For more see the full article at Northcentral University Higher Degrees Fall 2013
For more see the full article at Northcentral University Higher Degrees Fall 2013
HR professionals within organizations have given personality assessments to potential employees for many years. I was asked to take a personality assessment for a pharmaceutical sales job in 1987. The changes I have noticed since that time include the type and frequency of personality tests given. What also may be trending is the fact that leaders of schools have become more interested in personality assessments. In the Wall Street Journal article Business Schools Know How You Think, but How Do You Feel, author Melissa Korn explained, “Prospective MBA students need to shine by showing emotional traits like empathy, motivation, resilience, and dozens of others.” Schools may be interested in these traits because organizations value these traits. Korn also explained, “Measuring EQ-or emotional intelligence quotient-is the latest attempt by business schools to identify future stars.”
I find this trend to be particularly interesting because I teach business, I am a qualified Myers Briggs instructor, a certified EQ-i instructor, and I wrote my dissertation on the relationship between emotional intelligence and sales performance. I have also witnessed that online schools have placed more importance on personality assessments. Many of my first-year students must take a Jung-like personality test. Many of my undergraduate and graduate business students have to assess their EQ.
I think it is important for these personality preference and emotional intelligence issues to be addressed in online courses. Some of the things that may hurt a graduate’s chance of obtaining is job include having poor self-assessment skills, poor interpersonal skills, and a lack of concern for how they are perceived by others.
When I was in pharmaceutical sales, they rated us each year on our concern for impact. It was such an important part of what they believed made us successful in the field, that there were consequences to poor judgment and rude behavior. In the book, It’s Not You It’s Your Personality, there is a chapter regarding concern for impact, as well as one for Myers Briggs MBTI, Emotional Intelligence, DISC, and many other personality assessments that may help young adults in the workplace. One of the universities for which I teach requires students to read this book in a foresight course.
It is important for online students to learn about these assessments because employers use them. Some personality traits stay with us throughout our lives. The MBTI is an example of an assessment that determines preferences that may not change. This assessment may be helpful to students who are not sure about career paths. Other assessments like the EQ-i determine emotional intelligence levels. The good news about emotional intelligence is that it may be improved. Marcia Hughes has written several books about how to improve EQ in the workplace. The savvy online students will work on developing their EQ and understanding personality preferences before they graduate. By being proactive, students may have a better chance of being successful in a career that matches their personality preferences.
QuantMethod is a site that offers ways to help companies market to customers based upon understanding their personality type. The Quant Method assessment puts people into 1 out of 4 categories. According to their site, these types include:
I took the test and I came out as a thinker. I assumed I’d either be that or a mastermind. The results don’t tell you how close you are to another personality type. The site claims that my results puts me into the same category as George Washington, Michael Caine, Donald Duck, Eliot Ness, and Johnny Carson. Hmmm … interesting group … especially Donald Duck. Apparently half of U.S. presidents are “thinkers”.
In the results, it listed tactics about how to appeal to this type of personality in terms of suggested sales tactics.
This company surveys customers to find out their personality type. They claim their instrument is similar to Myers-Briggs MBTI but with 1/6 the size. The thought process behind this business is that people like to deal with others that are on their same level of thinking.
Time Magazine article Get Personal with Marketing and Net More Sales reported that this Quant Method may be helpful because, “Knowing more about personality types can help you optimize email messages and websites to include specific landing pages with information that the four different personality types like in order increase conversion rates.”
While I find this to be an interesting way to market, it may be difficult to get people to respond to these assessments. When marketing to a large database, it is not feasible. I like the concept of targeting to the individual’s needs. The real trick would be to get people to actually take the assessment.
The Myers-Briggs MBTI assessment claims it can help determine whether a person is an introvert or an extravert. According to the official Myers-Briggs site, people know they are an extravert if they think things like, “I like getting my energy from active involvement in events and having a lot of different activities. I’m excited when I’m around people and I like to energize other people. I like moving into action and making things happen. I generally feel at home in the world. I often understand a problem better when I can talk out loud about it and hear what others have to say.”
I have received the training to be a qualified Myers-Briggs instructor. Whenever I have taken the MBTI assessment, my score or preference for extraversion is very high. According to these results, “I am seen as “outgoing” or as a “people person.” I feel comfortable in groups and like working in them. I have a wide range of friends and know lots of people. I sometimes jump too quickly into an activity and don’t allow enough time to think it over. Before I start a project, I sometimes forget to stop and get clear on what I want to do and why.”
Lately I’ve considered that I may be a bit of a reluctant extravert. Many of these points just do not fit me. I would say that most people that meet me would consider me outgoing. I do like to talk. I have a hard time handling “dead air”. I also like to have a lot to do. These are definitely extraverted traits. However, usually I prefer to avoid being around a lot of people. Many of the above-listed points do not really describe me at all. For example, I don’t jump into things without a great deal of thought.
