IT Employment

The problem with employee assessment tests

According to recent statistics, the use of employment assessment tests has increased 300 percent. Here are some problems with those kinds of tests if not properly implemented.

According to recent statistics, the use of employment assessment tests has increased 300 percent. Here are some problems with those kinds of tests if not properly implemented.

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I wrote a blog for IT managers about how some companies use employee assessment tests to better evaluate candidates before making a job offer. While some companies justify the use of these test to avoid turnover costs and all the emotional upheaval that comes with making a poor employee choice, the tests themselves often present challenges.

For one thing, a manager may depend too heavily on the test results. Even if he is impressed with a candidate during the interview process, he may be reluctant to hire him if he scored negatively on a personality test. If he hires someone regardless of the test results and things don't work out, he could place his own job at jeopardy. As a result, most managers will choose the candidate that represents the least amount of risk.

Many people, however, question the viability of such tests. For example:

  • Test answers can be manipulated. Who in their right mind wouldn't know the "correct" way to answer test questions like, "How thorough are you?" or "Are you persistent, or do you give up easily?" Why would you ever admit to not being thorough in your work?
  • Behavior is context sensitive. If you're given a hypothetical situation and asked to choose your reaction from a list, that doesn't necessarily mean you will react similarly to another situation.
  • A behavior or personality type that is desirable in one job may not be in another, yet most companies use the same tests when hiring for any job. For example, a sales position may call for extroverted behavior while a position for a code writer may not.

Of course, not all tests are the same either. The Myers-Briggs test, one of the most reliable and most commonly used, is a little more sophisticated. Its questions are designed to elicit responses that determine thinking styles like whether someone is intuitive or likes to consider the facts. The possible responses to the questions don't readily lend themselves to manipulation nor are there really any indications of answers that may be preferable. Here are a couple of examples:

Decisions: When making decisions, do you prefer to first look at logic and consistency or first look at the people and special circumstances? This is called Thinking (T) or Feeling (F). Structure: In dealing with the outside world, do you prefer to get things decided or do you prefer to stay open to new information and options? This is called Judging (J) or Perceiving (P).

I've read that the use of employment tests has risen about 300% in the last few years, so I hope that those companies implementing them are careful about the ones they choose.

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.

164 comments
Tony.stockford
Tony.stockford

The biggest problem with Psychometric testing (Employee Asessment), is not the test, rather it is the fact the mangers and interviewers have very little idea about how to intepret and apply the profile that results. In addition, unless the profiler themselves understand the purpose of and how the results are to be used, this further exacerbates the problem. I use profiling in 3 stages in the education recruitment field. The first is Personal Perception. This informs about the preferred working style and the preferred working environment. The second is Immediate Perception. This looks at the 7 second rule, and the 'first'impression that people give. The purpose of this is not to required people to change their preferred style, but to identify strategies so that the wrong impression in a particular situation is not given. The third is Relationship perception. This looks at people's leadership and teamworking preferences, which are significant when deciding on and using effective motivational methods. This is, to my mind, the real way to use psychometric testing.

ktconnor
ktconnor

I agree with your cautions, Toni. In addition, my biggest beef is that assessments are misused. I'll be kind and say this misuse is not intentional most of the time, but is rather out of ignorance. For example, 360 Feedback instruments are used as though they are a certain picture of the target person. They are not. Technically they are twice removed from being that picture. They are at best a certain picture of what someone is willing to say about that person, and I have seen them used but to 'shaft' another person and to 'butter them up.' They are still valuable: it's good to know what people are willing to say about oneself, but this informaiton should be used carefully and not be considered an absolute and accurate depiction of the target person's competence. Another example is the self-report assessment. As you so succinctly mention, these, too, are not a necessarily accurate picture of the person. I see two reasons for this: not everyone has clear self knowledge and may describe themselves inaccurately without being aware that they are off-base; moreover, there are certain situations where the pressure is on to consciously or subconsciously paint a more positive picture of oneself. Both of these contribute to the fact that self-report instruments (which is most assessments) can be unreliable. Hence the effort for "catching people lying" as in employing Fake Good scores. For this reason I prefer non-self report instruments such as the Thinking Pattern report, where you simply do a mental task and your decision-making pattern is tracked. It yields great information.

