Making Good People Better

7 Insane (But True) Facts About Personality Assessments

The next time you want to hire or promote someone, your HR team may want you to use a personality test to assess candidates. In the US alone, there are about 2,500 personality tests on the market. Before you pick one of them, here are seven facts you need to know.

  1. Your emotional life, behaviors, and motivations are largely housed in the limbic system of your brain. This part of the brain has no capacity for language. That’s why people like personality assessments so much. Their reports put into terms, colors, numbers or pictures what you always knew about yourself but did not have the words to describe.
  2. Gallup’s StrengthsFinder is one of the best-researched choices for assessing a person’s personal motivation, interpersonal skills, self-presentation and learning style. Gallup reveals that only 10% of managers naturally engage team members and customers, retain top performers, and sustain a culture of high productivity. Another 20% can function at that level if their company invests in coaching for them.
  3. Myers-Briggs was given to women during World War 2 so that their male bosses could figure out how to best utilize them during the wartime economy. About 10,000 companies, 2,500 colleges and universities, and 200 government agencies still use Myers-Briggs in the U.S. today. That is despite the Myers Briggs Foundation discouraging the use of the test for hiring and firing.
  4. Facebook knows you better. The pattern of people’s likes on Facebook is enough to predict their personal traits such as gender, race, political persuasion, and even sexuality. With 70 likes, researchers are able to predict someone’s personality as well as a 100-question personality test. With 300 likes, they outperform a husband or wife.
  5. Kolbe A Index is the best predictor of a candidate’s’ success on the job. It measures conative talents, meaning what a candidate will or will not do once hired. It’s also the only assessment that measures potential conflict between two colleagues, strain with job requirements, and tension with a supervisor.
  6. DISC is not DISC. The primary underlying concepts were developed in 440 B.C. by Sicilian physician Empedocles. Hippocrates modified these concepts in 400 B.C. and William Marston reintroduced them in a book that he published in 1928. Because he did NOT protect his intellectual property, today there are dozens of DISC variations, only a few are useful.
  7. IBM Watson can determine your basic personality with 100 words but is more accurate with at least 1,500. It uses the frequency with which you use specific categories of words and variations in word usage in blogs, essays, and tweets to predict how you generally engage with the world, how you hope to fulfill your needs when considering a product or service, and the values that drive your decision-making.

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