Thursday, March 31, 2011

What Color is My Parachute? Do You Know?

Can we just talk about personality tests for a minute? When did personality tests become so pervasive in the recruiting world? I know I have been out of the HR game for a few years now, but I have kept up with trade publications and must have missed the issue on TEST, TEST, TEST. I have taken so many different personality tests in my lifetime as a Psych major and then as an HR professional, but feel like I may be taking more as a candidate for employment. I mean, before you even meet or speak to me, I need to take 5 personality tests to prove my worth? Really. Is this cost effective? It seems that you would weed out a lot of the unqualifieds just through a simple phone screen, and save a lot of money in the process.

Let's take my most recent job opportunity (which I am hoping turns into something solid because it's a great company). A friend referred me to HR (which is pretty much the only way to even have your resume seen by actual eyeballs), she told HR she wanted me in the sales pipeline for future opportunities that she will have in the next month or so. I then have to go online and apply for a "fake" job just to get in the system. Then HR emails me a link to fill out a more in depth application and upload my references. Cool. Then HR emails me a personality test. No biggie, it's because I'm already in the pipeline so I'm getting fast-tracked. I do the personality test (which is always hard for me because my Psych brain and my HR brain are at war analyzing the best way to answer and my gut is saying "just answer it!"). After the 30 minute personality test, I email HR to let them know it's completed. HR emails me another link for a more in-depth personality test for just sales candidates. Okay. I start the test. Three questions in and there is a word problem. WTF? How does a word problem help you analyze my personality? Also, when you tell someone it's a personality test, that is timed, you should also warn them if there will be math. I needed an f'ing calculator! I grabbed pen and paper and my cell calculator and got to work. Can I tell you how much I hate word problems? I do. I'm not bad at math by any means, but I have always got the cold sweats from word problems. Whatever. I get it done. Move on, more personality questions. Crap, another word problem. But wait, this one requires me to remember the basic area of a triangle in order to answer it. No kidding. Geometry. People, I sucked at geometry. Also, I haven't had to do it or use it since early HS. I don't know how I remembered 180 degrees, but I did (please tell me that's right, I never googled after to check). Anywho, I get through it and some additional reading comprehension questions which were ridiculous. Whew! A few hours after the test, I get a call from the outsourced company that administers the test and they want to set up a phone screen for me. Okay, why isn't the company's HR doing this? Apparently the outsourced personality company pre-screens candidates that pass the personality test before they are moved on to interviews with the actual company. Weird, but okay. Phone screen is set up and I'm ready. Phone screen time comes and goes, and I am stood up. Yep, they forgot to call. I call them and reschedule. The second phone screen starts late and the person I am supposed to be speaking with (who originally stood me up) is busy so someone else is handling the phone interview for him. Okay, whatever. The chat goes well and he tells me that I will be forwarded as a candidate for sales positions at the company. But he won't reveal any of the personality test results with me....unless I am actually hired. Annoying.

Am I crazy, but doesn't that seem like a lot of testing and applications? I still haven't even talked to anyone at the actual company...and I am a referred candidate. Crazy. What happened to actually talking to a candidate yourself and making an assessment. Personality tests are great, especially when used as a tool to strengthen your interview or for leadership training....but 3 tests before even talking to the hiring manager? Seems a bit much. Lucrative if you are the testing vendor, and I would love to get in on that business. Cha-Ching.

UPDATE: My friend called me today and we spoke about setting up a meeting for next week. Turns out that there will be an opening on her team sooner rather than later, so I will be considered for a position under her purview. Fingers crossed that all goes well. Also I passed all of the personality tests and scored well for a sales candidate. Good to know...since I was a successful sales person.


Beckers said...

Hooray for good news on the job front! I wonder if companies just have too many applicants to process in person, so they're turning to personality tests in lieu of, y'know, talking to people? If I have to do a personality test for my next job, I will laugh so hard: I've been a SAS programmer for 10 years, doesn't that tell you enough about my personality?! ;)

Breezy said...