Joseph received his Doctorate from UMUC in Management. He retired from the Army after 23 years of service, working in intelligence, behavioral health, and entertainment.
Does Testing Work?
How many of us have applied to jobs and were asked to take a pre-test with the application? Or who hasn't taken a Myers-Briggs test to determine if he or she is extroverted or introverted? These exams are used to help employers hire a certain type of employee and to better understand their existing employees. These tests fall into two categories: intelligence tests and personality tests.
Intelligence tests are conducted to determine employee intelligence, learning style, and ability to learn. Personality tests focus on whether employees work better in groups or individually, if they learn visually or verbally, and if they would do better in training positions versus management. Both types of tests have many different formulations created by managers and psychologists, all with the goal of finding key employees for specific environments.
Intelligence & Personality Tests
Although there are dozens of different personality and intelligence tests, we'll only cover the most popular.
Let's start with intelligence tests, which can no longer be used in the hiring process but can still be used after individuals have been hired.
- IQ tests are designed to measure the level of intelligence and style of learning of a person. There are hundreds of IQ tests on the market, with some having verbal, written, and hands-on portions in order to be accessible to all learning types.
- Multiple intelligences tests focus less on educational knowledge and more on how people are skilled in different ways. The different intelligences measured include linguistic, spatial, musical, logical, physical, intrapersonal, and interpersonal intelligence. These tests are mean to reveal the skill set of employees, which can help companies place them in the best environment.
Let's now take a look at the most widely-used personality tests, including the Myers-Briggs, Caliper, and Gallup StrengthsFinder tests.
- The Myers-Briggs test focuses on four aspects of the personality: how a person makes decisions, how a person learns, how a person makes perceptions and operates socially, and whether they're introverted or extroverted. These different aspects of the personality can show how employees would learn specific to an environment and how they would deal with their peers. This is not a pass/fail test. Instead, the test is usually only used for people who have already been hired in order to determine how to better communicate with them.
- The Caliper test determines positive and negative personality traits. It can test for ambition, empathy, laziness, and even thoroughness. The exam provides statements that employees must choose from that best represent how they think.
- The Gallup StrengthsFinder test, on the other hand, focuses on the positive traits of people. It only gives positive results and determines the five greatest strengths in an employee. This test can be used to determine where an employee would fit within an organization.
Many companies use a variety or combination of personality and intelligence tests on their potential and current employees. Although these tests can help employers assess personality traits, learning capabilities, and skills, using them may also create issues. The following are some concerns to keep in mind:
- These exams can be very long and challenging, which may narrow the pool of people trying to apply for a new position.
- Personality tests like Myers-Briggs can pigeonhole employees into a specific personality, and the test results may not be accurate. An example issue would be if employees are treated as if they're extroverted because of test results, but are actually introverted. This could cause people to quit and seek employment elsewhere.
- When potential new hires take a personality test, they'll likely answer questions in a way they think the company wants instead of answering honestly. This would mean businesses get employees who are only trying to please them superficially, and who may not be a great fit.
- If an employer uses the tests to find a specific personality type, then the company could become flooded with one type of personality. This could be problematic, as a business needs different types of people in order to function.
Let's recap. Intelligence tests and personality tests are used by many employers to find just the right employee for a business. These tests can help determine intelligence, learning capability, learning style, skill strength, and even negative traits. Tests like the Caliper test, the Myers-Briggs test, and the Gallup StrengthsFinder test have been used in office environments for years. However, it's important to remember that these tests can be inaccurate and can pigeonhole employees in a negative way. These tests can also be used to positive effect, because employees can then be moved into departments that fit their skills and aptitudes in the best way.
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