TX Old Sarge
TX Old Sarge

Those tests are a joke for many reasons. Jeffrey Dahlmer could have probably aced them. One question I always remember is "Do you hate your mother more than your father?" What kind of junk is that? It assumes you hate one or both of them. I guess no one can actually love both parents though you may be Daddy's girl or Momma's boy. Someone conned employers and made a lot of money but a lot of good people were probaly turned away while the sociopaths were hired since they had plenty of experience taking these tests with their analyst who may have written that particular one the company is using. There is no magic test for people. There are too many variables in life and the most stable person on the planet can flip out with the right set of variables and a person who couldn't deal with their previous job may find their niche in yours. Save money and time and toss the tests.

longhillobserver
longhillobserver

I also have a great deal of experience in HR and I must agree with you on this one. What organizations should do is to train their managers to the point that they can overcome their deficiencies in selection, among other things, so they make the right choices.

mr_bandit
mr_bandit

One of the main things that mark a professional, in any field, is the ability to prevent problems - they have the experience to know if you go down this path the problems are xxx, that path the problems are yyy. Then, once down that path, how to handle the problems with the minimum of fuss && effort. For any pilot, the proof is when it hits the fan (all puns intended). You could say the same for any driver of any vehicle. It is not too hard to aim a car down a straight road. The issue is when you are going around a corner, and see a guy coming at you in your lane and too fast. I was on a plane that was the last to land in Phoenix before they shut the airport down. There was a 50 mph cross-wind. The pilot came down with one wing about 2 feet from the ground until the wheels hit, when he flattened the plane. We gave him a (sitting) standing ovation, and it took about 5 times as long to get off, because we all shook his hand. I *want* the k-krusty overqualified old fart pilots on my commercial flights.

appuhdc
appuhdc

Companies can have the most sophisticated Employee Assessment Test system. Also, qualification and experience is very important during the Assessment. However, one thing deemed very important is the ATTITUDE. An employee shall have an excellent experience and 1st class paper qualification. If his ATTITUDE towards fellow colleagues and job is bad, even the best sophisticated system will become useless and waste of time and effort. For example, an employee worked for a company for 1 year. During his first 9 months, he was punctual to work, no unpaid leaves and his work was good. He takes initiative to investigate problems to get a solution. However, during last 3 months of his first year he starts taking numerous unpaid leaves, not punctual to work, work half completed or sometimes never completed. At last, goes on leave without proper approval and never bother to call to inform his superior. Just send a mail to confirm that he???ll be on leave till a date. After a week, send in another mail just to say ???I QUIT???. No proper handover. Thus, setback in an Employee Assessment Test system is that the system cannot guarantee employee's ATTITUDE. Therefore, the test system shall fail.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

He was saying you shouldn't check to see if the 57 year old Captain knew how to fly, because his resume says he's a pilot. Not a position I agree with. Overqualified can be an issue in getting a job. Short of some off beat circumstances, fitting in the team and certainly being satisfied with the job could easily be issues. Not to mention salary. When I'm saying over qualified I mean in terms of definitley done more challenging tasks of a similar nature, not taking a job flippin' burgers with a PhD Maths. In that case you may not be qualified at all. :p

Osiyo53
Osiyo53

Employee assessment testing is always problematical. That's not to say its useless. But its only one tool, out of what should be a whole toolbox that's used for evaluating employees or prospective employees. The effectiveness of such tests at being predictors of future success of any particular individual in this or that kind of endeavor is much debated and questionable. The only thing not debated much, is that if you use ONLY the results of such tests in your decision making ... you're probably gonna get bit in the ass sooner or later. All that said, various sorts of assessment testing do have their valid usages. As one indicator that takes its place among others. Now when talking of new hires, and especially when speaking of workers who have no or only a short work history, assessment testing becomes more useful. It's kinda like the diploma and certification thing. Yah have this new person in front of you, who you don't personally know from the man in the moon. How do you compare him or her against others and against a particular job assignment? It's difficult. Yah have little to go on except those pieces of paper (the diplomas or certifications), and how that person is presenting self to you at the moment. All of which tells yah little, in reality. How the person is presently self to you during the interview, doesn't REALLY tell you what the person is like normally. And those pieces of education paper might be useful or might be worthless. I've dealt with folks who had a valid 4 year degree who couldn't match wits with the average, ordinary HS grad. How much of the material did that person REALLY absorb and retain and understand ... past the testing day. How good is that person at APPLYING what was learned to real world situations SUCCESSFULLY. And so on. But, if its all yah got to go on, you place increased emphasis and importance on those pieces of paper. But, if I have two applicants in front of me. And one is a bit skimpy on the pieces of paper reflecting formal training, but has lots of PROVABLY successful past performance OTJ, in the real world. Data I can verify. I'm gonna be a whole lot less interested in those academic records. In my world, real proven performance beats out academics every time. I forget the year, but it was around the late 80's, early 90's, a nationwide study was conducted by the University of Wisconsin that showed some interesting results. And that was that by far the majority of chief executives of the Fortune 500 companies either did not have a college degree, or had only earned one later in life (or had been awarded an "Honorary" degree by some institution). Or of those who had attended college early on, most had attended ordinary state institutions of no particular fame or acclaim, and had been the equivalent of a "C", or average, student. It was not at all what the researchers expected to find. Further study of the results showed a few trends among those people that did make sense. While they may not have been outstanding in college, and in fact quite a few struggled to maintain even an average score. They were HIGHLY motivated on the job. Aggressive at their work. Tended to put in a lot of extra hours. Etc. In short, a lot of em had always had to TRY harder than others to be successful. And had a lifetime of of working harder than the more academically gifted (smarter?) people they were competing against. OTOH, when the researchers studied a large group of the most mentally talented sorts (the MENSA types, tops grads of the best schools, etc) they found out that while that group tended to do well. Generally they were outperformed by that other group, and usually ended up working FOR them. Motivation, a willingness to keep plugging away and never giving up, a history of succeeding (of finding a way to succeed) even tho you've not all the talents and advantages of the other guy that makes it so easy for him while you find it harder, often counts for a lot. Often more than the results of written tests. Plus, just ask anyone with a significant amount of experience and training and you'll find out there are folks who're very talented at taking those assessment tests, who're good at figuring out what answers you want and providing those. As versus giving the true responses they'd otherwise give. Just some thoughts.

