Personality testing, sales and construction marketing

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For several years, our business has used personality tests at the earliest stages of considering whether to hire new sales representatives.  We’ve used the tests from salestestonline.com at a relatively reasonable cost until one of our business consultants offered his own test with unlimited use, for a flat annual fee.  The new test option is much less elegant than salestestonline’s products which generate comprehensive reports that you can send to your successful candidates and to the “failures” who insist they really are good despite the results.

Only a dumb business person would rely exclusively on these tests — or any other single resource — in evaluating candidates, but I’ve always considered it vitally important to gain control of the hiring process from the “resume” and “interview” system, which encourage potential employees to dress up their image to make them look good for any job, whether or not they are truly suitable.  Instead, we use the tests to provide a third-party benchmark, and our own customized pre-employment questionnaires, which take the standard interview questions and add some aptitude and character evaluation to the process.  Then we put the candidates to work for a week or so, with pay, to see if they have the right stuff.  (That, and thorough reference checking, are our last lines of defense from bad hires.)

Of course, when you go out into the marketplace and evaluate psychological testing — and, if you wish, professional psychological services — be aware that fees can be hefty.  Thorough psychological workouts are probably only appropriate for exceptional situations or you will blow your HR budget through the roof.

Conversely, for fun, and may be some insights, you can experiment with some free resources on the Internet.  For example, one of the standard psychological tests is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. Humanmetrics.com provides a free “online test based on Jung and Briggs Myers personality approach provides your type formula, type description, and career choices.”

This test scored me as an INFJ, suggesting I am a:

  • moderately expressed introvert
  • distinctively expressed intuitive personality
  • moderately expressed feeling personality
  • moderately expressed judging personality

The strongest indicator, the test indicates, is I’m intuitive.

Apparently, Immanual Kant, William Shakespeare, Ludwig Beethoven, Pearl Buck and Arthur C. Clarke share this personality type, and the top-listed vocation for my type of personality is  . . . writing.

Guess that describes me, to some extent.  After all, I have always earned my living with words.  But if you believe this is the whole picture, you are missing much.  Certainly, use the tests in evaluating yourself and your prospective and possibly current employees — just don’t stake everything on a single test result.

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