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Personality Assessment Time Machine

by Eric Baker
on 2016-02-17

Science is cool! As you can see above, the first ever giant intergalactic space-dog nose has been found poking through to our universe from the next, thanks to an experiment conducted by a team of veterinarians at the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) in Louisiana and Washington State. The nose, estimated at 200 light years across, took one whiff of our universe and—

Okay, that’s not really what happened, but science is still cool. What really happened is, on February 11, LIGO astrophysicists announced the first-ever detection of actual gravitational waves heretofore only speculated upon by Einstein and others. The discovery will enable a vastly deeper understanding of our universe in the years to come, including how space and time interact. Though the possibility still resides in the realm of science fiction, the idea of gravitational waves bending distant points in space closer together has led to talk of time travel.

Back here on Earth, our concerns might be more prosaic, but they are nonetheless important to us. Like hiring the right people, for example, because we know how costly it can be—both in time and money—to make a mistake and choose the wrong applicant.

If you’re reading this, you may already be familiar with pre-employment assessments, or you could have gotten here through a related internet search. You may also know that pre-employment assessments can help you look deeper than resumes and interviews to see what really motivates your job candidate. By measuring people’s behavioral tendencies, we can see whether they possess the interpersonal and listening dynamics for consultative sales, for example, or the detail focus and thoroughness for an auditing job.

But just like when you use a laser interferometer to spy on gravitational waves (hey, what you do in your personal time is your business), you need a scientifically validated tool to accurately measure your job candidate’s behavioral tendencies. In other words (and this is important), not all pre-employment assessments are created equal.

Frankly, anyone can whip up a meaningless questionnaire and call it a personality assessment, and just because a free app is fun and looks cool, that doesn’t mean it does what it’s supposed to do. When exploring which assessment to use for your hiring decisions, ask the company that makes it to cough up some proof of validity. Or, you know, go to the top of this page and click on some of those links.

A good personality assessment is like a time machine: It lets you see 6 months into the future to determine how your applicant is likely to perform on the job. No, it can’t travel backward in time and stop you from making the wrong hire in the past, but neither can a laser interferometer, and I guarantee one of those is way more expensive.