates for any work that I do for them and more importantly are a good source of Jokes though most are fairly [b]Blue[/b] and I can't repeat them here. :( Col

JamesRL
JamesRL

Reminds me of one time when one of my previous employers fired the CIO and a couple of directors (with justification I might add). In a reverse of your scenario, they asked the CFO to step in for the CIO. The CFO by the way was my bosses boss - I worked for the Project Management Office. The first meeting I was at between the acting CIO and IT, I really enjoyed. The IT folks were nervous but at the same time, just a little condescending - they thought they had to go slowly for an accountant. Little did they know that he had mulitple degrees, an accounting desingnation, and an engineering degree. When he started to create a network map for their proposal, and then drew another one for an alternative he thought of, their faces dropped. The thing that got the old CIO fired was a big migration project that went oh so wrong. They migrated from a mainframe to a Unix server, and they did not do anything like sufficient testing on the recompiled code. They went into production with huge flaws and almost brought the business to a halt. So i've seen the other side of perfection. I happen to work currently for a company that leads the field in its area, but I know our products(software) are far from perfect. My consolation is that we keep trying to improve and the competition has even more problems. James

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

To me at least but there where quite a lot of other questions all Multiple Choice well if you can call 3 options Multiple Choice anyway that didn't include a True, False or NA option. The entire thing nearly drove me away before I even started and while I'll admit to only spending about 4 years there they had a change of management and placed an Accountant in charge of the company and it was then that I quit. If they had of placed anyone but an Accountant in that position I would have stayed put but from past experience I was out of there as [b]Fast As Possible![/b] The only thing that made me stay was the guy who ran the show as I liked him, had know him for years as a competitor and he was a decent guy. This industry just isn't big enough not to know what's going on with the opposition unless you totally follow the Company line and believe everything that they push down to you. I have a vivid memory of one sales person who insisted that the current product was the Ultimate and was always Perfect. Of course when a new model came along it was more Perfect and well I don't know how you say that it is better than the previous Ultimate product. He used to really get upset when I said at training courses that we don't have the Perfect Product but we'll try to keep it working for you. He never understood that there is no such thing as Perfection and things can & do break I can still remember him insisting that a newly installed Main Frame must be working as it had only been in place for about 3 days so it couldn't be broken and more importantly I didn't need to send a tech out there to fix it up. :D While I don't make this known much one of my dogs got a Physiologists Degree by correspondence that sort of shows the high regard I hold of these people and when I run across then I do like to mess with their minds. They just make it so easy. :^0 Col

JamesRL
JamesRL

Thats a stupid question. James

JamesRL
JamesRL

Since you seem to be all knowing and wise. Which personality tests have you used? And be careful of assumptions, when I said I have people whose personalities match their jobs, you assumed I hired them all. In fact I came here a couple of years ago and was brought on to manage a team. Most of them were hired well before the tests were used, but I wouldn't suggest its a conincidence that they are successful in their jobs and that their personalities match their jobs. You seem to be ranting. I never said that I made hiring decisions based solely on personality tests, and frankly I also said that my company doesn't use them anymore. I don't miss them as I get the information I need through interviewing. But the purpose is legitimate. It is a legitimate purpose to look at someone's personality when assessing how they might fit in with the team. If you are suggesting that I want to work in something like a Brave New World type environment, thats far from the truth. Quite frankly I work with a high performance team of senior people, who are empowered to make decisions on their own, and after working that way, I don't think I would want to go back to managing a team full of juniors who needed a lot of hand holding. James

