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Personality fakers fooling no one

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HC Online | 22 Sep 2011, 12:01 AM Agree 0
A new book has just been released that has exposed the ways candidates can skew or ‘fake’ personality assessments when applying for new positions.
  • Yolanda Stafurik | 22 Sep 2011, 03:26 PM Agree 0
    What is the difference between using the personality test to ‘screen out the most undesirable applicants’ compared to ‘screening to select only the exceptional candidates”? Wouldn’t the selection criteria still be identifying and screening the same particular qualities whether you’re eliminating poor candidates or selecting top performing candidates on a pre defined criteria?
    As Rogers stated, I don’t think these tools should be used on its own. Personality tests should be used in conjunction with other methods and even then used with caution and an open mind.
  • Salih Mujcic, Consulting Psychologist, Onetest | 23 Sep 2011, 11:40 AM Agree 0
    I think this article raises a number of legitimate concerns associated with psychometric assessment, well actually any assessment for that matter. This is an issue that that psychometricians and psychologists have grappled with for many decades.

    To provide you with an example, let’s say that we tested people by a work sample test (the most predictive method of testing an individual’s ability to perform on the job) where they come in and do a day’s work with your organisation. Naturally, their behaviour, the amount of effort they invest, their motivation, and their demeanour will be somewhat inflated or over exaggerated in relation to their natural tendencies.

    What I am trying to depict here is the fact that when placed in a high stakes competitive recruitment and selection process where candidates are motivated to win, they will have a natural inclination to present themselves in a more positive light. So as the author rightly states, this is something that we actually have to have the foresight to control for.

    However, I think it’s very important to highlight that most assessments are quite complex in their design and even if candidate’s attempt to game these assessments they are:
    - Doing themselves a disservice
    - Unaware of the functioning and design of the assessment and therefore unable to achieve the desired effect
    A very recent study into cheating behaviour on assessments reported that candidates are actually very aware of this complexity and that cheating on assessments would only be cheating themselves. I think we must keep in mind that a small percentage of candidates, around 10%, will be motivated to be highly deceptive in providing responses. That’s just the nature of the game. In this courtship, if you like, between the candidate and the employer, the candidate is naturally going to be more inclined to present themselves more positively.

    More sophisticated psychometric assessments are dual sided and the candidate’s responses are compared to a unique organisational profile. Additionally, well validated and psychometrically sound tools often contain validity, or impression management checks that alert employers to any exaggeration or inconsistency on the candidate’s behalf. The other important consideration is that candidate results are based on numerous items and not simply one item. Thus, they must consistently respond across an assessment to generate a valid profile. Designing assessment items in not as simple as designing a simple survey, items must actually be related to some type of orientation or preference that can be linked to specific outcomes. Significant amounts of work are invested into making sure that the items are a pure measure of the specific construct they are intended to measure.

    In line with the commentary provided in this piece, psychometric assessments allow employers to probe candidates and ascertain more information in areas where the candidate’s presentation is inconsistent with their psychometric results. These tools should never be used in isolation. Psychometric tools should be looked at as another value adding mechanism that forms part of a well structured recruitment and selection process. They’re simply there to allow the user to make a more informed decision when taking into account all of the information presented by the candidate.

  • Greg Phillips, Managing Director, DISC ADVANCED | 03 Oct 2011, 09:36 AM Agree 0
    The commentary raises some genuine points. How to overcome the problems:

    1. Only use an assessment that can demonstrate that the assessment has an identifiable consistency test I.E. the assessor should be able to show you verifiable results that the respondent answers are reliable so you know you are dealing with accurate information.

    2. Only use assessments if you are fully and properly trained and accredited in the process. Attempting to interpret assessments without the necessary training is foolish. Let me ask you this: If I said I have an aeroplane but no pilots licence, would you come fly with me? If you use assessments without the required training (minimum of 2 days), your process will crash as surely as my plane.

    3. If you have complied with point 2 you will already know this. Any type of assessment is part of the “jigsaw” of the recruitment process and must never be used as the only resource for excluding or including a candidate in the selection process.

    4. People who just jump online and find an assessment “don’t know what they don’t know. “ Yes, some assessments are better than others however what is much more important is the skill of the person managing the process. This is by far the single biggest factor in the process. Many bad outcomes occur through good assessments being interpreted by unknowledgeable people. This is why the problems mentioned in the commentary occur. If all people did the right thing and received the correct training, the problems that occur in the use of psychometrics would not happen. This is a very serious process folks! Don’t be flippant about it. Unfortunately some people just want to “tick a box” to say they’ve done it. Funny thing is these same people call themselves professionals. That said, in fairness, the biggest problem is that people become convinced by others that they don’t need proper training to use assessments but as noted earlier that’s because “they don’t know what they don’t know. “

    5. In brief summary, use an appropriate assessment and get properly trained.
  • Fred | 18 Aug 2013, 09:26 PM Agree 0
    Someone please send this article to Qantas Group Pilot Recruitment, who screen out pilots on the basis of Psychometric tests alone before they proceed further.
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