Psychometric profiling

Blue Velvet

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Between posting here, bidding on eBay and listening to some music, I'm also trying to fill out a carefully-crafted questionnaire (obviously giving it my full attention) that is supposed to assess the leadership qualities of my team-leader.

Many of the multi-choice answers have such a subtle variance I'm having problems with it -- I guess that's deliberate to ensure a considered response. I've been toying with it on and off for most of the day...

Although strictly speaking not psychometric, it still bugs me having to spend a few hours on this nightmare of Dilbert-like proportions.

A friend of mine recently didn't get to interview stage for a job after sitting a test that was meant to measure her capabilities and emotional intelligence, even though I thought she would have been an ideal candidate.

Has anyone else here had any experiences of giving or receiving psychometric tests? What value do you think they have, if any?
 

stubeeef

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Blue Velvet said:
Has anyone else here had any experiences of giving or receiving psychometric tests? What value do you think they have, if any?
Had one this weekend doing Navy Reserve duty, I almost started cussing at the screen!
I pity you, and think a glass of wine will make it better. Of course there is the paranoia part, what will they think about the way you think. It will help if you have a 2nd glass though.
 

Blue Velvet

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stubeeef said:
...I pity you, and think a glass of wine will make it better. Of course their is the paranoia part, what will they think about the way you think. It will help if you have a 2nd glass though.
I think you may be right. :)

Although maybe I should first carefully weigh up the possibility of drinking some wine, draft a few cunning, elliptical and obscure multi-choice questions, then puzzle over them for 20 minutes to assess my motivations and the possible hidden outcomes.

You really shouldn't have mentioned paranoia. What if they're really testing me instead of my team-leader? :eek:
 

stubeeef

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Blue Velvet said:
You really shouldn't have mentioned paranoia. What if they're really testing me instead of my team-leader? :eek:

who is to say I'm not from your company Human Resources? :eek: We've know about you for sometime now! :cool:
 

Blue Velvet

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stubeeef said:
who is to say I'm not your boss? :eek:
Well, unless you're a 5'5" underweight, short-haired finger-nail chewing woman who lives in South London with her husband and 2 year old, I think I'm on safe grounds.

Still, she has an iPod so that makes her OK in my eyes. :)
 

stubeeef

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Blue Velvet said:
Well, unless you're a 5'5" underweight, short-haired finger-nail chewing woman who lives in South London with her husband and 2 year old, I think I'm on safe grounds.

Still, she has an iPod so that makes her OK in my eyes. :)
You mean my assistant?
 

Brize

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Jun 13, 2004
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Blue: Out of curiosity, are these tests being administered by a qualified psychologist?
 

Blue Velvet

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Brize said:
Blue: Out of curiosity, are these tests being administered by a qualified psychologist?
Not this particular test, well as far as I know anyway... as I said in my first post, this isn't a psychometric test on me but I thought the topic was interesting anyway.

I'm just doing a little venting -- I'm on set 15 of 20, may finish it before midnight. :(
 

Applespider

macrumors G4
One of my recent bosses insisted on doing Myers Briggs tests on us all so she knew what 'gaps' she had in her team's skill sets to fill out.

I've completed the questions twice now (about 5 years apart and a different question set) and came out with the same profile each time. When I was given the information about my type, it was scarily accurate - down to the 'sceptical about this kind of test' and some fairly personal insights that I know are true even if I'd like to deny them

I'm an ENTP if it means anything to anyone.
 

Blue Velvet

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Applespider said:
I'm an ENTP if it means anything to anyone.
Clever clogs... :D :p

Have heard the phrase Myers-Briggs bandied around in context with another set of appraisal processes in our organisation...

Why can't they leave us alone? *sigh*
 

Applespider

macrumors G4
Blue Velvet said:
Well, I said it was scarily accurate :rolleyes:

On a more serious note, it was very useful recently. I was becoming really demotivated at work and the MB analysis made me figure out why parts of my job were frustrating me so much. Thanks to the boss's tactic of profiling everyone, some of those routine tasks have gone over to someone who actually enjoys them and hated some of the improvised tasks she had to do which I enjoy.

So if you get someone who is going to act on something rather than just make everyone do them and sit on the results (as happened to me the first time round), they can be worthwhile.

You can do a Myers Briggs online in about 20 minutes IIRC at the site Blue bookmarked above.
 

Brize

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JesseJames said:
These tests are the worst things ever cooked up by psychologists and their ilk.
Whatever happened to good ol' fashioned insight and common sense?
Psychology to me is one step away from quackery.
Having studied Psychology, I couldn't agree more.

The real problem however, is when workplaces administer psychometric tests without consulting a qualified psychologist approved for testing by the BPS, APA, etc. Without proper training, these people have no idea how to interpret the test results correctly.
 

Blue Velvet

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Brize said:
Having studied Psychology, I couldn't agree more.
Just typical of a psychologist to agree with you -- your sneaky appeasement strategies won't work on us... :D
 

Brize

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Blue Velvet said:
Just typical of a psychologist to agree with you -- your sneaky appeasement strategies won't work on us... :D
:D

No, I dropped those final year modules that were required for BPS recognition, and opted to study something worthwhile instead.
 

broken_keyboard

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Apr 19, 2004
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JesseJames said:
These tests are the worst things ever cooked up by psychologists and their ilk.
Whatever happened to good ol' fashioned insight and common sense?
Psychology to me is one step away from quackery.
I agree. It's perfectly moral to lie on those tests and tell them what they want to hear in my opinion.
 

Blue Velvet

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broken_keyboard said:
I agree. It's perfectly moral to lie on those tests and tell them what they want to hear in my opinion.
Aaah... but the really cunning ones are almost impossible to decipher what it is they really want to hear and the really sneaky ones can tell that you're modifying your responses...


