Which made me wonder if pre-employment personality tests actually do any good.
I’ve never been a big fan of such tests. Tests that measure actual skills that will be used on the job make sense, but “personality” is a vague term – which means it’s hard to test for – and it’s simply a fact that different personality types can thrive in the same job. At the risk of trading on stereotypes, I’ve met highly successful accountants with exuberant personalities and CEO’s of successful companies who were quiet and shy.
The tests themselves leave a lot to be desired. One had “I have known someone who shoplifted,” followed by “Strongly agree, Agree, Disagree, Strongly Disagree.” How can anyone “strongly agree” with such a statement? You either have known a shoplifter or you haven’t. The question is either just plain confusing or, worse yet, is meant to be confusing, which would mean that it’s manipulative. Either way, what is an employer supposed to learn about a candidate from the answer to this question? The makers of such tests always talk about gleaning personality types from hundreds of such questions, but with many of them so odd, I’m skeptical about any conclusions drawn from them.
It also seems to me that any skilled recruiter or employer should be able to get a sense for a candidate’s personality in an interview (or maybe two interviews). Yes, it’s true – every employer has a story of someone who was great in the interview but who turned out to be a toxic colleague. But if such a person can fool an experienced interviewer, he or she shouldn’t have much trouble answering the questions on personality test in their favor. After all, anyone can go online, learn about how such tests are analyzed, and adjust their answers accordingly (see above).
I also wonder about using a candidate’s time by giving them such a test. Isn’t it inconsiderate (or even unethical) to take advantage of a candidate’s desire for a job by subjecting them to a half-hour test that may or may not tell you anything about their suitability for that job?
If you have stories or data that suggest I’m wrong about pre-employment personality tests, pass it along. Until then, I recommend that you stick to interviewing OR hire them as a Temp-to-Perm worker if you want to see a candidate’s personality.
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