ronntechshow
ronntechshow

I recently took one of these tests. The potential employer said it was a profile test. They told me I didn't score high enough and they could not make me a job offer. Who are they to say I didn't score high enough? Because that's what they think. I have been a techie for over 10 years. They also wouldn't tell me what the results are so maybe I did score high enough but they were worried about someone telling the truth. I actually told the truth on the test. Some of the questions had answers that I didn't agree with but I had to answer the question anyway.

zekeporter
zekeporter

ABC Australia had to quickly hire a new guy after the old guy retired. This new guy excelled at the job and performed so well that he raised the standards of the ABC. One day the management decided to give a Meyers-Briggs-equivalent test to all its employees. That new guy who wasn't so new anymore took the test with the rest of them. The results showed that he wasn't suitable for the job, and so they sacked him after 6 or so years of excellence and outstanding performance. WTF! There are historical records of people who were not good for a certain position being placed in that position for some reason or another and stepping up to it and doing a fantastic job of it. Employers need to see the test results as a partial indicator and not the full story.

bus66vw
bus66vw

The tests are just another gatekeeper tactic. Away for people who have no ability to pass judgment on job candidates. Front door already locked by these tests. Checking applicants using a qualified person cost more but makes a fair shoot for all. Company policies like this can save money upfront but in the long run they are just a slop job. There will be a new employee but will they be able to do the job.

suewhitehead
suewhitehead

A couple of years ago, I was on the job market. One of the big companies ran an ad to which I sent a reply. They asked me in. I spent several hours of one day doing testing at a computer terminal. Then several more hours another day doing more testing at a computer terminal. I still had not had any type of interview. By that time I was so tired and stressed, and not very sure that the tests actually told the employer what they thought they were telling them, that I no longer wanted a job there!

