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Are Personal Profile Tests Worthless?

For decades there has been considerable debate surrounding the Meyers/Briggs and other personality profiling testing. They seem to focus on observable effects rather than innate causes. However, some managers find them useful.

Do you think they should be used to hire sales trainees? - by John Voris
Hello John. I imagine the answer depends on the quality of testing, interpretation of results, and to what end those results are being used. With that being said, IF the purpose of the testing is to predict future behavior THEN I would not assign much worth to such tests. - by Jeff Blackwell
Hello John. I imagine the answer depends on the quality of testing, interpretation of results, and to what end those results are being used. With that being said, IF the purpose of the testing is to predict future behavior THEN I would not assign much worth to such tests.
Thanks Jeff,

It seems there is a disconnect between calibrating what one does and why they do it. We know there is a connection but this inductive approach only causes confusion.

There is the visible world that our senses contact but more importantly there is an invisible world that gives it meaning.
How can a test access the invisible by focusing only on the visible? - by John Voris
It seems there is a disconnect between calibrating what one does and why they do it.
In some circles, perhaps the uninitiated and/or "Personal Profiles for Money" arena, this may be true.

There is the visible world that our senses contact but more importantly there is an invisible world that gives it meaning.
Yes, each of us "makes sense" of our subjective reality in our own way.

How can a test access the invisible by focusing only on the visible?
It cannot. - by Jeff Blackwell
In some circles, perhaps the uninitiated and/or "Personal Profiles for Money" arena, this may be true.

Yes, each of us "makes sense" of our subjective reality in our own way.

It cannot.
Personality profile tests seem to be assessing a process and not an entity.

Does a personality make decisions?

Does a personality feel the pressure to secure a profit?

Does the law seek to convict personalities?

Do we talk to a personality or the whole person?

Do we negotiate with the personality or the reasoning person?

Do we sell the car to the personality or the need?

If they are measuring the style of individual expression and not the source, why have them as a decision-making tool in the workplace at all?

What do you think? And, don't ask your personality! - by John Voris
You can find several definitions of the word, "personality."

I suspect that that people who devise personal profile tests are focusing on personality while using a definition close to this, which I found:
The visible aspect of one's character as it impresses others.
Makes sense, right? We could expect that certain personal traits and demeanor would either contribute to, or diminish the probability, that an individual would be able to influence others towards an idea or agreement.

On a broad scale, would this person be able to work well with others (clients, peers, bosses, and subordinates)?

"Skin deep" comes to mind. I like to think that there is as much of a place for "movers and shakers" in selling as there is in other practices. And--frankly, when I examine those "stand out" individuals from those I've known, and those I've become aware of, their personality traits haven't always been glossy.

I interpret what John is talking about as "what lies beneath." In my studies, I was influenced by Viktor Frankl, his work in logotherapy, and his eyewitness accounts, revealed in his Man's Search for Meaning, of the critical importance of meaning in a person's life as determinants of the path that person takes.

Can a personal profile test calibrate Passion? Love? Intention? - by Gary A Boye
Hi Gary!

Ah--another Frankl reader. If anyone really wants to know what motivates people, all they need to do is read Viktor or accounts of World War II death camp survivors.

What motivates someone who has lost everything that ever had any meaning for them in life? What is left to motivate? What is behind the motivation to survive? After all, even physical survival is a choice.

In fact, there are oral histories pointing out that none of the conventional ideas regarding human motivation, found in seminars today, ever occurred in the death camps. These accounts reveal raw human motivation at its real core.

As someone who researches human motivation, I have found that once you eliminate all of the reasons we should have for our behavior, according to the contemporary gurus, there is an intrinsic sustained criteria that personality alone cannot reveal.

The visible aspect of one's character as it impresses others.

The above is a very succinct definition. Personality is only the surface tension protecting our fragile identities that lie beneath.

( I also use the foundations of logo-therapy in my symbolic assessment of my clients)

My point is to strip away the myths of "personality profiling" and begin to question their efficacy in the business environment. - by John Voris
I prefer the following definition: "Personality is the particular combination of emotional, attitudinal, and behavioral response patterns of an individual."

It does appear as though the focus of personality testing is not on Cause (i.e., "The Why") but Effect (i.e., Behavior Response Patterns). Perhaps someone knows otherwise.

In my opinion, accurate interpretation of behavior response patterns (i.e., thinking, feeling, wanting, doing) as a tool for better predicting future behavior is dependent upon an understanding of "The Why" (i.e., beliefs, values, rules, experience, frames, meta-programs). - by Jeff Blackwell
I prefer the following definition: "Personality is the particular combination of emotional, attitudinal, and behavioral response patterns of an individual."
I agree that your preferred definition is more comprehensive.

My assumption (because I don't know for sure) is that the creators of Personal Profile Tests use for testing sales job candidates would be:

The visible aspect of one's character as it impresses others.


My reasoning is indicated by the words I highlighted in Bold. - by Gary A Boye
@Gary - I agree with the thoughts you put forth. My last post was coming at the topic from a different angle. I did so because I believe mastery in selling demands those understandings.

@John - IMO, the "I" that is me should not be confused with the behavioral response patterns I exhibit as those are nothing but manifestations of the inner workings (structure and content) of my mind at a certain location in time and space.

You can directly observe my behaviors but you cannot directly observe the workings of my mind nor the "I" that is me. - by Jeff Blackwell
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