[IPAC-List] Personality testing in a civil service context

Brull, Harry Harry.Brull at pdininthhouse.com
Tue May 26 13:38:56 EDT 2009

I just came back from a Civil Service Hearing where an unsuccessful police Lieutenant candidate complained about the process.
I think the issue is at least interesting.

Facts of the matter:
As part (20%) of a Lt. process, candidates took a management test battery consisting of two cognitive components and an omnibus personality inventory (similar to the CPI). The personality profile accounted for 60% of the battery and measured such things as leadership orientation, derailing leadership characteristics, interpersonal orientation, motivation, teamwork, etc.
The battery has been extensively validated across the globe with leaders from a wide variety of organizations, both public and private sector
The inventory was "scored" based on comparison of results with a very large norm group (100K+)
Candidate had taken the same battery two years earlier
In both processes, the list expired with the candidate sitting next to be hired.
The second administration resulted in an uninterpretable profile (too many socially desirable/improbable virtues endorsed)
In consultation with Human resources, I called the candidate and offered him a choice - retake the personality profile or use his previous score (which was valid)
He chose to use his previous score.

It is now two years after administration with him languishing next to be hired (the jurisdiction has a history of hiring in rank order from the list)
His complaint to Civil Service was that somehow I "manipulated" his score. I tried my best to explain both personality testing and valid/uninterpretable profiles - but I don't think they got it (or wanted to get it)

Has anyone else "scored" a personality profile in a quantitative, list-producing promotion?
What have you done with uninterpretable results?
Any suggestions what I could/should have done given the situation.

I still believe (and the empirical data support) personality as a predictor of managerial success. While the option of not using such an instrument in the future is a possibility, I'd like to continue to do so.

Reactions? Suggestions?

Harry Brull

Harry Brull | Senior Vice-President
PDI Ninth House
Global Leadership Solutions

1.612.337.8233 office
1.612.414.8998 mobile
1.612.337.3695 fax
Harry.Brull at pdininthhouse.com <mailto:First.Last at pdininthhouse.com>

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Minneapolis, MN 55402


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