mgtucker
mgtucker

I am not an HR person or in the employment assessment business, but I researched them before I used them - successfully. Valid and Reliable [industry standards] employment assessments, used correctly, can keep employers out of court, finding the "best fit" employees, and help measure the effectiveness of an HR department. These are the top three reasons HR "professionals" would rather cut their own grandmother's throats than use assessments. HR people think they find good candidates but are successful finding "best fit" employees only 1 out of 7 times!!!! The other six new employees are either "good enough", fine, mediocre, sub-performers, or terminate within 6-18 months. Human Resource "professionals" are successful finding candidates who are "best fit" for specific jobs only 1 out of 7 times. That means they find candidates who are LESS than ideal 6 out of 7 times. People are placed in jobs they do not like 3 out of 4 times. That can indicate that person is NOT a "best fit" or an "ideal" placement. One of the latest "fads" for HR people who consider themselves the top in their field is to use "Behavioral Interviews" to screen candidates. This method is highly invalid as a testing methodology and could incur lawsuits. Behavioral Interviews, in the hands of "top HR people" are only successful finding "best fit" performers 1 out of 2 times or 50 / 50. 50% odds ain't great. Like another commenter said, THAT is coin toss odds. Valid and reliable employment assessments DO save employers money, time, training costs, improves morale, speeds employee development, identifies ineffective managers, and helps deliver customer service and satisfaction. The MBTI (Myers Briggs) is ILLEGAL to use for recruitment. An MBTI proctor will lose their license if the MBTI is adminstered as a pre-employment instrument. If you are administered a personality test as a pre-employment instrument, find a lawyer! You just hit the jackpot. Take the employer to court and you will not have to work for a long time. There are different assessments for different purposes. Some are for pre-employment (used to test integrity, work ethic, reliability, and a propensity to substance abuse as well as whether a candidate CAN do the work, WILL do the work, and DESIRES to do that specific kind of work). Other assessments are designed to develop an existing employee, manager, team, or culture. This is called psychometrics. Valid and reliable assessments give you, the individual the power to know EXACTLY what you are best fit to do as an employee. Valid and reliable assessments use established, proven methodologies to determine what YOU are best fit to do. Employers use such assessments to determine which candidates are best fit to perform specific jobs. Everyone is NOT wired to be a top performing jet pilot and every top jet pilot is NOT best fit to be a commercial airline pilot. A top performing airline pilot for one carrier may not be a top performer for a different carrier. A top performing IT sysop in a small state college may not be a top performing techie in a Best Buy or Circuit City. Small employers can little afford the cost of less-than-perfect new hires. Employment assessments can improve the odds, reduce costs, improve revenue generation, customer satisfaction, and dozens of other reasons NOT mentioned in Toni's article. The key is to choose Valid and Reliable instruments that have been properly proven to be Valid and Reliable.

longhillobserver
longhillobserver

There are a number of problems with testing for selection purposes. What they do is attempt to identify personality traits. Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), although the most widely used, identifies 16 personality types by forcing a person into one type or the other on four assessment criteria; extraverted versus introverted, sensing versus intuitive, thinking versus feeling and judging versus perceiving. Although it is used by such corporations as Apple Computer, AT&T, Citigroup, GE and 3M Co., most of the evidence suggests that it is not a valid measure of personality (D.J. Pittenger, "Cautionary Comments Regarding the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator,"? Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research, Summer 2005, pp. 210-221; L. Bess and R.J. Harvey, "Bimodal Score Distributions and the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator: Fact or Artifact?"? Journal of Personality Assessment, February 2002, pp. 176-186; R.M. Capraro and M.M. Capraro, "Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Score Reliability Across Studies: A Meta-analytic Reliability Generalization Study,"? Educational & Psychological Measurement, August 2002, pp. 590-602; R.C. Arnau, B.A. Green, D.H. Rosen, D.H. Gleaves, and J.G. Melancon, "Are Jungian Preferences Really Categorical? An empirical Investigation Using Taxometric Analysis,"? Personality & Individual Differences, January 2003, pp. 233-251.) Results of the MBTI tend to be unrelated to job performance and managers should not use it as a selection test for job candidates. There is, however, a five-factor model called the Big Five Model that does have research support that significant variations in human personality are related to five basic personality dimensions; extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, emotional stability and openness to experience. (J.M. Digman, "Personality Structure: emergence of the Five-Factor Model,"? in M.R. Rosenzweig and L.W. Porter (eds.), Annual Review of Psychology, vol. 41 (Palo alto, CA: annual Reviews, 1990), pp. 417-440; R.R. McCrae, "Special Issue: The Five-Factor Model: Issues and Applications,"? Journal of Personality, June 1992; D.B. smith, P.J. Hanges, and M.W. Dickson, "Personnel Selection and the Five-Factor Model: Reexamining the Effects of Applicants' Frame of Reference,"? Journal of Applied Psychology, April 2001, pp. 304-315; and M.R. Barrick and M.K. Mount, "Yes, Personality Matters: Moving on to More Important Matters,"? Human Performance 18, no. 4 (2005), pp. 359-372.) The problem with interviews is that most managers have no idea what they should be looking for, how to phrase questions to get what they want (in the event that they actually do know what they are looking for), and how to assess a job candidate???s responses. There are some very good training programs which help managers overcome these deficiencies; however most companies do not utilize these programs. The bottom line is that if a company is going to use tests for selection purposes, it has to look very closely at the research and take the test salespersons' comments with a grain of sand. Professor H.A. Kupferman (Organizational Behavior); Polytechnic Institute of New York University

