September 29, 2022

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Personality tests are a waste of time

Personality tests are a waste of time

  • Paul Moxness

    Psychologist and professor

IQ tests or personality tests should not be used to choose who will get a place in education, or get a job vacancy, the historian wrote.

They provide a false sense of security.

Chronicle
This is history. Opinions expressed in the text are the responsibility of the author.

In Aftenposten on July 30, psychologist Rudi Mervang wrote that the admissions system must be supplemented with other procedures to assess suitability. It suggests measures of intelligence (general ability level) and personality.

Myrvang believes this would be a more appropriate future admission scheme.

I shivered down my spine from such visions of the future. They remind me of Aldous Huxley’s dystopian future novel Brave New World.

You must decide the qualifications

IQ tests or personality tests should not be used to choose who will get a place in education, or who will get a vacancy in working life.

Instead, we should let the documented qualifications decide. Or draw a lot when the qualifications are roughly the same, as in the Netherlands, for example, and as the Institute of Psychology did in Norway.

If I was asked to fill out a personality test when I applied for admission to a psychology course, I would probably never have been accepted.

Can determine if you get the job

The use of personality tests has become a widespread phenomenon in practical life. The score you get in five common personality traits, known as the “Big Five,” can be crucial to whether or not you get the job. Research shows, however, that drawing lots in practice would be an equally appropriate method for assessing suitability.

The “Big Five” has become the dominant personality model. When the breakthrough of the five-factor model came in the late 1980s, an excited American colleague came to my office and said, “Did you hear? The character battle is over. The answer is the Big Five!”

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He had reason to be excited. Twenty years ago, character was underestimated as a reason to act.

With the invention of the “Big Five,” researchers can again (and more convincingly) argue that personality traits are worth taking into account in considerations of how people behave.

Skill tests have no future

Debate remains as to whether the tests are appropriate to assess the suitability of job applicants. This has been the case since 1928.

Influential American psychology professor Clark Hull studied the extensive use of ability tests. He concluded that aptitude tests have no future. Note that this was before the time of personality tests. Yes, the concept of personality has not yet become a separate discipline in psychology.

Debate continues as to whether the tests are appropriate to assess the suitability of job applicants

It didn’t come until 10 years later.

Hull was more interested in motivation and learning rather than testing. The most important thing was to understand what Developer people instead of Measures they.

I think this is a more fruitful view today for those of us who work with organization and management.

Did not live up to expectations

The use of aptitude tests spread in the interwar period, particularly in Europe. This is despite Hal’s advice. Norway and many other modern countries have established psychological technical institutes (exam offices).

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Here, tests are developed to find out who is best suited to become a baker, goldsmith, teacher and train driver.

But Hal was right. The tests did not live up to expectations. And so the test stopped. Psychological institutes have disappeared. But the development of the test did not.

We finally got the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) test. It’s a big, solid test that flourished in the health sector in the late 1950s.

In work psychology, we got something similar with the California Psychological Inventory (CPI) test. At about the same time the MBTI came along. It is probably the most widely used personality test in the world. Many described it as unscientific.

With it, everyone can find out who they are, and whether they fit together. The testing industry has had good days.

The test received a new inversion

But in 1968, 60 years after the Hull test, the test received another coup. This was the year that Stanford University psychologist Walter Mischel showed that personality tests were not suitable for use as a crystal ball for how a person behaves. His book “Personality and Evaluation” had a tremendous impact.

I remember how the exam room in the Department of Psychology at the University of Oslo was dusted off. For more than 20 years, a personality tester has left him with a broken back. But by the end of the ’80s, the pentagonal model “The Big Five” arrived, and testing had its renaissance.

My skepticism toward the personality test, which had been strong up until then (we might have guessed also in ground coffee), has now gradually changed in line with the new research findings.

However, personality tests seem to be able to act as a crystal ball for employers.

historical report

But then came another setback.

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The year was 2007. Then came a landmark report from the largest research group ever in this field. A group of six eminent psychology professors who were not only researchers, but also editors of the heaviest and most well-known scientific journals in psychology.

However, personality tests seem to be able to act as a crystal ball for employers

Their conclusion is in an article titled “Are We Fooled Again?” It brought me back to zero.

Their message was, “It appears that there has been a blind enthusiasm in this field over the past 15 years that has ignored basic research data.”

According to the article, the correlation between personality test scores and work behavior is very low and “often close to zero.” It lies in the region between 0 and 3 percent of the “hit” probability.

And so we’re back to what Hull predicted in 1928, and what Michel found in 1968. Yes, even worse.

Give all characters a chance!

Personality tests sell like dirt. I believe that by outsourcing personality tests to testing companies, HR staff buy themselves the security that the hiring process is going in the best possible way. But this one False security.

Kaffegrut did almost the same job.

The diagnosis is usually a snapshot. But in the world of personality testing, it’s a frozen snapshot, and it can easily be associated with a person as a fixed adjective, an identity.

Recent research shows that this is an outdated way of thinking about personality. Character can be trained. can be learned. This is good news for testing companies. You are constantly changing. For an employer to know who you are, you need to be tested often.

Dear Employer: When evaluating suitability, you must give all characters a chance! Are you in doubt? Draw the lottery!