Cheating, or Multiple Personality Disorder?
Statement: You have to give up on some things that you start.
Answer: Agree? Strongly agree? Strongly disagree?
If you want to work at Finish Line, Best Buy, CVS or any number of more than 100 other retailers, you’ll strongly disagree.
Many applicants who do not disagree with that statement, however, have shown an impressive dedication to persisting until they “pass” this crucial interivew pre-test, the Wall Street Journal revealed in one of today’s cover stories.
Mark Scott applied for a job at Circuit City, and was declined for an interview. He scored as disqualifyingly red on Kronos’ Unicru test. When a friend offered to show him how to cheat, so he could “pass” the personality test, he took him up on it. He landed the next interview and job with another Unicru-devoted retailer, Blockbuster, immediately.
The Unicru test just, ”weeds out people who are honest and selects those who lie,” Mr. Scott tells us. With “pass” rates rising to 50% at some retailers, that sounds like a plausible conclusion. Particularly given the fact that many applicants take the retailer’s online test multiple times until they end up with just the right personality. Cheating, or a new online form of Multiple Personality Disorder?
If you’re interested in changing your personality, keys exist online, including at the Facebook group, Workers and Employers Against Unicru.
Amusing as it is to think about the concept of cheating on a personality test, for me whether a business chooses to implement these tests is itself a greater test of the management team’s own abilities and personality. Is it truly useful for employers to screen out applicants with this particular type of automation? And when applicants ”cheat” by misrepresenting their personality, who wins, and who loses?
Much of my business philosophy is driven by Pareto’s Law, but rather than 80/20, I think it’s usually more like 90/10. Even more so in start-ups. When employers use these tests as an automated screen, they’re focusing on the wrong side of that equation. They’re automating the wrong piece of the business.
First there is the danger of group think and companies filled with the prototypical yes-man. Second, having worked in retail and shopped with others for everything from clothes to data center servers, I can provide first-hand testimony that no single personality is the “best” kind of sales person. Or to think about it in a larger sense, the contining evolvement of living things on our earth provides a vivid example of the value of diversity. Sameness does not inspire cross-pollination and creative breakthroughs, or generate the spark that inspires a leap in your thinking.
Some retailers claim these tests save them thousands of hours each year screening potential employees. Others, like Whole Foods, say they might help find a well-matched personality, but that doesn’t correlate to job competence. (Whole Foods abandoned the Unicru test.) So what is an employer to do?
Kronos’ test developers, psychologists and other employees with a paycheck depending upon the company’s survival, say (a) the test is valid, (b) nobody really has a key, and (c) it’s not really possible to cheat. And Mark Scott went from red at Circuit City to green practically overnight to land at his new employer Blockbuster. So I wonder, with all of the arguments for and against, and all this non-existent cheating, in the end are these employers actually getting some of the more ingenious, creative and dedicated workers after all?
Perhaps one of Unicru’s own statements sums it up best for the employers who rely so heavily upon the test.
Statement: Any trouble you have is your own fault.
Answer: Strongly Agree