Personality Counts: Psychological Tests Can Help Peg the Job Applicants Best Suited for Certain Jobs. (Cover Story)
Bates, Steve, HRMagazine
Often during the past decade, Tim Burke, CEO of Quesi, a technology consulting and management company based in Sacramento, Calif., has had trouble finding the right people for jobs. Although everyone seemed qualified when hired, he says, the company "had a number of misfits consistently, and that bothered us. Some of our biggest challenges have been when we've hired a person who is nor right for the job."
About a year ago, Burke decided to start thing if personality test to help screen job candidates for attributes that would help them succeed in a position. Since then, "we've a significant improvement" in matching applicants with jobs, he says.
Burke had heard about such tests more than a decade ago but, like many people, was skeptical that personality assessments could be a legitimate, useful tool in his HR arsenal. Now he is so sold on them that he also uses a personality test to help existing workers determine if they would better fit another part of Quest's operation. Although some job applicants and existing workers have tesisted testing initially, some employees say they learned so much about themselves that they have asked Quest to test their family members, too.
"It helps us understand who the core person is," says Burke.
Can a quesstionnaire asking people how they react to various situations truly gauge human nature and tell us what jobs they might do best? According to a substantial number of researchers around the world, the answer is a, resounding yes.
Although experts warn that many personality assessments don't deliver what they promise, legitimate scientifically validated tests are helping employers evaluate job candidates to select those best suited for particular positions. Other tests are designed to measure intelligence, honesty, management aptitude and other qualities.
No one has hard statistics about how many employers test job applicants' personalities. Some testing experts estimate that roughly 40 percent do so and say the proportion appears to be rising.
As the economy tightens and employers focus on a lean workforce and on workplace security, the experts say, employment tests could take on added value. "There is a new interest in personality testing and psychological, testing with recent reports of workplace violence and the events of Sept. 11," says Ron Adler, president of Laurdan Associates Inc., an HR management consulting firm in Potomac, Md., and a member of the Society for Human Resource Management's Employment Committee.
Navigating the Test Maze
Thousands of personality tests are available commercially. In order to take advantage of them, however, HR professionals and executives must navigate a sometimes bewildering maze of jargon and claims by test vendors and consultants. Yet many HR professionals lack the background in psychology and statistics to evaluate the value of various tests or the claims of vendors or consultants who recommend them.
Accordingly, says William G. …
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Article title: Personality Counts: Psychological Tests Can Help Peg the Job Applicants Best Suited for Certain Jobs. (Cover Story). Contributors: Bates, Steve - Author. Magazine title: HRMagazine. Volume: 47. Issue: 2 Publication date: February 2002. Page number: 28+. © 1999 Society for Human Resource Management. COPYRIGHT 2002 Gale Group.
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