General Question

Crumpet's avatar

Psychometric Tests?

Asked by Crumpet (1785 points ) February 21st, 2013

I have been asked to complete a psychometric test for a job application.
I have a rough idea of what it may involve, but I’m curious to see how others may have done on these tests.
So if you have had to complete one of these tests for any reason, how did you find it?
Was it easy? Difficult?
And what advice can you offer me?

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12 Answers

thorninmud's avatar

Just a tip: don’t try to game the test by trying to figure out which answer will be most favorably viewed. Most well-designed psychometric tests anticipate this, and have a built-in BS measure. If the test returns a high BS score, that won’t help your cause. Just answer honestly.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

Try and relax and just take the task seriously. Don’t overthink things. There are no hidden meanings in the questions, Just answer honestly because you can’t fake your way into a more favourable outcome.

wundayatta's avatar

I’m not sure I’d want to work for a company that used these tests. But if I really did, then I would moderate my responses to the questions, and if they asked the same question many different ways, I’d answer it pretty similarly each time.

I’m sure you can spoof these tests if you want to. It’s not that hard. They can try to build in BS detectors, but if you are consistent, they can’t catch you out. Consistent, but not too consistent. Moderate.

I disagree with @Dr_Lawrence in that I’m pretty sure you could answer the test the way they want you to—that is, not set off any warning signals.

Think about stealing. Everybody steals, or so they believe, so if you say you never steal, that might set off a warning signal. But if you admit to doing it once or twice in a minor way, that might be seen as fine. But if you say you do it all the time, that would be a problem.

The tests are bullshit. I would have no problem manipulating them. But then, I’d never work for someone who used them. To me, that says they are lazy. They can’t be bothered to evaluate people the only meaningful way: in person, and with a tryout period.

Kardamom's avatar

^^ Man, you are on fire tonight!!! I don’t like the idea of lie detector tests for the same reasons you mentioned about these kinds of tests @wundayatta. I’m pretty much of a goody two shoes, as you well know, but I’m afraid I would fail both the lie detector test and the psychometric tests simply because they make me nervous, not because I would lie or try to beat the test. Even if the tests were asking me if I like food. LOL

wundayatta's avatar

This is an example of the psychological drama a psychometric test brings out:

Do you like food, @Kardamom? You better be telling the truth now? Your future depends on it! I will be reporting the results to the FBI, the CIA, and to Mimi Sheraton, herself. So do not fail me. Do not lie. Do not tell the truth. Just be yourself.

So tell me. Do YOU like food?

Hmmmmm?

I’m watching you and there is a videotape!

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

@wundayatta Any attempt you would make to fack the more sophisticated tests like the MMPI would yield an invalid profile that would identify you as deceptive as well as some more ugly personality characteristics. As a trained expert in the design and assessment of psychological assessment tools, I can assure you that even experts rarely can fake such a test and yield a valid profile.

I do not approve of the use of such tests outside clinical settings. They should not be used in recruiting candidates for most normal employment positions!

wundayatta's avatar

@Dr_Lawrence You’re not the only trained expert around here. I consult with academics who are designing questionnaires, including some whose names you would probably recognize. I think I could skew the answers… no, I know I could skew the answers in a way that no one would be able to detect.

Any kind of weird answers would be detected statistically. If you understand how that works, you could pretty easily make sure your fakery stays within likely statistical limits that would signal something was wrong. And not only can someone who is trained do this, but I am pretty sure that anyone with any common sense at all could do it. If you read this description of the mmpi, you’d have an even greater understanding of the ways they detect dissembling, and you could adjust for it.

These tests are not magic. Statistics are not magic. It’s all common sense.

You could only be defeated in this if there were patterns of behavior that are not common knowledge. If you are relatively well read about human behavior, you could fake it pretty easily and I doubt if the best psychometricians could catch it.

zensky's avatar

@Kardamom -I’m a goody two shoes as yoou well know…

Kardy, babes, I know about your orgies. I won’t post links – but they’re there.

Kardamom's avatar

^^ Ha! LOL

zensky's avatar

Oh yes.

wundayatta's avatar

Don’t be sore now, @zensky. Just because you didn’t get an invitation.

antimatter's avatar

Honesty is the best policy…
It’s not a good idea to try to fake those test, those test are there for a reason.
I have written four and I was honest every time, got my last promotion that way.
I’ll say it again…honesty is the best policy…

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