Behavioral testing doesn’t predict success: what does?

As more employers turn to behavioral, personality or psychometric testing to help their hiring processes, more are finding the tools are no arbiter of success. One of the most popular behavioral tests, the Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator has been used by employers for over 70 years. The test was developed by a mother-daughter team to help “appreciate your own strengths, gifts, and potential developmental needs,” and “understand and appreciate how other people may differ from you.”

Although the Myers & Briggs Foundation clearly states that “it is not ethical to use the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) instrument for hiring or for deciding job assignments,”  it and other behavioral tests like it, have been misleading employers for decades. MBTI was never intended to predict job performance: it, and many other personality tests have be shown to be inaccurate at best, misleading at worst.  Some are based on outdated science; some are unreliable and many were never designed to predict job performance. Imagine using any other product that old to assess today’s job seeker: MBTI was created in 1943.

And if the testing itself isn’t questionable, a quick internet search of “how to beat personality testing” can yield up to 1 million results. It seems for every test recruiters turn to, a cottage industry pops up with ways to beat the system. Why do employers rely on them? Is it just a bad habit, or are they using them because they can’t find anything more worthwhile?

Testing that really predicts success

There is value in pre-employment testing, but not the way you’re probably doing it. How can testing for personality traits determine whether or not a candidate will be successful writing code? How can a test that measures leadership predict who will be successful in data analysis? If you’re looking for a candidate who does nothing but “lead” all day, you might be in luck. If you need someone to actually generate work product, look for tests that directly measure what skills and competencies you require.

The only testing that can determine ability on the job is job-specific: if you’re looking for a software developer, a cyber-security expert, network architect or any of the endless variety of jobs in IT, testing for specific skills and competencies is the only way to predict whether they can do the job. All other testing is extraneous: a waste of your time and theirs, a waste of resources and an unlikely forecast of success.

Tried and true

Every school child is given baseline tests: schools want to know where the child should be placed to get the most of their education: are they advanced, average or do they need extra help? This pattern of testing and placing continues through university level: with SAT scores helping college hopefuls find the right fit for their needs and abilities.  Assessment tests are time-honored and proven for generations. Yet we stop performing these when they could be the most beneficial: when matching skills and capabilities could translate to job success for the candidate and a great hire for the employer.

It’s time to stop wasting time and resources on tests that don’t assess abilities and competencies.  A test for the specific skills necessary to perform the work is the only real arbiter of success. It doesn’t matter if a candidate is an introvert or an extrovert if they can’t define HTML5.

At Rankdone, we provide assessment testing that tells you exactly and only what you need to know: specific skills and competencies. You can be confident of every hire you make when you let Rankdone pre-qualify candidates to make sure they have the talent you need to get the job done. Stop wasting money on meaningless behavioral tests and uncovering meaningless data: use the tests that are tried and true. Contact us today.


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