Do Personality Tests Belong in the Workplace?
I’ve only worked 2 jobs up until now, both of which were part-time and based in the retail sector. My second job offer came from a recommendation, but the first was handled through a cohort of workshops over zoom. The facilitators worked very hard at helping us with practice job interviews, preparing our resumes, and getting interview clothing.
As such, I don’t mean any offence to the program I attended, but one thing that had me sighing over zoom was their attempts at getting us to take personality quizzes. I obviously enjoy quizzes and tests of any kind, but the problem comes when you take this mindset of a fun activity into a professional setting.
When potential employees are faced with this, we either are expected to take it seriously, which is hard for something so out-of-place, or to treat it as something lighthearted, which doesn’t seem necessary as a step towards employment. All this begs the question of whether personality tests should be a part of workplace culture or applying for jobs at all.
As much as I want to berate these test makers for the obvious mishmash of temperaments, mbti, and big 5 they always use, I mostly just have an issue with their involvement in professional life. Although something like the big 5 could assist you in figuring out what kinds of work environments you would find more enjoyable, workplace tests have gotten out of hand as a whole.
I’ve never met someone who has enjoyed mandatory assessments of personality, and I can see why. Most employers aren’t going to appreciate the subtleties that should go into typing someone, and many use them as a nicer way to screen for the “ideal” personality. Just see how much of the common public is adamant about there being “better” or “worse” types at all!
Using personality quizzes as a way to see if someone is fit to work at a company is a ridiculous idea, especially since it can give employers a way to turn down applicants based on discriminatory factors while shielding it behind an excuse. I certainly wouldn’t take an employer seriously if they decided that having me take a test they themself can barely understand is a better idea than asking me questions.
After all the assessments and grouping us with others in the meeting of the same type, these tests didn’t end up leading anywhere. I was primarily typed as the equivalent to a melancholic temperment, as well as broadly analytical and creative. The most useful one of the bunch was based around selecting which aspects of a job I place importance on (although this required little from the quiz, as I ranked every answer myself).
For some reason I believed that taking so many assessments would mean that the facilitators would know me a bit better and try to lean me towards something I would appreciate. I was sorely mistaken, as I was simply pigeon-holed into a soul-sucking retail job despite requesting that I not be placed in a customer service role.
I could see a possible use for personality quizzes as a fun workplace activity to do with your coworkers once you’ve known eachother for a few months, but that’s where it ends in my mind.
Like I was saying, It’s very interesting since the job I ended up interviewing for and getting had nothing to do with my results! They directed me to breaking down boxes, constantly interacting with customers, and not contributing anything creatively nor intellectually. I know they did their best with the placements, but I can’t help but feel like these tests didn’t make much of an impact at all.