jslou67
jslou67

I don't like any of those kinds of tests, and don't believe they should be used at all. The worst one is the test used by most retailers, via Unicru. The questions are so subjective, and you know most people are going to choose the "best" answer, thus making them totally useless. Plus, they take at least 20 to 40 minutes to complete (depending on how many times you've taken it before--the questions are always the same). I think the hiring decisions should be based solely on the applicants' qualifications and their interview. The interviews themselves should be more intuitive and interactive--i.e., do away with the tiresome, age-old questions like "What are your strengths and weaknesses?", or "Where do you see yourself in 5 years?" (as to the latter question, my ideal answer would be "Living on the beach and drinking margaritas everyday"! :-)

chaz15
chaz15

You are hired, the content of the assessment test is placed straight on file in HR: - this may in part determine promotion prospects, eligibilty for pay rises, or be used susequently in a dismissal. BE VERY CAREFUL in your answers or preferably go work for a firm that doesn't use BARBARIAN methods!!!!

herlizness
herlizness

All the tests are nonsense; you give some credit to Myers-Briggs but consider your exemplars: > these two are mutually exclusive? can't use both? of course you can .. and should. What KIND of decision are you supposed to be making here? To what extent are the choices available amenable to an empirical/analytic approach? How much data is available in the first instance? How much time is available to study it? > As you note, behavior is context-sensitive. Even the most superficial consideration of "dealing with the outside world" tells me that some things are best decided and put away (we need to lighten headcount by 20 because there's no money) while others should be, or have to be, left more open (we're going to use an SOA architecture in Phase I and evaluate the results) Besides, even things which get put away are sometimes of necessity re-opened (we had to lighten headcount by 20 but got a huge contract with a large pre-payment clause this morning) These tests are lunacy; any company using them should look at themselves and ask why it is they are unable to find and retain people with proven judgment who can in turn use that judgment in making hiring decisions instead of relying on garbage like Briggs-Meyer, Strong Personality Inventory, internal-external locus of control assays, etc. And don't even get me started on those insane, unproven skill tests. Thanks for raising the topic, Toni ... it's an important one.

phportelance
phportelance

Employee assessment tests are going to improve as we use them more. When new technology is developed it does not always work correctly. This does not stop us from using it and improving it. The goal of hiring someone is to get the best candidate. Using information, like what the person has done before is not always a good indicator of a person's skills. So, this is why it is important to assess the overall candidate. There is no easy way to do this in a short period of time. I believe one important part is using the knowledge of what these tests do to apply and interpret them as part of an overall assessment.

Ian Thurston
Ian Thurston

There's an excellent way of testing whether you should hire a person: Toss a coin: heads you hire, tails you don't. If your gut reaction is "I like the result", do it. If you're not happy with the result of the toss, do the opposite. If you don't care ... get more information.

cpetit
cpetit

There's no way anyone can use the 4 letter Myers Briggs result to determine if a person is good for a job. I've studied it for years, and find it helpful to understand people. But it really can't be used to determine how effective someone is at a particular job. The test only states how someone prefers to look at and act within the world---it doesn't say anything definite like "an ISFP cannot think logically". A preference is not a mandate. But, let's consider other personality tests, such as ethics tests. As the author points out, no person with any intelligence can't figure out the "correct" answer. Why not boil it down to one question "Do you want to be hired?" Now, if we are talking skills tests, for example "Solve this coding problem" if you're being hired as a developer, makes perfect sense. That is testing the exact area for which one is being considered. In my opinion, there is no way to get crisp, black and white, no-risk answers when dealing with people. Nor are such answers at all desirable when dealing with real life.

dbecker
dbecker

Dr. Robert Hare who is the main progenitor for the tests for determining psychopaths along with Dr. Paul Babiak, was caught in the goo when "The Corporation" video was made by showing that modern corporations are psychopaths. He tried to retract it, but it was too late. [And I will insert here that HR stands for "Hypocritcal Rats"]. The truth is, as explained in "Snakes in Suits" by the above authors, modern corporations actually say they want people who are psychopaths. So bring on the tests. Hire the psychopaths of the PCL. It's such fun watching multiple psychopaths vying for ascendancy in a corporation or government agency [heck, they even do it in the church corporate]. I can tell you from experience that it is really entertaining, but, as a caveat, stay out of the way, because you probably don't have the skills to survive in such an environment. Here are my five postulates: 1) It is useless to argue with a crazy person; 2) People fail; 3) Everyone lies; 4) It is impossible to be competent in a dysfunctional environment; 5) Pretty much these days, all environments are dysfunctional. And remember the three laws of entropy (especially true of economic entropy): 1) You can't win; 2) You can't break even; 3) You can't get out of the game. You should note that with the bailout, money is less and less available, even though there was an attempt to reduce economic entropy locally by taking the money from a different environment. The morons [the American people] did not realize that in a macro economic system, net profit equals zero. So what ever happened to the idea [which some corporations used to have] of using the Johnson O'conner Research Foundation (JOCRF.ORG) to issue tests to identify a person's inherited aptitudes? One would think an objective assessment would be less excessively expensive in the long run, wouldn't they? But then, the Johnson O'conner folks don't test for psychopaths, so the pool from which to draw them must come from somewhere else.

