Self validating tests
Beginning in the 20 century, society has viewed intelligence almost exclusively through the lens of intelligence quotient (“IQ”) tests. IQ tests have the advantage of being very reliable, but they are limited in that they measure abstract reasoning and verbal fluency. In 1990 Peter Salovey and John Mayer proposed an additional intelligence: emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is comprised of four components: First, people need to be able to accurately perceive emotions in themselves and others and have the ability to express their own emotions effectively.Second, people need to be aware of how their emotions shape their thinking, decisions, and coping mechanisms.One possibility for the relatively low correlation rates is that the data has not been interpreted properly.A 2011 study has found evidence for a curvilinear relationship between personality traits and job performance, while all the earlier studies assumed a linear relationship. This suggests that for complex jobs, high personality scores may correlate better to ultimate job success. Emotional Intelligence As the name implies, emotional intelligence (“EQ”) is not a personality trait but a type of intelligence.A quick search on the Internet will find advice on how to fake these tests.One article, geared toward lawyers seeking employment with firms who conduct personality or EQ tests, notes: I’m not convinced that you can’t ‘game’ the test to some extent.
Such was the case in 2011 when a study, relying on much more data than the 1995 sample, could not support the earlier claim that EQ predicts job performance. Although the exact role EQ plays in the workplace is still up for debate, it is reasonable to assume from the multitude of studies linking EQ to various performance factors that a valid and reliable emotional intelligence test used in selection process should result in useful data.
Applicant Faking To the extent that personality and EQ tests are used in hiring, the issue of applicant faking needs to be addressed.
Faking is defined “as the tendency to deliberately present oneself in a more positive manner than is accurate in order to meet the perceived demands of the testing situation.” The concern is that a person with high cognitive abilities will have the intellectual skill necessary to identify the answers that will maximize their chances of getting a position.
So here are my tips for ‘passing’ the test: One recent study found faked answers for one quarter to one half of the applicants. So how can employers who want to use personality or EQ tests in their selection process mitigate against the risk of applicant faking?
Counter-measures to faking include the test and retest approach to see if an individual is consistent in their answers, or asking questions that require quick responses. But counter-measures to faking may result in less reliable and valid results since some tools used to detect faking do not work well. Skepticism in Personality Testing There are some skeptics in the general population who are derisive of these tests because they feel the questions posed in them are irrelevant to determining a person’s personality or emotional intelligence.
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“Personality refers to an individual’s unique constellation of consistent behavioral traits” and “emotional intelligence consists of the ability to perceive and express emotion, assimilate emotion in thought, understand and reason with emotion, and regulate emotion.” By using a scientific approach in hiring, employers can increase their number of successful employees.