Emotional Intelligence update: Forbes slams MBTI

There was a terrific article in Forbes (29 May 2015) by Camille Chatterjee: Interview Test Prep: 6 Common Personality Assessments — And How Employers Use Them.

To quote the articles beginning:

Once upon a time all you needed to land a new job was a typo-free résumé, some interview smarts, and a few good references. But these days more and more candidates are finding that getting the gig may very well come down to … your innate personality? According to a 2014 trends report from business advisory company CEB, 62% of human resources professionals are using personality tests to vet candidates in the hiring process. That’s compared to less than 50% in 2010, according to research firm Aberdeen Group.

The message that personality testing is now used by the majority of organisations is not new although I must confess I was surprise by the rapid growth in penetration. However where the article was interesting is that it went on to assess the most popular personality tests. Three popular personality tests pass the, well, test—and two actually fail because they say very little about your at-work worthiness.

The three tests given the thumbs up were:

The Caliper Profile – This assessment, which has been around for some 50 years, measures personality traits—from assertiveness to thoroughness—that relate to key skills needed on the job, such as leadership ability and time management. Unlike other tests, it examines both positive and negative qualities that, together, provide insight into what really motivates a person.

Gallup StrengthsFinder – This test was created a few decades ago, when research by Gallup (suggested that personality assessments focused too much on weaknesses. Gallup looks at strengths that are real indicators of success, rather than simply sussing out people’s negatives and downsides.

16PF Questionnaire – This test was devised in 1949 by psychologist Raymond Cattell, who identified 16 traits that we all posses in varying degrees, like warmth and tension. The 170 questions on the test differ from those on most other personality assessments in that they ask how you might react to a certain situation on the job, rather than get you to describe your overall personality in some way. Thanks to its focus on practical situations rather than general personality traits it is described as a “terrific instrument” for hiring and also for employee development.

The tests given the thumbs down were:

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator – Probably one of the most well-known personality tests around, the Myers-Briggs looks at where you fall in four different dichotomies—sensing or intuition, introversion or extroversion, thinking or feeling, and judging or perceiving—to come up with 16 different personality types labeled by combos of initials. Around 80% of new hires at Fortune 500 companies are given the MBTI, and countless other companies use it as part of the actual employee selection process, according to CPP, the test’s exclusive publisher.

Essentially, Myers-Briggs is designed to suss out innate preferences. Although MBTI is an interesting tool for self-discovery (“Me? An extrovert?”), it has not been proven to be valid for job selection. According to the article HR departments who choose employees based on its results could miss out on superstars who might actually excel in a given position, or mistakenly bring on workers that don’t live up to expectations—all because they relied too much on what they thought the MBTI was telling them.

Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory – Unlike the other tests, which can be taken online or administered by HR professionals, the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI-2) can only be given and interpreted by a psychologist. The information that it asks about is not business-related and companies that have tried to use it, have been taken to court, and lost.

Forbes is to be congratulated for publishing this article. As readers would know I like the 7MTF/Humm-Wadsworth because it is a practical tool for measuring the seven core components of your temperament.

People drive performance, emotions drive people, temperament drives emotions.

Emotional Intelligence is achieving self- and social mastery by being smart with core emotions.

Self-Mastery = Awareness + Management (Steps 1 & 2 as defined by Goleman)

Social Mastery = Empathy + Social Skills (Steps 3 &4 as defined by Goleman

However the key to emotional intelligence is understanding your core emotions compared to your transient emotions. Your core emotions are driven by your temperament – what you are genetically born with. Based on a study of 11,000 identical twins nature is around twice as important as nurture. I have found the 7MTF/Humm-Wadsworth model of seven core emotions the most practical tool for people to use and once understood (takes a day) dramatically lifts their emotional intelligence. If you want to learn about the Humm download a free white paper on using Emotional Intelligence in either selling or management . 

My e-books available in Kindle format explain the technique in more detail.


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