steve
steve

Which of the Briggs-Meyers personality types is most likely to go "postal"? Unfair question right? Unfortunately, ungrounded and unspoken fears linked to the interpretation of such tests, have the potential for creating more harm than good. As was pointed out in an earlier comment "Employee Assessment Testing" is often not used to appropriately assess an individual?s potential for employment. Rather it is used to hedge against a hiring manager's natural desire to fill a position quickly, with someone that they personally (and perhaps politically) can get along with. Like a crap shooter placing a "No" and a "Line" bet at the same time. Risk is reduced, but the overage payout is decreased. "Assessment Testing" has no scientific ability to predict the future; no direct correlation to producing more or even better hires. However, it does directly sway decisions toward NOT making an offer. Assessment Testing, as typically used in American hiring practices today, is merely a corporate process for placing a "No" bet. It's is often one of the first speed bumps introduced by an organization that has had a postal experience, but it cannot effectively prevent a hiring mishap from occurring again.

sconyers
sconyers

When I was nearing graduation, I was interviewing with every place I could think of in an attempt at the shotgun theory of job searching: spray resumes over a large area and you're bound to hit something. I interviewed at a place that gave me a fill-in-the-bubbles standardized test designed to measure crititcal thinking and math skills, which I'm fairly sure I aced. I later interviewed at another place in the same town that gave the exact same test only it was given on a computer, and the time it took me to complete it was part of the score. I received 130% on that one, since of course I remembered quite a few of the answers I'd had to work out the first time.

Peter.Leopold
Peter.Leopold

Without having read anything more than the title of this blog, I'll say that my beef is this: "assessment tests" are redundant. What do you do with a test if not assess? How do you assess if not with a test? How about: Skills assessments or Skills tests? Loyalty assessments or Loyalty tests? Sobriety assessments or Sobriety tests? But assessment tests is wholly contentless and an abuse of language. So I propose a "Dilbert test assessment" for managers who abuse language this badly. The worst abusers will be promoted to a position in which they don't have to use words at all. Naturally.

gillespie
gillespie

Most if not all Psychometric tests or assessments are not able to show the true picture of the individual, only what the individual wants portrayed. The true picture can only be obtained by using much more detailed sociometric or ecometric systems such as FQGlobal's Functional Intelligence, which measures the inner interactive system as well as the general behavioural system. It's almost impossible to BS this, and it shows the true state of play and values of the individual.

Gis Bun
Gis Bun

A Fortune 500 [OK, maybe top 100] HR manager gave assessment tests to all new employees. They didn't care really about the score but whether any of the answers were too radical. As an example, someone who said they take a lot of chances or maybe not to trustworthy. Various questions were repeated but worded differently to verify if they matched.

donwright
donwright

Your statement "As a result, most managers will choose the candidate that represents the least amount of risk." inadvertently illustrates the problem that minorities face on getting hired.

charles.homsy
charles.homsy

Anyone with a fair amount of common sense can get around anything that might pop up in these questionnaires. Even when there are multiple questions that deal with the same issue, all you have to do is be able to keep track of the questions and when they are worded differently answer with the same. Even the Myers-Briggs test can be manipulated this way, thus making the entire test a waste of time and resources to all involved. A potential employee that has been fired from another company for say theft can figure out how to manipulate them so why bother, is someone like that really going to answer those questions honestly, I would put my 401k put against those answers being truthful. Then you're left with what just a waste of time.

Thomas907
Thomas907

The name of the test, Employee Assessment Test, is all wrong. It should be the called the "Employer Probability Decision Making Test". The Employer feel that by using the test he/she has better a better chance of selecting the one that may or may not fit.

roland.hesz
roland.hesz

"When making decisions, do you prefer to first look at logic and consistency or first look at the people and special circumstances?" Do I have to decide about a code snippet, or interpersonal situations? It is so not irrelevant.

