Ever had to give or take a test while you were in the application or interview stage for a job? Chances are, if you’ve made a job change in the last 5 years, that’s likely the case. And no, we’re not talking about some wacko Rorschach Test, where and ink blot will revive that long suppressed memory of your icky Aunt Ida at Christmas time. I’m talking about the major players in the marketplace: Myers-Briggs, Wonderlic, Gallup, and the like. Many people wonder what those tests actually tell you about the likely future success of the employee. Others, they swear that it tells them who the A, B, and C players are without having to spend a dime on them.
While, there is data to support both theories, it varies by company, industry, and heck, it even varies down to department and team levels. Here’s my quick and dirty theory on it (and it’s just a theory, so let’s not fire off any burning arrows at my door if you disagree – after all, that’s what these “interwebs” are for, good banter):
- Yes it gives you some insight as to the work style, cognitive ability, or basic skills that a person may require for a given role.
- You can use it as an inital benchmark for who you want to pursue further in the process, and also eliminate people who may not fit right away.
- These tests have been through a battery of assessment and validity tests, by qualified, accredited psychologists and I/O shrinks.
- It’s just a test. What if you get someone (say someone who looks like me with the same name!) who is not a test taker, but a paper-writer? Do you pass on a superb candidate because they don’t “test” well?
- Nothing will ever, (I’ll repeat that) EVER, replace the power of an interview, and what you can tell from the person sitting across the table from you.
- People can still fake their way through a test.
In the end, I’m not necessarily beholden to being PRO or ANTI-testing in the recruitment process. I think it has it’s merits, but as a TOOL in the process, and not the end-all-be-all in the selection process. There are companies that use it as the primary indicator, and while they may get good test-taking robots, they probably have a competitor who has a rock star employee working for them, who could have been theirs if not for that ol’ test.
We need to encourage the Company powers-that-be, that this is a tool, but it’s not the only tool. As Yoda said, “”The Jedi use the force for knowledge and defense, never for attack”. Let’s use testing as part of the greater solution in finding the best talent out there, not as a way of truly evaluating talent on a multi-level basis.
Clearly, I took the wrong path in life, because a smarter version of me would have become one of the test peddling companies. (Have you ever seen the PRICE on these things?) OY.