Sunday, April 03, 2005

Employers Relying On Personality Tests To Screen Applicants

Washington Post: Employers Relying On Personality Tests To Screen Applicants
UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. -- The 10 young men and women were there to impress.

Decked out in their best suits, they were vying for hourly work as sales associates, ride operators, drivers and cooks at Universal Studios Hollywood theme park and its adjoining retail unit. When asked their favorite movie, they mentioned ones they knew were produced by Universal. When asked what they detested most about their previous jobs, they said not much. And when asked what single word would describe them best, several quickly offered "happy."

On the surface, they all seemed promising. But recruiter Nathan Giles knew better.

Even before the candidates had stepped through the door for the group interview, their fate had been largely determined by a computer. They had taken a 50-minute online test that asked them to rate to what degree they agreed or disagreed with statements such as, "It's maddening when the court lets guilty criminals go free," "You don't worry about making a good impression" and "You could describe yourself as 'tidy'."

A score in the "green" range for customer service gave an applicant an 83 percent chance of getting hired, "yellow" a 16 percent chance and "red" a 1 percent chance.

I guess this is one way of refining the search for an employee who is of the right fit with the company, personality wise. I do wonder if a potential recruiter would take the one with the better personality fit if that individual was less qualified or had less stellar credentials than the "best" candidate who may not be that good a fit with the company. Also, wouldn't psyche majors have a distinct advantage over others?

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