More on Personality Inventories

Believe it or not I am going to refer to an article from The Wall Street Journal rather than the NYTimes. On the front page of Tuesday’s paper there was a story about Personality Tests becoming more widespread in the hiring process. The article states: “Such tests are used to assess the personality, skills, cognitive abilities and other traits of 60% to 70% of prospective workers in the U.S.” They also report that “workplace personality testing has become a $500 million-a-year business and is growing by 10% to 15% a year.”

We have had a lively discussion about the application of personality inventories in therapy. Now their effectiveness and fairness are being scrutinized due to their growing popularity in the employment world. The WSJ article is lengthy and mentions many concerns about how these tests can be used and misused. Food for thought…

Originally posted 2014-10-01 10:32:42.

2 thoughts on “More on Personality Inventories

  1. Mary F.

    I haven’t read the article yet but my first reaction to this was, well, I guess it beats having employers look for info on Facebook; although that may be here to stay. (but then again maybe not, since a lot of young people have switched over to Instagram…)
    I think testing can be helpful, as far as therapy goes, but with the caveat that most tests are lacking in some area and are beholden to the bias of their creator. Humans are infinitely more complex and its just about impossible to nail down those complexities with a set of questions which also assumes the taker to be self-aware and willing to share. You may learn a few things about someone, but ultimately the best analysis is derived from many hours spent over many weeks one-on-one. It scares me to think that employers are doing these more and more…why not just take a chance on hiring, check references and give someone a probation period? As far as ME goes, a test might encourage him to think about opening up his clamshell a crack so a therapist can take a peek….but a peek is probably all he’ll get, because Martin will likely be busy critiquing the test itself from top to bottom.

  2. Post author

    I definitely agree that ME would be predisposed to give answers that were skewed based on what he thought the test was looking for. Heck, many potential employees do that too. All that you said is operational as well, including that so many young people put a lot about themselves on Facebook. Employers have all sorts of ways to find out about applicants. A good therapist could use many approaches including a personality test, as we said before. I was amused to see the story on the front page of WSJ.

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