a.techno.geek
a.techno.geek

Get a clue James. A personality test does not tell you anything of the sort. I have an anecdote and it does and does not have anything to do with personality tests. When I went to fill out an application for a job, this company wanted an extensive low down on my and my family's (brother, sisters, so on so forth) health history. I answered questions that pertained to me, either in the affirmative or negative. But when it came to my family history I answered N/A. My family is not being hired by the company, I am, questions about my health, I answered. Needles to say I did not get the job. On the other hand Michigan Labor Relations got hold of the heath questions, people they had turned down for having answered the questions as N/A ("None of your business") were later on asked to be reinterviewed. In other words the "Health" questionnaire was considered illegal. Approximately 6 months later I was given the opportunity to be reinterviewed, I turned it down. The whole point is James and I think the young lady that posed the original question was getting at is that these test do not necessarily tell management anything. All of the people that are in this discussion are obviously intelligent enough to give HR/Management the answers what they want to hear or see. So these personality tests do not do the job intended. I on the other hand are self motivated, I do not have the "If I ruled the world syndrome." My management style is MBO (Management By Objective, with this style management there are still time constraints). I do not hire people to have set on their shoulders, this is what I want, as long as it is legal and works the way I want it to on time, then I am happy. I also find there is a better transfer of knowledge in this management style. No personality test can tell you how each individual is going to interact with others until they are worked with. I really have no idea, but if I were to have to pigeon hole (this is what a personality test does) you James I would have to say your management style is, "I have to set on everybody shoulders to make sure they do their jobs or I rule my the world." You see what you fail to understand James is, these people you are hiring are trained to see patterns, if they don't they shouldn't be in IT. Tests that show repetitive questions are bound to be answered positive or negative depending on what they want to management to see. So the personality test fails to accomplish its goal. Or do you think these people are dummies, gods if that is how they hire where you are at. By the way, the reference to the "Brave New World" was, if you recall, was a caste system. They bred some to be dull mentally for repetitive mundane tasks, and still others in between, others they bred to be management types. This is all these personality test try do. Another thing is that it is easy to fool the psychologist . . . . . . . If you know how.

JamesRL
JamesRL

Its not a question of hiring type As. Let me take a couple of steps back. When you hire you ask yourself three fundamental questions: Can they do the job (skills/competence), Will they do the job (drive/initiative), Will they fit in? The last question is the one most addressed by the personality tests. We have some jobs that are highly repetitive, where your productivity is measured literally every second and your work is constantly monitored. We have other jobs where you work alone, the sole person on a task, and you have to be creative. Some tasks require good verbal skills because you must interact with many others, others require more technical skills. The personality test doesn't pidgeon hole you into type a or type b. It measures a number of different traits. It is then up to the manager to understand how that matches up with the kind of work done in the role. Never seen "The Director", have read Brave New World (and Brazil). Trust me I have a wide range of people on my team, and in many ways their personalities suit their jobs. James

a.techno.geek
a.techno.geek

So my take is that is that most business' want people that all have an "A" Drive type personalities? This way you have disenfranchised employees? This way there is constant turn over. Like I said what is needed is a spectrum of employees, ones you can train/mentor for lead/management positions. The other can be trained to varying degrees for positions at the bottom and top. Hey why doesn't a company just do a "Brave New World" (author Huxley, More recently, Lenard Nimoy as The "Director" in the made for TV version) kind of thing for hires. If you have read the book, you know what I am writing about. With a bunch of "A" type personalities everybody is the manager (Brave New World, "Director").

JamesRL
JamesRL

No one said you hire on the basis of a personality test. First of all, for better or worse, you screen based on resumes. You try and get down to a manageable number of interviews. At my company the test was only administered to people who survived the first round of interviews and went on to a second round. The personality test, like references, isn't responsible for a hire. It may or may not influence a hiring decision. But it is one factor out of many. No sane individual uses one factor. My company abandoned the tests, and instead created courses to make managers better interviewers, which makes much sense to me. James

a.techno.geek
a.techno.geek

The south as you say had better uniforms because they had the cotton to make the cloth.

latrinidadjr
latrinidadjr

I think no matter what type of business industry, a personality test is good and effective. In good terms, it would help not only managers but as well as his subordinates. Managers could use it to boost his subordinates' moral and increase their efficiency as employees... getting the best out of them! At the end, both would benefit on it.