Secrets of the Job Hunt


Thursday, September 03, 2009

Online Personality Tests Before Employment

Many people applying for new jobs often have to undergo online personality test or other personality tests before they're offered a position.

While most job seekers don't have a problem taking such a test, it's not uncommon for people to try to skew the results of a personality questionnaire used as a job screening tool.

"Some of the instruments have (distortion) checks on them," Jerry Stilson, a partner with Cenera and a trained psychologist, told "So, if you distort the results, it'll show ... but are they foolproof? No. People get good at this."

A lot of candidates may view a personality test as a sort of game and many professionals don't blame job seekers for trying to skew results.

"They're what we call data generators," Stilson said. "They can give you insights into yourself. And it'll help you become more aware of something you need to work on, but you need to make the decision to accept that or not."

In fact, it's a common theory that personality tests often do more harm than good, as concise tests can lead to companies losing perfectly good candidates. The tests are even illegal in some places.

In Alberta, Canada, employers can't ask people to go through psychological testing before becoming employees. While candidates still might be asked to complete a test, they can feel free to decline.

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