msc
msc

I've read the comments on the main article. There are some good contributions but I'm amazed at the lack of perception of some of the others. I'm a HR Consultant and have been in the profession (recruitment, training and development, industrial relations, social support programs, etc. - full spectrum) for more than 30 years and have always found these tests to be helpful in a number of situations. The problem arises when the tests are deemed to be a be-all and end-all solution to everything and are very often used as a quick-fix and a large bat to whack people with. Any test can only be an additional tool to compliment a battery of tools for example in a recruitment situation where one has to use for instance structured interview questions with some kind of adjudicating mechanism. This can then be complimented by tests like the Myers-Briggs, which I have had a lot of success with. With employment equity issues, and in my country empowerment issues driven by politics and not by common sense or the needs of the companies, such tests, properly administered are of critical importance to support decision on aspects like appointments, promotions, identifying skills deficiencies and the potential for development thereof. To me, making sweeping judgements like some of those above regarding the invalidity of such tests, are indeed unfortunate.

doug
doug

Am I the only one here who hasn't a clue on answering those two sample questions? My mind just doesn't work that way. I mean, I could probably figure out pretty quick how I'm supposed to answer the questions, I'm actually figuring that out right now. But I don't have a clue how I'm supposed to apply those questions to myself.

herlizness
herlizness

> All of your analysis and "methodology" focuses on "preference," as though it were absolutely essential that each worker, and each employer, be thoroughly and absolutely satisfied with ALL aspects of their working life and relationships. It would be nice, but normally it doesn't happen. Employees who are not enthralled with everything and everyone at work can still be very productive. This is what it means to be adult and what it means to be a "professional" : You continue to perform effectively under a wide range of circumstances.

Osiyo53
Osiyo53

"I *want* the k-krusty overqualified old fart pilots on my commercial flights. " Yep, those are the kind I like. They may not have hard bodies and buns, they may not look like Tom Cruise in "Top Gun". But there is something to be said for experience. I'm recalling a time when I was flying overseas in a military aircraft. We were several PBR crews plus equipment. We're flying over the Pacific when BOOOOMMMMM ... and I look out and see an engine in flames. Being a young recruit at the time, my a-hole tightened up so tight yah couldn't have shoved a sewing needle into it. The old pilot, who'd been around a lot of years, commented "Well, it seems we've had a little failure. But in my estimate, we're still good to go." I huddled, shivering since those old cargo planes didn't have much by way of cargo compartment heating, and worried and sweated. And ate old, stale horse cock sandwiches. The only thing good on that flight was the coffee, which was strong and black and could float a steel spoon. The Navy Snipes definition of good coffee. Then we came into our landing area. And as I looked out I saw puffs and black clouds forming. Incoming. Those little brown fellas down there didn't like us much. Then heard some TWANNNGS .... and wondered what the heck? Until I saw hydraulic fluids streaming and holes in the fuselage that let me see the sunlight outside. And then the pilot came over the speakers and announced that we were getting a little WARM welcoming from the locals and not to worry about it. Sit tight, hold on, because he intended to come down fast and hard. Which he promptly did and he wasn't joking. The aircraft dropped like a rock. It was like being in a runaway elevator. I was sure we were done for and I prayed my mother would not cry too hard over losing me and that her "bag of tears" would not be too full. Then he flared out at the last moment and we shot forward, hit the runway and skidded to a hard stop. Afterwards, as we unloaded our stuff I looked at the aircraft and besides the lost engine, she was shot full of holes. And then I found out the pilot had taken one clean through a leg, and his copilot was dead. They were carrying him out on a stretcher. Nothing in the tone of his voice when he was talking to us just before landing would have revealed the fact that he was seriously wounded, and nothing in his control of the aircraft gave any such indication. He never sounded particularly excited or stressed at any time. He just did that which he knew gave us the most chance of a success result. Later I found out that he'd been a tail gunner on a bomber in WW2, had gotten out for a while and went to college. Then rejoined the service as an officer and a pilot. And had been flying for 20 some odd years under all sorts of problems and issues. He'd had engines quit on him for whatever reason, had been shot at (and hit), had flown in good weather and in full blown cyclones, etc. The thing was, he understood his craft, he understood the science and technology behind it, and he'd seen MOST problems that could occur. And had learned by experience what was most likely to work, and what wasn't. But, most of all, he'd learned to take it as it came, and handle issues in their own good time. In short, he didn't get frazzled and LOSE IT. BTW, his name was Major Curlington, USAF, ex-USA Air Corps. A name I'll not forget. An old curmudgeon whose stubborn ideas ... were the RIGHT ones, based on raw experience. Just my opinion and thoughts.

santeewelding
santeewelding

I gravitate to your take more than any others who speak here about this. How do you suppose bin Laden evaluates the applicant for close work in his inner circle? Would he feed lunch to the failed candidate, and arrange for transportation?

