I had to take a pre-employment “Character” test recently. It is much the same as a personality test. This test will have some bearing on whether I will be hired for a job I have applied for, (yes, I am unemployed again). This fact made me want to know how and what this test was supposed to measure. When I read the instructions, I had to laugh out loud. “Really,” I thought, “Will they also be using phrenology or reading my palm to see if I will be a productive and honest employee?” The instructions are as follows:
This test is a biometric test based on movement. There are 3 parts to the test. Each part should be completed on one or more separate sheets of plain white unlined 8.5” x 11” paper. PLEASE NOTE: The speed of your movements is very important. You should take the test at your natural or fastest speed.
On a single sheet of plain white paper, please draw (by freehand) one or more of each of the following shapes: a triangle, a square, a circle, and a ladder. They can be of any size. Do NOT trace the shapes or use a ruler, straight edge, compass or other device. At the bottom of the page, please print your name, phone number, and email address.
On a single sheet of plain white paper, write 10 different numbers of any size. At the bottom of the page, please print your name, phone number, and email address.
On two or more sheets of plain white paper, please copy the following paragraphs twice, once in your (cursive) handwriting and once in your printing. Remember, speed is more important than beauty or legibility. Two paragraphs of motivational quote follow.
That’s it. From this the company promises employers:
“The Boston Test” is an advanced form of behavioral biometrics based on movement, capturing a clear picture of innate behaviors, aptitude, motivation and character. “The Boston Test” provides the platform to assess the combination of an advanced form of “The Big Five” as well as an expanded form of Jungian Typology for exacting personality types. This combination provides a very accurate method to assess candidates for hire and accurately predict the probability of success on a job specific basis.
Based on 45 years of research and practical real-world hiring experience, the founders of Boston Biometrics have developed a pre-employment test that will screen out all the psychos before you hire them. The test lets you avoid job applicants who are prone-to-commit violence, rape, bullying, sexual harassment, embezzlement, fraud, theft, and sabotage. It also screens out the profit-robbing habitual time thieves.
This proprietary test is affordable, scientifically-validated, and EEOC compliant. It uses movement-based biometrics – a breakthrough technology that can’t be manipulated to the subject’s advantage. The test is based on the proven science that your movements are a direct reflection of how your brain is organized and processes information. Psychos process information entirely different than the majority of the population. The more unbalanced the psychos are, the easier it is for the technology to identify them, making it virtually impossible for a dangerous applicant to slip through your employment gates.
It is hard for me to believe that this company is for real and that the company I wish to work for takes this test seriously. I researched the test on the internet and could find almost nothing about it. The test company’s web site gives no explanation of how they determine the taker’s character. The company calls its method biometrics to make it sound scientific, but it is about as scientific as reading palms. Biometrics is the measurement of various aspects of a person’s body usually for identification purposes. The one article I found about the test was on a business web site and lumped it in with other personality tests used by employers. The article pointed out that these tests basically have no basis in science and tests of these tests’ reliability has shown them to be inaccurate and all but useless. They basically are just the opinion of their creators. Even the Myer Briggs has been shown to not be effective. It seems personality is not a good indicator of success. Yet the business world continues to use them. Don’t the leaders in the business community read?
The test I have to take says it can tell not just my personality but my character, my ability to tell right from wrong and the likelihood of me committing a crime by a small sample of my handwriting and which number I choose. Really? So I researched hand writing analysis and it is considered quite inaccurate and basically a pseudoscience. Science is just beginning to be able to tell personality traits using the top technology of brain scans. I am surprised that the company will admit that is uses a method as primitive as handwriting analysis and which shape I choose and how I draw it. It reminds me of the folded paper fortune tellers (cootie catchers) that we used in grade school to “tell our futures.” And this one is going to help determine mine. Should I laugh or cry?