Where Psychopaths Come from

Topics: Psychometrics, Psychology, Personality psychology Pages: 6 (1593 words) Published: May 9, 2013
Psychological Testing in the Workplace
Psychological testing has found a valuable place in selecting and retaining employees. Psychological tests measure a variety of characteristics and traits, including personality. Ultimately, they are used to match a person's capacities and qualifying characteristics to a job within an organization. Other than employee selection, testing accommodates the retention of employees through assessing their abilities and performance along with other important information. Although ethical issues exist, many types of psychological testing is both valid and reliable and a benefit for both the prospective or current employee and the organization when used appropriately (Spector, 2008).

Specific Psychological Testing used in the Workplace

Psychological tests are standardized questions or problems that assist in assessing a specific characteristic or group of characteristics in an individual (Spector, 2008). Typically, they assess knowledge, skills, abilities, attitudes, interests, and personality types. They are usually easily applied, completed quickly, and often made to assess several characteristics in one test. Many companies and websites have tests available online, which makes the application easier for the taker and the organization (Spector, 2008).

Personality Tests

Personality Tests assess innate predispositions and tendencies to behave in similar ways in different situations. Some personality types can predict certain behaviors that may be important in certain jobs and organizations (Spector, 2008). These tests can provide an abundance of information on a single trait or entire personality profiles. Furthermore, personality tests can assess the Big Five personality dimensions of extroversion, emotional stability, agreeableness, openness to experience, and conscientiousness. Understanding personality types can be valuable in determining appropriate candidates for specific jobs. For example, in a position that requires sales and constant communication with people, finding someone who leaned toward extroversion might be more accommodating for the organization's goals (Spector, 2008). For a forest ranger, the traits of emotional stability and openness to experience may positively affect job performance.

Emotional Intelligence Test

Emotional intelligence is the ability to perceive, control, and evaluate emotions appropriately (Spector, 2008). This type of intelligence is neither a personality trait nor a cognitive ability, but a developed emotional state. Theoretically, a well-developed emotional intelligence enables specific social skills and may influence how people affect others. In an organizational setting, this type of person would be beneficial in a supervisory or managerial position. Furthermore, people who receive high scores on these tests are likely to be skilled at interpreting, understanding, and using emotions appropriately. They are competent in social or emotional conflicts, they express their feelings well, and do not hesitate to deal with emotional situations. Evidence on various emotional intelligence tests suggests this test can predict job performance, especially when trying to determine leadership characteristics (Spector, 2008).

Integrity Test

The integrity test is designed to identify levels of integrity. This test does not rate the moral values of an individual, but it quantifies patterns of behavior. In an organizational setting, it may predict which employees will be dishonest or engage in behavior deviant to the notion of a positive workforce. Theoretically, the test can predict cheating, sabotage, theft, and unethical behavior (Spector, 2008). One integrity test called the personality integrity test measures personality traits that have been associated with undermining behavior. Research suggests integrity tests can predict such behavior and job performance and "may do a better job of predicting absence, general counterproductive...


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