In my paper I am going to analyze the article – Are workplace tests worth taking? The article basically shows how the technicalities of workplace tests actually prove them to be futile unless they are used in the correct manner which, in most cases, they are not.
The article with the help of expert opinions, analysis and analogies proves that actually, psychological screening of job applicants does not and cannot work in most cases. It starts by drawing examples from corporations who spent millions on these tests but, unfortunately yielded nothing. Krohe provides us the fact sheet of tests like integrity or honesty tests. He stresses that tests are just scientific instruments that can be used both ways, the wrong way and the right way.He says that when these tests themselves undergo test for practical usage, they fail miserably. Rather than increasing sales and productivity, these tests are counter productive, leading to a decrease in the total efficiency (Krohe, 2006)
Although integrity tests have their critics, the worst thing that a company can do is not testing. Not testing means relying on substitutes such as measuring how firm a candidate shakes hands , which are utterly non descriptive about the character traits of the employee.
Krohe talks about the Myers Briggs test which is quite popular with corporate America. Although experts like Ann Marie Ryan* call it useful, there are still others like John Wareham, who disagree with the general outcome of the test. There are hundreds of tests in the market, but none of them seems to be totally and satisfactorily providing a reliable check on the hired or about to be hired (Krohe, 2006)
Krohe further goes on to say that the evidence of utility of these tests very much, points the other way. Actually, it is very easy to assess the profit or loss of a company, but not that way with the creativity or diligence of the candidate. The problem is – as experts unanimously point out, the potential value of such analytical tools is not being realized, both by the firms that do use them and also those who do not (Krohe,2006)
Even a good test, when it is applied to a task it was not prepared for becomes ineffective and totally wasted. For example, Minnesota multi phase personality inventory or the MMPI is prepared for actually mapping personality disorders and mental disabilities. Using it to screen probable employees is not only illogical it is against the law; the American disability Act (AdA) bans the use of such tests (Krohe, 2006).
Not only that the data provided from these tests can also be fraudulent as no HR department would want a company spending millions to know that its tests were actually useless in mapping a probable employee’s skills and character traits. A lot of tests are actually chosen not because of their efficiency but because they are cheap and it does not matter if they suit the job profile or not (Krohe, 2006).
Even relying too much on a good test can prove harmful. Two tests that can really help are the criminal background check and the drug test, but actually taking an independent look is the best test that one can take.
I basically discussed two psychological testing instruments, the Myers Briggs type indicator and the MMPI.
The Myers Briggs type indicator was developed by essayist Katherine Cook Myers and her daughter, mystery writer Isabel Briggs Myers, in 1942 based on the Jungian theories of personality types. It is largely used by corporate America today to screen probable employees.
The Myers Briggs divides personality into sixteen types. All these sixteen types were taken from biographies without any scientific basis. The Ineffectiveness of this test can also be proved by the fact that about 75% of takers get a different result when they take the same test another time. This shows that the MBTI is also one of the several such questionnaires available in the market.
On the other hand, the MMPI or the Minnesota multi phase personality inventory was developed in the 1930’s for the analysis of patients in a mental hospital. Not only its basic purpose is different, it is discriminative and illegal according to the American Disabilities Act (ADA). But, still many companies continue using it.
Both of these psychological testing instruments are actually useless in providing effective screening of probable employees. One was prepared by a mother trying to analyze her daughter‘s new boyfriend while the other was prepared for mapping a disease. Also half a century has been passed since they were both prepared and it is necessary to state that in changing corporate times it would be inadequate a candidate by such tests. There is no surety of the candidate‘s honesty, integrity, intelligence and commitment towards the company if he/she is screened through such tests (Carless, Rasiah & Irmer, 2009).
But all of this does not for once state that testing could be wrong for screening probable employees. What could actually be worse than wrong testing is actually no testing. While tests have a low probability of proving that an employee is reliable, not testing an employee before admitting him/her into a firm would increase the chances of error, more than ever (Porter, 2008)
The best tests can be rendered ineffective if they are not used properly, the results are interfered with, or if the scenario in which they are used are irrelevant. A test that is not administered properly is just as useless as one not administered. For example, although most companies are bent on taking tests online, the identity of the person taking the test in such cases is mostly not revealed, which means that participants can actually defraud the company by letting someone else take the test. Expensive tests take a toll on a company.Testing does not assure a perfect workforce, but the same workforce could have been more imperfect without testing.
Tests can be useful only if they are well matched to the job and skillfully used. But, eventually, the best judge is human psyche and intelligence, which makes it thoroughly important to screen people at least once by individual looking at them.
Carless, S., Rasiah, J., & Irmer, B. (2009). Discrepancy between human resource research and practice: Comparison of industrial/organizational psychologists and human resource practitioners’ beliefs. Australian Psychologist, 44(2), 105-111. Web.
Porter, L. W. (2008). Organizational psychology: A look backward Outward and forward. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 29, 519–526.
Krohe, J. (2006). Are workplace tests worth taking: Only if you do them right—which you probably don’t. Across the Board. Web.