Personality testingA fair number of companies use personality tests during their interviewing process.  This is dumb.

Why would I say that?

  1. It tells you basically nothing useful.
  2. It’s insulting to interviewees.
  3. Any interviewee that’s halfway intelligent can figure out how to feed you the answer you want to hear.  If you’re testing for test-taking intelligence, there’s much better ways to do it.
  4. It’s a waste of time and money.
  5. You’re kidding yourself that your decisions are any higher quality than just trusting your folks’ gut feel.

This came to mind today while reading Personality Tests versus Fit-to-Job and Fit-to-Culture Talent Analytics, written by the good folks over at Jobzology.  Go have a look.

Jobzology’s approach is about matching aptitude, skills and preferences of employees to employers.  They do it in a fairly rigorous way, so it’s not flying by the seat of your pants.  I’m also impressed that it’s not set up as a “feed them what they want to hear” exercise, which is so common in employment these days.

I compare this to the “evaluations” which are handed out at the end of a training class.  When was the last time you were really honest on one of those things?  The whole approach is to have you do as little thinking as possible so that you can get out of the room.  Sure, the instructor was fine.  The content was useful.  The room and food were adequate.

The question that should be asked, a month after the class is done:  “How did you apply what you learned in the course?  Please be specific.”

But we take the easy way out, not thinking about whether it’s actually useful data or not.

So go ahead and give a personality test if you think you have to.  But it’s money down the drain and you’re not getting anything useful.

But you might well weed out some of your best candidates because they got so annoyed that you’d do this to them.