Daniel Wood (8/29/2012)
I had an interview once where I should have kept my mouth shut
The interview had gone well and I had impressed on the interviewers how I was a good team player but also was happy to lead projects and teams and could work well on my own prioritising my own work with numerous examples to back this up,
Next however came the dreaded psychometric test 50 random questions to establish how well I would fit in the company I would then get to meet the team leaders. Once completed the HR manager came down to the review the results and established that from the results I was not a team player, could not work on my own and would need constant supervision whilst working (all completely the opposite of how I actually work) I tried to defend myself as I could see these results would do my job prospect no good, I am sure no colourful language crept in but I might have been close to it as I good see this job disappearing quickly but was perhaps to vigorous in my defence of my abilities and the problems with these type of tests. Her response put the nail in the coffin “I have never known these results to be incorrect; we find them always to be completely accurate”. I never heard anything about that job.
I once worked for a company that used one of those tests to screen candidates. I was amazed at how my opinion of candidates didn't match what the test showed. So, a fellow manager and I decided to see what was what. Wow!
After a few iterations, and amazingly bad results (we were labeled psychopathic drug abusing hippy freak thiefs and murderers!) we started taking apart the test. Did you know that if you like to fish, you are not a good person? Did you know that if you do not like to fish, you are not a good person? Did you know that people who use drugs are not trustworthy, and those who don't use drugs are liars?
While I am sure not every test was as bad as that one, I am one of those who does not feel you can derive someone's personality from a multiple choice test. I am a quick test taker, and so I have extra time on every test to think about the point behind the question. I have easily determined what the "correct answer" is on lots of tests simply by having more time to look around and spot patterns. While there are people who might simply answer truthfully to everything, it is naive to think everyone will, or even most people. When someone needs a job (millions of Americans are out of work or underemployeed!) being truthful takes a back seat to paying the bills.