View Full Version : Personality & Behavioral Assessments - Integrity Not Required


DaveBSN
09-27-2014, 01:12 AM
Today I experienced something shocking that has exposed a certain type of pre-employment screening as complete pseudoscience and a detriment to the nursing community. During our careers, many of us have taken so-called “Personality or Behavioral” pre-employment tests. I have taken a number of them over my career and always passed them so I never really questioned the idea behind these tests nor had I looked at the metrics companies administering these tests employ. I was stunned when I learned how this is done and what this type of testing actually produces for employers.

To give you some background on my previous and current career, I have formally worked in the data intelligence industry for one of the largest aggregators of data in the USA. I fully understand the importance of testing and verification related to metrics used to determine an outcome. It is forever changing and there is no way to create a standardized method of determining outcomes because variables constantly change.

That is why during my investigations, data was only used as part of the whole picture and never as a stand-alone tool that identifies outcomes, proves guilt or denies justice. It was only supportive in nature and never used for decision making. Do have done so would have put innocent people in jail, set the guilty free and undermined the integrity of law. I left that industry in 2003 and I am now a Registered Nurse. I truly love what I do. It is a calling for me, not a paycheck.

This morning I received an email from a popular nursing website inviting me to an open house at a hospital I had applied at a month ago.The email I received asked me to forward my resume so I forwarded my entire portfolio which included a cover letter, resume, letters of recommendation from physicians and lead clinical nurses, written commendations and of course professional references. I felt this would easily stand out from the crowd of those attending this open house as someone who is highly qualified and a great candidate.

Shortly after I sent this email, I received a follow email from this hospital’s nurse recruiting department explaining that I would be sent an assessment to take. Of course I expected dosage calculations, scenario-driven testing, pharmacology, cardiac rhythm interpretation, etc. These are obviously what any nurse would expect as part of pre-employment testing with any hospital system. What I discovered is that none of this testing was required. Instead, I received an email from this nurse recruiter explaining that I had actually already taken the test a month ago when I had applied for a position with this hospital and did not pass. I was then told because of this, I could not attend the open house.

Suddenly, all of my credentials, all of my accomplishments, all of my certifications, all of my excellent references meant nothing. None of these were even considered. Everything that I was to this potential employer and everything that any nurse is to this potential employer is based on testing that has never been proven valid. Yes, that’s correct. Personality and Behavioral Testing has never been proven to be beneficial or scientifically valid.

The companies creating this testing however state that it has but refuse to provide anyone with studies demonstrating this and the hospitals that use this testing refuse to provide test takers with the specific results of the test or the metrics used to validate the tests. It’s important to point out here that when it comes to background checks and drug test results, employers are required by law to provide the results of those measures. There are no such regulations for personality and behavioral testing. It is completely unregulated. Why then are we not allowed to see the results of these personality and behavioral tests?

At this point, allow me to interject a quote from Albert Einstein who stated, “Condemnation without investigation is the height of ignorance”.

But wait a minute… What if I am not allowed to investigate? What does that become instead? That’s right, a cover up. You see, this industry is a 400 million dollar a year industry and growing at 10% a year which is unheard of. The mere investigation of the validity of personality and behavioral testing threatens revenue streams for the producers of this testing and threatens cost cutting measures of hospitals using this type of screening vs. proven methods. You see this particular hospital in question was using this testing solely to identify individuals to extend contingent offers of employment to.

That’s right, this “open house” I mentioned has plans to extend employment offers to every nurse that passes their personality and behavior test while not requiring any traditional nursing assessments at all. Now how absolutely dangerous is that? It’s frightening to even consider what this is going to do to the nursing profession.

To think that personality and behavioral testing is solely being used to find candidates while ignoring all of the things that make us good nurses is bold-faced frightening yet it is happening right now across the USA. It’s sad that nurse recruiting has come to this. No more interviews. No more meeting your nurse manager. No more having your resume speak for itself. How have things come to this? What can we do? We can unite against this kind of testing. Of course, I expect some nurses who have never been denied employment or an interview due to personality and behavioral testing to scoff at this because they believe it doesn’t affect them. These by the way are the same nurses who lack integrity to begin with. Nurses need to unite against this with everything we’ve got otherwise, it will surely affect more and more nurses as future becomes past.

Here are the undisputed facts of what personality and behavioral testing produces for employers as stated by leaders of businesses, insiders in the testing industry and legal experts:

According to Patrick Gray, president of Prevoyance Group which provides strategy consulting services to Fortune 500 and 1000 companies, “While interesting trivia, personality tests should be utilized for little more. Assembling teams based on personality tests is questionable, and basing hiring decisions on pseudoscience rather than old-fashioned interviewing and due diligence is downright unethical.”

Timothy Horrigan, a New Hampshire state representative who previously had worked in the testing industry as a scorer of educational assessments says, "The personality tests themselves are rather useless ... although they may filter out a few unsuitable candidates."In theory, you can design personality tests to detect 'cheaters,' but he says most tests aren't sophisticated enough to do so reliably. So go ahead and cheat, he says: "Just give the answers the employers are obviously looking for — every time." Horrigan further states, "The tests are supposed to be filtering out dishonest applicants. But, in fact, it is filtering out the most honest ones, who say what they really think. You have to lie about who you are to pass the tests."

According to Susan J. Stabile, a Fellow of the Holloran Center for Ethical Leadership and the New York University School of Law Center for Labor and Employment Law, “Despite a plethora of laws governing the workplace, employers often make hiring decisions on the basis of personality tests that, in many cases, do not do what they are supposed to do, discriminate against certain job applicants, and invade the privacy of all applicants.” Ms. Stabile further states that, “The widespread use of personality testing in the hiring process will inevitably lead to their increased use in the workplace for purposes other than hiring decisions, such as promotion and other advancement decisions.”

Imagine living in that world. Imagine unproven personality and behavioral tests determining your future and your children’s future. Imagine that you can never know the results of these tests and never see the proof they are even valid or that any unbiased study has ever taken place to validate them. Imagine not being able to work due to them. It is a prison without bars. It is indoctrination of the worst kind. It is happening right now.

So what does personality and behavioral testing produce for the nursing industry? It produces liars. It produces nurses who will cheat on the job because they had to cheat to get there. Not only does this type of testing do this, it encourages it. It forces nurses to play a game instead of maintain integrity. These types of tests also intrude into all nurses personal life, a place no employer belongs.

This type of unproven testing is rapidly taking the place of proven, effective screening methods of potential candidates through face to face interviews and proven due diligence. So instead of hospitals hiring good nurses with proven skill sets, they are now hiring nurses who are liars and whose nursing skills, knowledge and abilities haven’t even been assessed. What do you think this is going to do to our industry? I’ll tell you what it’s going to do. It’s going to destroy it. Speak up and be heard!

I will leave you with one more quote from a German Priest talking about the Nazi’s during World War II that summarizes what happens when we do not support each other.

First they came for the Jews
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for the Communists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for me
and there was no one left
to speak out for me.

We are all Nurses and there is no reason why we can’t speak out for each other.

Best Regards… I have just spoken for you.