zekeporter
zekeporter

Yeah, it *is* pretty sad that it came to that...

herlizness
herlizness

> no, it's not illegal per se; however, used improperly, it might form the basis for an employment discrimination suit, which is not the same thing as "being illegal" the real problem with MBTI is that it lacks any real utility; it's not validated, it's not correlated with successful job performance at a significant level ... it wasn't even developed by people with scientific training from the get-go. in short, it's basically a waste of time and money > you're kidding, right? have you done business with any small companies lately? how many "perfect" employees did you find? you do make some good points otherwise, though

mgtucker
mgtucker

Had a little fun with that. I couldn't resist. . . Myers-Briggs; NOT Briggs-Myers. Strong INTEREST Inventory; NOT Strong Personality Inventory. Strong eventually got together with Campbell and refined their INTEREST Inventory. Their purpose was to determine what you [thought] you WANT to do but NOT whether you CAN do the work (as well as a top performer) or WILL do the work (as well as a top performer). Again, MBTI is NOT valid for pre-employment. Strong's Interest Inventory and Strong/Campbell research only assess an individual's DESIRES/INTERESTS. I can really REALLY Desire to be an astronaut, but, if I am not wired like other top, naturally fit astronauts are WIRED, then I can only be really good but probably NOT be a top performer. There have been many valid, statistically proven studies that demonstrate the effectiveness of psychometrics. And yes, a valid instrument in the hands of a boob, can still result in garbage or a miracle. Remember, "even a blind squirrel can find a nut now and then." Look at the work done by the Saratoga Institute and Profiles International. Profiles International assessments are validated with tens of thousands of real life individuals rather than a few dozen or a few hundred college students in a classroom.

herlizness
herlizness

> this is not new technology, it's old crap ... very interesting for parlor talk but useless in making hiring decisions; the people who think they have value in employee selection have these personality traits: Dependent, Indecisive, Passive

steve
steve

I believe assessment tests go back at least 50-75 years

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

Right we need a definition of best then. If you mean most competent, you are in for a rude surprise.

herlizness
herlizness

> they're unproven and lack a scientific foundation of any kind; give me ONE citation to a peer-reviewed study showing that the use of MBTI yielded an empirically better result than not using MBTI ... > if your managers are incapable of making these kinds of decision based on their experience and observational capacity, they need to be re-retrained or replaced, probably the latter ... what are they doing with their time presently? > any more unfortunate than *your* sweeping generalizations? ... to wit, "properly administered are of critical importance," "have always found these tests to be helpful in a number of situations," "can then be complimented by tests like the Myers-Briggs, which I have had a lot of success with" let's see some data; I'm not interested in anyone's opinion that psychometric tests are of "critical importance" and "always helpful"

ktphd
ktphd

See my reply half way up the page. Basically what we want in a new hire is good judgment and decision making. Preferences used without good judgment are not productive. Axiometric methodology is the only measure I've found that adequately measures judgment and is difficult to game.

Osiyo53
Osiyo53

I must disagree .... "You are one of the very few who achieve quality with the quantity." While I hope to achieve some quality to my posts. The fact is I am too verbose. (too many words and too long for those who are not native English speakers) The fact is that I am a poor substitute for my ancestors. Who both spoke well, and at the same time painted a "picture" with words. I could only HOPE to match their abilities. But know in my heart that it will never happen. It's an old tradition in my clan, that one TRIES to impart wisdom (or some small bit of useful information) by story telling. But, unfortunately, I am not talented in that area. My old grandpa was, however, very good at it. He was a good story teller. Who advised that one should "practice active intelligence, compassionate wisdom and right action". All taught better by story telling as versus some short blurp fit for a sideline in a newspaper article. (or a small quip on a web page or blog ... my interpretation) The CONTEXT in which something was said, means more than the literal meaning of the words.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

You are one of the very few who achieve quality with the quantity.

Osiyo53
Osiyo53

I almost failed English Lit in college. The professor was driven crazy by the fact that I couldn't control my overly verbose nature. Frankly, he was right.

santeewelding
santeewelding

Ghost writer for Tom Clancy? That was damn good.

herlizness
herlizness

> if you want to get fussy, Strong (SII) doesn't measure what you want to do NOR what you can or think you can do; the only thing it does is compare your response patterns on five scales to people who have been successful in various occupations and produce a correlation coefficient so, the psychometrist might tell you that your results indicate that you MIGHT do well as, say, an occupational therapist .. and you may have NO interest in or talent for that field whatsoever. It is undeniably more useful for job-seekers, for whom it was originally designed, than it is for employers

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