[IPAC-List] Personality Assessments

dputka at humrro.org dputka at humrro.org
Fri Sep 13 10:52:35 EDT 2013

One quick note here, though research has generally indicated that faking
on personality measures tends to be more of an "issue" at the top end of
the distribution (which is why there is a common suggestion to use them to
make screen out decisions), one potential issue with using personality
assessments for screen out decisions is that they tend to be highly
susceptible to simple coaching strategies - and this generally holds
whether one is dealing with simple likert or forced choice formats.

Consider the following two scenarios:

1. An organization uses a simple personality measure with items on a 1-5
Likert scale in a selection context with a relatively low cut score.
Assume the measure has a typical mix of reverse scored items. If
candidates are coached to simply respond using 3's, they will beat the cut

2. An organization is using a forced choice personality measure that asks
individuals to pick which statement in a pair is most like them. Again,
the organization is using the measure to aid in selection decisions, and
using a low cut score. Assume the measure has been very carefully
developed and statements are well matched on SD. If candidates are
coached to simply flip a coin and pick statement A if they get heads, and
B if they get tails, they will likely beat the cut score.

The more high stakes the testing situation, and the more
established/widespread the testing program is, the more likely coaching is
some form will occur. Thus, if a personality measure is being considered
for select out purposes, it may be more important to consider
susceptibility to coaching, rather than faking as it has been
traditionally studied.

To my knowledge, I don't recall seeing any published personality research
that has addressed (a) the implications of coaching for personality
measures used to make select out decisions, nor (b) how to design measures
in a way to combat the simple coaching strategies such as the ones noted
above. If anyone has, I'd be interested to hear about it!

All that being said (and back to the original post), I think there is some
very interesting research being done with regard to the "dark side" of
personality, and with careful attention to issues of faking and coaching
in light of the specific testing context, could have value for selection.
Of course, the devil is in the details, and as noted in earlier posts,
there are richer types of assessments that can reveal the traits of
interest (e.g., AC exercises, simulations, interviews).


Dan J. Putka, Ph.D., Director, Federal Talent Management
Human Resources Research Organization (HumRRO)
E-mail: dputka at humrro.org
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/dputka
Phone: 703.706.5640 Fax: 703.548.5574 www.humrro.org
66 Canal Center Plaza, Suite 700 Alexandria, VA 22314-1591

From: Anthony Boyce <anthony.boyce at aonhewitt.com>
To: "Michael McDaniel (WSF)" <McDaniel at WorkSkillsFirst.com>, "Harry
Brull (OCE)" <Harry.Brull at kornferry.com>,
Cc: "ipac-list at ipacweb.org" <IPAC-List at ipacweb.org>
Date: 09/13/2013 08:33 AM
Subject: Re: [IPAC-List] Personality Assessments
Sent by: ipac-list-bounces at ipacweb.org

I agree that personality tests using traditional likert-type scales are
easily faked and are useful, predominately, to select-out those that
clearly lack desirable traits (and were not inclined to fake). However,
what about a personality test using forced-choice format (with statements
matched on social desirability) and some controls (e.g., uni-dimensional
statement pairs or IRT-based scoring) to recover normative scores?


From: Michael McDaniel (WSF) [mailto:McDaniel at WorkSkillsFirst.com]
Sent: Thursday, September 12, 2013 6:49 PM
To: Harry Brull (OCE)
Cc: ipac-list at ipacweb.org
Subject: Re: [IPAC-List] Personality Assessments


Thank you for your note. I would appreciate any documentation that you
have that supports your assertion that faking is both "controllable and
detectable". I have some familiarity with the research literature on
faking in personnel testing and find your assertion surprising.
Best wishes,

On Thu, Sep 12, 2013 at 6:13 PM, Harry Brull (OCE) <
Harry.Brull at kornferry.com> wrote:
I disagree vehemently. We at PDI Ninth house have been using personality
inventories for selection for the past 46 years. Faking is controllable
and detectable.
The increase in validities over cognitive measures alone are impressive.
Consider the fact that most failures in managerial ranks occur, not from
lack of cognitive ability, but from personality issues – self-management,
motivation, and interpersonal issues.


Harry Brull, Senior Vice President

PDI Ninth House, a Korn/Ferry Company
8157 Buck Run
Salida, CO 81201

1.612.414.8998 direct
harry.brull at pdinh.com

From: ipac-list-bounces at ipacweb.org [mailto:ipac-list-bounces at ipacweb.org]
On Behalf Of Michael McDaniel (WSF)
Sent: Thursday, September 12, 2013 5:04 PM
To: Barry Casey; ipac-list at ipacweb.org

Subject: Re: [IPAC-List] Personality Assessments

I can't think of a good situation in which one would want to use a
personality test for personnel selection because they are so easily faked.
If you were going to use one, you would want to set a very low cut score
so that you are failing only those who admit to being clearly
inappropriate for the job.

On Wed, Sep 11, 2013 at 2:49 PM, Barry Casey <
barry.casey at cahabavalleyfire.org> wrote:

In a previous professional life, I worked in personnel assessment with a
Civil Service Board in Alabama. I have been contacted by another Fire
District in our area about helping them with a promotional examination.
However, they have concerns that some of the candidates that they believe
will do well, would not be a good fit due to the personalities of the
potential promotional candidates. Essentially, they are concerned that
the individuals' ego would prevent them from being an effective company

Are any of you aware of any assessments that may help to identify those
personality traits that may problematic for the District.

Any advice is welcomed.


Barry P. Casey
Executive Assistant to the Chief
Cahaba Valley Fire and EMR District
145 Narrows Dr
Birmingham AL 35242
IPAC-List at ipacweb.org

Michael A. McDaniel, Ph.D.
Work Skills First, Inc.
Voice: 804-277-9730
E-Mail: McDaniel at WorkSkillsFirst.com

Michael A. McDaniel, Ph.D.
Work Skills First, Inc.
Voice: 804-277-9730
E-Mail: McDaniel at WorkSkillsFirst.com
IPAC-List at ipacweb.org

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