[IPAC-List] A question of personality

RPClare at aol.com RPClare at aol.com
Sat Nov 21 08:34:28 EST 2009

I agree with Lance that a retake creates the impression of a second chance
that is not provided to others who failed. I also would have concerns
regarding your "overly generous" interpretation. It suggests that they were not
only given a second chance but the requirements were also eased.
I do believe this type of test can have a place in Civil service. We
routinely use "non-scored" hurdles that do not impact the rankings (e.g.
degrees, trainings, licenses, physical exams).
The magic is to clearly communicate what the rules are in advance. For my
own benefit, I would have a clearly written "pass point" for the test. If
that can't be done because there is a "clinical" judgment involved, I would
make sure a credentialed clinician make the call (even if it's only on the
close ones)

In a message dated 11/20/2009 5:51:21 P.M. Eastern Standard Time,
Harry.Brull at pdininthhouse.com writes:


I'm interested in any advice in a sticky situation:

Recently I conducted a police lieutenant promotional process for a
department of approximately 100 sworn personnel. One of the components was an
omnibus personality inventory which I "scored". (It happened to be a PDI
proprietary instrument, but the situation would have been no different with, for
example, the California Personality Inventory (CPI) or equivalent.)

Two of the candidates produced invalid profiles (as evidenced by a good
impression and response distortion scale). I asked them to re-take the
instrument and was able to interpret the results (although one resulting profile
was marginally valid and I probably was overly generous in interpreting the

Afterwards, even though his total results placed him well out of the
running for promotion, one of the candidates complained that he was unfairly
treated. Others wondered publically why I didn't just "fail" him for this
portion of the process.

Two Civil Service hearings later, I am feeling somewhat frustrated trying
to explain personality testing, faking, etc. to people who either don't
understand or don't want to understand.

So here's my questions:
* Do self-report measures such as personality profiles have a place in
Civil service procedures which must produce a rank-ordered list of scores?
* Are there instruments which overcome the hurdle of faking (my
internal experts tell me "no")
* What should one do with a candidate profile that is uninterpretable?

I've been asked to recommend substitute procedures. So far I've suggested
oral interview, role-plays, and the Promotability index (a procedure where
multiple raters place candidates of numerical "rungs" of a ladder -
candidate score is the arithmetic average of assigned ratings).

Any ideas out there?

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>

33 South Sixth Street
Suite 4900
Minneapolis, MN 55402


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