Why would my score come out as having a high preference for extraversion? In my training, they explained that we can act more introverted or extraverted based on a situation. I think it can be difficult to lump people into categories or types. I think Myers-Briggs does it as well as any assessment can. However, even in the training I received, they acknowledged that we are all different. No one is always one way or another. It is about preferences. Our preference for introversion or extraversion is similar in how we prefer to be right-handed or left-handed. We might be able to write with both, but we prefer one over the other. We may be able to be outgoing or not, but we prefer one over the other.
One of the reasons I co-wrote the book It’s Not You It’s Your Personality is because I don’t think any “one” personality assessment can truly explain people. There are many theories about personality that need exploration. I felt that the Big Five, Management by Strengths, DISC, and other assessments offered some valid insight into people’s personalities. While I highly recommend learning about Myers-Briggs and the MBTI, I also think some of the other assessments are worth researching as well.
Companies often use personality tests like the Myers Briggs MBTI, emotional intelligence EQ-i, or others like the DISC to determine if potential employees’ personalities are a good fit for jobs. I noticed a conversation about whether companies should use personality tests for screening employees. It seemed that many of the responses indicated that people will just lie to get the job.
There is the possibility that any subjective, self-administered test could be manipulated. However, many of the tests have built-in detectors that try to catch inconsistent responses. For those of you who have taken these tests, you may have noticed that it seemed like they asked the same kind of questions more than once. Many of these tests reword things several different ways to determine consistency.
I took a personality test for a job as a pharmaceutical representative in the early 80’s. Because it was a sales job, I knew that they were looking for sales-related qualities. It was common sense to figure out that since I was applying for a sales position, I should use appropriate adjectives like motivated or driven to describe my personality.
The problem with lying on the personality tests is that in the end, you will end up with a job that does not really fit with what makes you happy. Also the company will end up with an employee that is not the best match for the job. In this economy, many people are willing to do whatever it takes to get any job. However, the experienced HR professional should do more than just use a personality test to determine a good candidate. These tests can be useful tools if used correctly. However, they are just one of many tools.
They say you can’t judge a book from its cover but can you judge someone’s personality by his or her shoes? That is something that researchers considered in a study published in the Journal of Research in Personality. “Participants provided photographs of their shoes, and during a separate session completed self-report measures. Coders rated the shoes on various dimensions, and these ratings were found to correlate with the owners’ personal characteristics. A new group of participants accurately judged the age, gender, income, and attachment anxiety of shoe owners based solely on the pictures. Shoes can indeed be used to evaluate others, at least in some domains.”
Boston.com reported, “researchers asked 63 undergraduate students to look at more than 200 photos of favorite shoes that were submitted by fellow students and to rate the wearers personalities, whether they were clingy or detached in their relationships, and whether their political ideology was liberal or conservative.” Although respondents guessed that liberals wore less attractive or less stylish shoes, that wasn’t the reality. Another misconception was that attractive people with well-kept shoes were more conscientious. Self-assessments proved otherwise. “Some of the conclusions drawn, however, were fairly obvious: Attractive and stylish shoes were correctly correlated with a higher income.”
Harvard Business Review recently published an article about how having women on a team makes the team smarter. Although they didn’t find a correlation between the collective intelligence of the group and the IQ of individuals within that group, they did find that if women were in the group, the collective intelligence was higher.
The Female Factor: The chart plots the collective intelligence scores of the 192 teams in the study against the percentage of women those teams contained. The red bars indicate the range of scores in the group of teams at each level, and the blue circles, the average. Teams with more women tended to fall above the average; teams with more men tended to fall below it.
Professors Anita Wooley (Carnegie Mellon) and Thomas Malone (MIT) gave “subjects aged 18 to 60 standard intelligence tests and assigned them randomly to teams. Each team was asked to complete several tasks—including brainstorming, decision making, and visual puzzles—and to solve one complex problem. Teams were given intelligence scores based on their performance. Though the teams that had members with higher IQs didn’t earn much higher scores, those that had more women did.”
Finding the right mix of people on a team has been a consideration many organizations have dealt with in the past. These researchers hope to see how this information can help teams perform better in the future through changing members or incentives.
In the past, I taught teams how to get along better through the use of the Myers Briggs MBTI personality assessment instrument. Through understanding personalities, team members could learn about each other’s preferences for how they like to obtain information. This became more useful to the team as a whole. In my training experience, I found that even if a team had members with high IQ’s, they needed to understand why other members of the teams did the things they did and required the information they required in the format that fit their needs. It was important to understand the collective needs of the team in order for the team to be successful.
With the study by Wooley and Malone, they bring up the use of their findings in understanding collective intelligence. According to Malone, “Families, companies, and cities all have collective intelligence. But as face-to-face groups get bigger, they’re less able to take advantage of their members. That suggests size could diminish group intelligence. But we suspect that technology may allow a group to get smarter as it goes from 10 people to 50 to 500 or even 5,000. Google’s harvesting of knowledge, Wikipedia’s high-quality product with almost no centralized control—these are just the beginning. What we’re starting to ask is, How can you increase the collective intelligence of companies, or countries, or the whole world?”