Personality assessment: an observation

Somehow the loonies always sit next to me on buses and planes. I once woke up on a transatlantic flight to find a stranger in the seat next to me checking the time on my wristwatch. I looked on in amazement as my arm was thrust unceremoniously into the beam of his reading light. From subsequent experience I suspect he would have achieved a glowing score in a psychometric test.

I’ll make an admission here,  I’m not very good at psychometric tests. I suspect I’m a tad too honest. I do tick the yes box to confirm that “strange things keep happening to me” as is evident from the above. I also put a tick next to the statement; “I am afraid of deep water”. It reflects my healthy respect for the oceans of this planet – having sailed most of them during my life.

I once led a team of eight very clever IT professionals. We had all been subjected to a psychometric test as part of our job application. Some of the team proved to be astounding individuals who consistently demonstrated the ability to prevail in some extremely adverse conditions. One of the team however – to put it bluntly, was a complete nightmare. This person spent three out of six years off work with various ailments. When at work, regularly put at risk the annual multi-million dollar contract that 30 of my colleagues and I were working on. I later had occasion to ask my manager, and now good friend, why the company hired this person. I was advised it was because of an exceptionally high score in the psychometric test.  Strangely enough, he also admitted that the individuals who were now considered to be the highest performers in the team had achieved the lowest scores in the very same test.

That got me thinking about how to assess someone’s personality. The result is the proprietary MTR  C5 personal development assessment. We believe that personality develops, throughout a person’s working life, in 5 key areas; ability to communicate, get stuff done, deal with processes, control self (and others) and the ability to earn the respect of colleagues. A forty five minute session in an interview, by a C5 skilled interviewer can usually work someone out. It can also provide an interviewee with advice on how best to develop further.