Does the Industrial Psychologist know who moved my cheese?
April 26, 2007 6:22 PM   Subscribe

What kind of tests might an industrial psychologist give me?

I have a job interview tomorrow, and I noticed that the job description states that candidates will undergo testing by an industrial psychologist. What kind of test might this be?
posted by ubu to Work & Money (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
posted by edgeways at 6:43 PM on April 26, 2007

ooo, ooo call on me! I took I/O psych last year (flexes brain).

Ahem, well, let's see. What you'll be getting is a personality assessment where they try to see if your personality, as quanitifed by various tests fit their ideal candidates personality (whether this is correlated to reality remains to be seen - but that's not the point here).

Some of the more popular tests today include the 16PF, the MBTI, the MMPI, occasionally the TAT. There are definitely more, but I can't think of them off hand and I sold my book from that semester. If I think of more later I'll drop on by.
posted by jourman2 at 6:55 PM on April 26, 2007

Another theory that seems prevalent in I/O now is the Big Five. This test tests it.

The important thing to remember is don't try to fake it. There are built in questions that are kind of a litmus test to see if someone is "trying" to show a certain type of personality. Unless you know which questions are there to trick you, it's pretty hard to pick up on. So answer truthfully. My 2c.
posted by jourman2 at 7:08 PM on April 26, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks for the info. I won't try to trick any tests or anything (really hope I wouldn't need to!), but I do wonder what the point of the test is. To weed out psychos? Or do they make all the people working there take the test and then try to analyze how well you will fit in? I guess I'm just curious as to what they hope to achieve with these tests. . .
posted by ubu at 7:44 PM on April 26, 2007

I work for an HR consulting firm that does a whole lot of testing. It's tough to say which tests you'll get; I agree with the MBTI as being especially likely and further agree with the suggestion that you not try to fake your answers. It's easy to tell who's trying to sway the results, and it looks suspicious.
Also keep in mind that you might be given tests of cognitive ability. The Wesman, for instance, gives you a series of analogies like from the SATs (summer is to hot as winter is to _____). There's another one, Raven's, that shows you a pattern of images and asks you to choose the next step in the pattern. Unlike personality tests, they're usually timed and there's only one right answer. Unfortunately, there's also no way to study for them. The best advice I can give is try not to stress about it. Just think through the questions as calmly as you can.
posted by Help, I can't stop talking! at 7:45 PM on April 26, 2007

As for why they want the results, it's a job fit thing. Like, if you're applying for a really creative, changeable role but the test shows that you prefer routine, then you're not going to be satisfied with the position and there's a greater risk that you'll quit sooner. It's not that they're looking for a bunch of the same type to work for them; it's that they want to be sure you'll actually tolerate your job (and thus stay with the company for longer).
posted by Help, I can't stop talking! at 7:48 PM on April 26, 2007

yes, seconding HIcst's sentiments. Here's a quick article in the WSJ about pre-employment personality tests. Basically it's an I/O psychologist discussing why companies use personality tests, and how they use them.
posted by jourman2 at 8:16 PM on April 26, 2007

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