Allegedly :)



The one I've been working on most of the day is very subtle.
All of the answers appear virtually identical.
 

kiwi-in-uk

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Sep 22, 2004
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Blue Velvet said:
The one I've been working on most of the day is very subtle.
All of the answers appear virtually identical.
So can you see a pattern emerging? Depends on whether you want to lie or not - and whether you want to drop your supervisor in the creek intentionally or unintentionally.

These things are intended to be done rather quickly (first thoughts, rather than thought about and engineered in some fashion o:) )

Having said that, from what I have seen (and I studied psych, but not to practitioner level) most of these things are administered by fools who use or misuse the results in ways that are contrary to what the test designers intended. {end of rant}

I usually spend more time than was intended, and try to skew the results to an outlier so that the sample is either skewed or invalidated. (Depends on the sample of course...)

These things are developed from high volume statistcal samples, then applied to low volume samples where individuals have much greater influence over actual behaviours.

So ... BV ... do whatever you think is right - "naive" first impressions, or cynical manipulator - whichever suits you best ... :D
 

Blue Velvet

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kiwi-in-uk said:
So ... BV ... do whatever you think is right - "naive" first impressions, or cynical manipulator - whichever suits you best ... :D
Cynical manipulator, there's no contest.

Well, I've finally finished the damned thing. Absolutely no feeling of satisfaction at all except I can now go to bed...
 

jefhatfield

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Jul 9, 2000
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Blue Velvet said:
Between posting here, bidding on eBay and listening to some music, I'm also trying to fill out a carefully-crafted questionnaire (obviously giving it my full attention) that is supposed to assess the leadership qualities of my team-leader.

Many of the multi-choice answers have such a subtle variance I'm having problems with it -- I guess that's deliberate to ensure a considered response. I've been toying with it on and off for most of the day...

Although strictly speaking not psychometric, it still bugs me having to spend a few hours on this nightmare of Dilbert-like proportions.

A friend of mine recently didn't get to interview stage for a job after sitting a test that was meant to measure her capabilities and emotional intelligence, even though I thought she would have been an ideal candidate.

Has anyone else here had any experiences of giving or receiving psychometric tests? What value do you think they have, if any?
as an hr trained person i can see good and bad to those types of tests

good in the sense that overworked hr people can use psychometrics as a tool to make their job go more smoothly

bad in the sense that labor/employment lawyers, like i hope to become, can pick that stuff apart at the seams

companies should probably spend more time training people and retaining them as opposed to hiring and firing like crazy and running masses of people through the ringer of these tests
 

justinshiding

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May 7, 2004
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Well I have a whole big book full of them and after taking a course in psychological testing I can say I have very little faith in them. Some of them (read:meyers-briggs) are actually illegal to give in the US for almost any purposes because it has such horrible validity.

I'll give you the summary of what the class taught me : any one psychometric test is still pretty useless, a well contstructed battery of tests however has some use. Still the tests and their results should be taken as a very general indicator and actual assesments done by people with far more training than I should be used instead of just a bunch of tests.

Ahem. Time for me to step off the soap box.

Justin

Oh and the repeated questions are there to trick you , when those tests are scored there are many different subscales , some are easy to tell some are not. There are some built in to tell if you're just making things up. Example: if you answer two very similar questions very differently it puts up a red flag.

Hmm I hope this covers it :)
 

jsw

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Mar 16, 2004
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I find the best thing to do during tests of this sort is to decide upon a certain persona, and use that to dictate all your answers.

If I try to answer every question as myself and as honestly as possible, the tests get screwed up because I'm a very "grey-area" sort of guy, and answers are rarely black or white to me, so a question asked in a subtly different way would have a different answer to me.

However, if I pick a persona (typically "valuable corporate employee") and stick to it, the tests show little variance....
 

stubeeef

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Aug 10, 2004
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jsw said:
Fun test (link above). I'm an INTJ. Tried answering as "me". Seems about right.
that was fun, i'm an enfj and the description had me blushing, I'm too scared to wonder down and find my faults, so stopped about 4 paragraphs down. :D

But lets face it, this is the real wacky part....and the presidents I am grouped with are republicans! imagine that! :p
Famous ENFJs:
David, King of Israel
U.S. Presidents:
Abraham Lincoln
Ronald Reagan

William Cullen Bryant, poet
Abraham Maslow, psychologist and proponent of self-actualization
Ross Perot
Sean Connery
Elizabeth Dole
Francois Mitterand
Bob Saget, America's Funniest Home Videos, Full House
Dick Van Dyke
Andy Griffith
James Garner
William Aramony, former president of United Way
Gene Hackman, actor (Superman, Antz)
Brenda Vaccaro
Randy Quaid, actor (Bye Bye, Love; Independence Day)
Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Colts quarterback
 

Kato C.

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Feb 7, 2005
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Great White North
Mental Urinalysis

Blue Velvet said:
Why can't they leave us alone? *sigh*
Because this is what managers do went they are trying too hard or been within bluetooth range of a management consultant (ouch!)

I have been through many a Mental Urinalysis. For the most part they are relatively accurate. You know: driven personality, blah, blah, blah. I wonder what they would say now that I am stealing time to enrich my life on MR Forums?

In the vast majority of cases these tests are given for the exact purpose stated. Managers just wish to understand a bit better what makes people tick, the makeup of the team, etcetera. One thing to think about is the power you wield. Your boss maybe having a number of direct reports, peers and, potentially, supervisors do the same thing. Who is going to see the results? How will they impact her future? Will this be punitive for her if the wrong results pop out, and she is stated to have poor leadership qualities? Hopefully, you boss is sincerely putting herself on the line in the hopes of improving herself.

Just think, you could be promoted and then everyone would get to fill out a questionnaire on you..... :D ;)