Personality Tests Are Fun But Don’t Capture Who You Really Are and Should Not Be Part of Hiring

September 8, 2017 at 7:00 am 1 comment

Annie Murphy Paul has been trying to convince people for years now that personality tests don’t really work — they’re not valid, they’re not reliable, and it’s not clear what they’re measuring.  This issue is important because the Tech industry still believes in tests like these when hiring. (Or so I hear — as a professor, I only know the hiring process from student stories.) They introduce significant bias into hiring. How do we get rid of them?

Twelve years ago, I tried to drive a stake into the heart of the personality-testing industry. Personality tests are neither valid nor reliable, I argued, and we should stop using them — especially for making decisions that affect the course of people’s lives, like workplace hiring and promotion.

But if I thought that my book, The Cult of Personality Testing, would lead to change in the world, I was keenly mistaken. Personality tests appear to be more popular than ever. I say “appear” because — today as when I wrote the book — verifiable numbers on the use of such tests are hard to come by.Personality testing is an industry the way astrology or dream analysis is an industry: slippery, often underground, hard to monitor or measure. There are the personality tests administered to job applicants “to determine if you’re a good fit for the company”; there are the personality tests imposed on people who are already employed, “in order to facilitate teamwork”; there are the personality tests we take voluntarily, in career counseling offices and on self-improvement retreats and in the back pages of magazines (or, increasingly, online).

Source: Personality Tests Are Fun But Don’t Capture Who You Really Are : Shots – Health News : NPR

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. rademi  |  September 8, 2017 at 9:33 am

    If personality tests are no better than a random number generator, they might arguably be considered “fair”.

    That said, the HR hiring process has been notoriously inefficient. If you want to get a job you’d best find some other way to get hired.

    So the question is not so much “what’s wrong with personality tests” [a lot], but “what are substantially better options?”

    And, that gets back to how the schools and universities teach people. But I do not know if there’s any good answers here.


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