Sensation, Perception, and Emotion


            Personality tests are widely used in organizations to predict the current and the future behaviors or job performances of an individual. Personality is one of the world complex concepts for employers to evaluate employees. Personalities are believed to provide some useful information about an individual but sometimes provide fake personality answers. In this respect as quoted in Gladwell (2004), employers need to supplement personality tests with other individual evaluation and assessment in job performance. In fact, the question of proving personality test as a valid measure to predict individuals’ job performance and behavior can only be answered with benefit of doubt in mind (Management Issues, 2007). Thus the statement that, “Personality tests are not helpful in understanding how people behave or predicting how they will behave in future. Instead we should look at objects they chose to incorporate in their environment, such as passwords for their computers and “stuff” in their homes”, is chock-full of truth. The paper will focus to highlight on the key elements to agree with the statement. Most importantly, the paper will argue why employers or human resource departments need to add other test to personality test with employees’ evaluations and assessment.

Personality tests versus behaviors and performance

            As Heffner (2004) noted, individual’s perception plays an important role to how they perceive the world and the environment they live in, and contribute largely on how they perceive themselves.  Personalities of an individual thus is attributed by the social set ups and the attractions towards such social environments. Since environments are dynamics, individual’s perception is also dynamic and thus changes in personality. According to Heffner (2004), personalities of an individual are therefore measured by the attribution theory. Attribute is the direct response of a person’s behavior. The theory suggests that personalities (behaviors) are usually attributed by behaviors of others and the environment or the world surrounding an individual.  Behaviors can be from either internal or external attributed. Internal factors are within an individual while external factors are outside individuals’ proximities. Individuals’ personalities are influenced by perception towards environment, previous experiences in life and the level of knowledge towards particular aspects (Heffner, 2004). Thus, there is positive relationship between an individual performance, personality and the environment. This supports that personality tests are not helpful in understanding how people behave or predicting how they will behave in future. To understand a person’s personality, we need to include various environments attractiveness.

Most small enterprises, multinational growing or established organizations are using personality tests to gauge the productivity or the performances of the employees. American group of psychologists as quoted in Amble (2007), suggest that the personality test in most cases provide invalid indications of individuals performance levels. Personality tests responses are believed to be faked. Organizations have tried to alleviate the problem or mitigate the problems from the manipulated responses but the research indicates there are no short cuts. Personality tests can be divided into many categories depending on the type of personality tested on and the focus of the test. Personalities can be behavioral, biological, psychodynamic, trait or social-cognitive.  Personality test focuses on the internal and the external attractiveness of an individual.  Most personalities are either inborn or unconsciously reinforced by habits or environments. Biological personality tests measure the intelligence capacity of individual while social cognitive and psychodynamic measures the uncontrollable/unpredictable elements of an individual. Therefore, whereas some personalities test provides adequate predictability of individual’s performances like biological others do not match performance with the test like those controlled by external factors.

Like wise, individuals’ personalities can be divided into addictive personalities and un-addictive personalities. Psychological personality test focus or are structured to reveal the individuals inners life and the external behaviors. Depending on the nature of the personality test, it target to provide information regarding, ability and skills, interests, hobbies, achievements, intelligence and the personality. Addictiveness of an environment and the behavior evaluate accurately about future behaviors or work performances. The addictive habits of an individual cannot be revealed in a personality test. Actually, it is difficult to an employee to reveal some weakness that probably acts as pillars of their personalities. These manipulated responses to individual’s personality tests, thus can provide invalid prediction to work performance and future behaviors. This is supported by Robert Dipboye, where he suggest that employees should “engage employee to more open process to disclose what they are looking for a gain the trust of test takers rather than playing paper and pencil games with them” (Amble, 2007). In addition, the way people work, the kind of job they work, the environment their work in or the people they work with and the actions they exhibit in work is not captured in personality tests. These factors are vital attracting factors to individual’s personality, behaviors, and the future job performances (Paul, 2005). Performance in the work environment is usually dependent on the skills, experience or the people in the working environment. Thus, personality test should incorporate the objects they chose to incorporate in their environment, such as passwords for their computers and “stuff” in their homes.

In the past, employers are faced with difficulties in evaluating and measuring individual personalities that influence job performances. Measuring productivity using individuals’ personality inventories and responses on test have brought forth mixed results. Personality tests do not bring to test the link between all the individuals’ characteristics and the specific behaviors to produce reliable and accurate results. The major factors tested in work place are broken down to minor and hidden individuals’ attributes that still play a crucial role in performance and behaviors. Some of these hidden factors are categorized as attitudes, socialization, relationships, excitement seeking, and motivation in work, social influences and the unmet needs (Gladwell, 2004). For example, a person’s albums usually can say more of the hidden personalities. The albums can be clear indicators of individual personality as indicated by research paper published by journal of personality and social psychology (Allen, 2003). Music preferences are some of personalities need to be understood. Based on the kind of music an individual prefer can exhibit the kind of personalities she/he possesses. For example, hard rocks, hip-hop, and heavy metal music are attributed to physical active and adventurous, physical attractive personalities (Allen, 2003). Other interesting personalities in individuals are revealed in pin numbers, password or secret words. These secretes are hidden personalities in an individual and reveal what ones like most. Most of passwords depend on the most frequent usage terms, what click to a person mind unconsciously, or individual unconscious focus. According to Andrews (2004), people choose passwords unconsciously to stick in their minds that turn to be of an emotional significance.  Gardner & Dixit (2008), further supported that individuals stuffs such as books , novels, music, places their go, arts they like reveal individuals personality. Thus, employees should rethink the approach of gauging, evaluating or assessing individual personalities when hiring (Harris, 2004).

            In this regard, personality test as measures lack validity, are easily faked or manipulated, are therefore generally unsuitable as personality predictors in work performance or future individuals behaviors. In fact, personality tests are useful in clinical disciplines and not in the work environments. Some personality tests are used by psychologists and medical experts to predict the behaviors of individuals and not performances. Therefore, work environment need to embrace the contribution of other factors to evaluate work performances or prediction of an employee in future. I agree with the statement that, “Personality tests are not helpful in understanding how people behave or predicting how they will behave in future. Instead we should look at objects they chose to incorporate in their environment, such as passwords for their computers and “stuff” in their homes”

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