View Full Version : Personality/psychometric tests

11-10-11, 4:41pm
I just took an online personality test as part of the selection process for a job I applied for, and I really think it was more difficult than the interview is going to be!

There were three statements in each question, and I had to choose which was most typical of me at work, and which was least. It didn't help that there was no context other than "at work", no opportunity to explain reasoning and so much rephrasing of statements (I know this is for consistency and such, but UGH).

I bet I've made myself seem lazy and inept, as I kept picking things like "I do not like to have a lot of work" and "I do not make decisions quickly". No, I do not like having tons of work, and it really depends on the decision as to whether or not I make it quickly. Wtf. It's hard to try and respond honestly without skewing your answer towards what you think the employer might want to hear, too.

Does anyone have experience taking these tests or using them to select employees? What are your thoughts? They seem like a slight waste of time to me. My self-estimation is hardly going to be 100% accurate, after all.

11-10-11, 8:33pm
I've taken a test called the Predictive Index test. I have no clue what my results were, but they used to keep the tests in your HR file. I've also taken another one that told what your work style was.

In general, maybe because I"m in market research, I think they could be helpful. It's so hard to know a lot about a person just based on a resume and a personal interview. And a lot of times, they're not meant to be personal characteristics assessments, but more to test your fit in the organization.

If I get to the point in my business where I want to hire someone, I'm thinking of giving prospective employees a right brain/left brain kind of test. I know that if I'm going to have one person work for me, I'd want them to be both right brained and left brained. If I were hiring two, I wouldn't mind having one right brained and one left brained.

11-11-11, 5:00pm
I took one once for a (thankfully) brief stint in retail. At the end of it, they gave me two choices: fine jewelry or kid's clothes. I get jewelry--I'm trustworthy and I love sparkly things. The other is a mystery to me. Maybe I got high marks for patience or something.:~) Needless to say, I chose jewelry.

11-11-11, 5:56pm
I mostly think these should be banned in the job search process. I think they are a very unfair way of screening out employees. (Thanks psychology profession for giving employers yet another weapon to use against us, glad to know we can count on you for that)

In my experience they are mostly used for service jobs. Want a professional job? They aren't bothering with this nonsense generally. But need a service job? Prove you're not a thief (yes I had a test like this, why not just screen me for criminal background like the professional jobs do? too cheap to bother so you use your silly little psyche test as proxy?). And yes prove a bunch of other ridiculous things, like you like drowning in work, or deadlines, or that your super bubbly and extroverted all the time. I bet true sociopaths and narcissists pass those tests with flying colors being able to lie very well, but little honest to a fault people fail miserably (have I ever taken anything that was work property from work? I once answered yes, because I had inadvertently bought home pens and pencils! that's the kind of honest and socially clueless I can be at times, I was young then). I guess my absolute disgust at the kind of screening needed for service jobs, is one reason I RUSHED into white collar work, whatever it's downsides.

11-12-11, 9:23am
I once worked with a woman I'll call Alice. Alice worked as a "contract employee" for some time and was very successful, worked well with the rest of the staff, management and clients. Our company changed overall management and began requiring one of these "psychology" tests before regular employment. Alice decided to apply for a regular part-time position and so had to take the test....and wasn't hired because they said she was "too honest". A year later we had a management change again, Alice applied for a part-time job, was hired and was a wonderful employee until she had to leave for health reasons.

11-17-11, 5:11pm
^ Oh gosh! I guess the new manager valued honesty more than the first one?? I wonder if Alice approached the test differently the second time. There's just too much variability!

And a lot of times, they're not meant to be personal characteristics assessments, but more to test your fit in the organization.

That's a very good point!

The test I took was actually for a professional-type service job, if that makes sense! It was for an information officer position at a university careers service... so since they're so well versed in how organisations select employees, I suppose they felt the need to use some of the techniques for their own recruitment. Unfortunately, I completely fudged the first in-situ test (an 'in-tray' exercise to be completed in a short space of time) so I'm not holding out for a job offer!

I suppose I can see some of the advantages of personality tests (such as how you'd fit in, as Catherine mentioned), but surely an employer can better gauge a personality type and competencies by an applicant's educational and work background, and interests? Well, I guess that would be nice in an ideal world. I'm waiting for the day when I don't have to repeatedly demonstrate to employers my competence in answering the phone and using computers (after nearly 10 years of jobs involving both of those things... when does it end?!).

11-18-11, 10:00am
I find these tests to be degrading and insulting to job applicants. If they want to get a feel for how I'll fit into the organization, then we can schedule an interview and we can figure it out in person. Imagine that! After all, whether or not an applicant fits into an organization is a mutual thing. Or should I just require the organization supply me with their own test results when I supply them with mine? A good part of the reason why these tests aren't as common for professional positions is that they know that the best and the brightest of that bunch will only put up with so many hoops before they rightfully walk away and offer their talents elsewhere. People applying for service jobs tend to have less options in general, so organizations know they can get away with treating their applicants like crap and putting them through this sort of garbage. The current job market only promotes bad employer behavior as applicants get more and more desperate to take any job at all.

11-23-11, 11:23am
Alice decided to apply for a regular part-time position and so had to take the test....and wasn't hired because they said she was "too honest".

She was too honest to work there? Did you work on Wall Street? :)

11-23-11, 11:34am
jp1, no I don't work on wall-street. "Alice" said the HR department revealed no one could be as honest as the test revealed so she must have been lying. It sounded like no one could believe an employee would never take home a pencil!

11-23-11, 11:53am
I always smile when I think of these tests. I took one once for a job as a receptionist in a pediatric office. The psychologist said everything looked fine, except I seemed to be "a bit self-absorbed, probably due to your recent divorce." His exact words. I almost laughed in his face.