Stuff that occurs to me

All of my 'how to' posts are tagged here. The most popular posts are about blocking and private accounts on Twitter, also the science communication jobs list. None of the science or medical information I might post to this blog should be taken as medical advice (I'm not medically trained).

Think of this blog as a sort of nursery for my half-baked ideas hence 'stuff that occurs to me'.

Contact: @JoBrodie Email: jo DOT brodie AT gmx DOT com

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Friday, 3 May 2013

Government psychometric tests - my results ;)

I've little time for psychometric tests when applied to the sphere of work. My jury is out as to whether or not they have any validity in any other sphere but I am aware that some people find them beneficial, I have not been among them as yet.

I've just read an article in The Guardian and a blog post about the existence of a psychometric test (48 questions) which jobseekers have apparently been urged to complete online, with the hint that if they don't their benefits may suffer.

The questions are of the sort where a statement is given such as "I enjoy writing new blog posts" and the five answers are always the same, of the type "this is like me a lot" ...  "neutral" ... "this isn't like me at all".

I've just filled it in twice, on two different browsers, and emailed the results to myself with two different emails.

The results are below - in the first I said that all 48 questions WERE NOT LIKE me and in the second I said that all the questions WERE LIKE me, ie the exact opposite. The expected difference in my results is not very obvious. Beyond a slight rearrangement of the numbers in each 4 out of the 5 strengths are the same with only one different in each.

It's suggested at the end of the test that I might like to discuss these with my Job Advisor. Damn right I would - how will they use this information to help me and give me tailored information in my search for jobs? Beyond demonstrating my meekness in agreeing to fill in this pointless test what value does it have if it gives everyone identical answers? Is this just a glitch and I am being unfair to the test? After all "I do not jump to conclusions" and am able to change my mind (a scientific test says so).

In answering these I paid very little attention to the actual question being asked - after the bank holiday I will try again with a different email address, answer it more honestly and see if it makes any difference.

I sincerely hope that no-one is feeling threatened (in terms of loss of benefits) about doing this test and that the news as reported is mistaken.

Grrrrr.

Ones in green below are identical results and found in the same order, ones in orange are identical but in different orders and the two in black are the only differences.


Example 1 - none like me

Hi!

Thanks for completing the signature strengths questionnaire, your results are below.

This exercise has been shown to find peoples' strengths in scientific studies and you may find it useful to identify your strengths and use them to inform your job search, CV or use in interviews. You may also find it useful to try to incorporate your strengths in your daily life and play to them whenever you can.

You should aim to use your strengths whenever you can. This could be in the your job search choices, your CV or at interviews. You could also apply these to your daily life. You should aim to use each one of your signature strengths in a new way everyday for at least a week.

Strength 1. Curiosity
You are curious about everything. You are always asking questions, and you find all subjects and topics fascinating. You like exploration and discovery.

Strength 2. Love of learning
You love learning new things, whether in a class or on your own. You have always loved school, reading, and museums-anywhere and everywhere there is an opportunity to learn.

Strength 3. Critical Thinking
Thinking things through and examining them from all sides are important aspects of who you are. You do not jump to conclusions, and you rely only on solid evidence to make your decisions. You are able to change your mind.

Strength 4. Originality
Thinking of new ways to do things is a crucial part of who you are. You are never content with doing something the conventional way if a better way is possible.

Strength 5. Social Intelligence
You are aware of the motives and feelings of other people. You know what to do to fit in to different social situations, and you know what to do to put others at ease.



Example 2 - all like me

Hi!

Thanks for completing the signature strengths questionnaire, your results are below.

This exercise has been shown to find peoples' strengths in scientific studies and you may find it useful to identify your strengths and use them to inform your job search, CV or use in interviews. You may also find it useful to try to incorporate your strengths in your daily life and play to them whenever you can.

You should aim to use your strengths whenever you can. This could be in the your job search choices, your CV or at interviews. You could also apply these to your daily life. You should aim to use each one of your signature strengths in a new way everyday for at least a week.

Strength 1. Fairness
Treating all people fairly is one of your abiding principles. You do not let your personal feelings bias your decisions about other people. You give everyone a chance.

Strength 2. Curiosity
You are curious about everything. You are always asking questions, and you find all subjects and topics fascinating. You like exploration and discovery.

Strength 3. Critical Thinking
Thinking things through and examining them from all sides are important aspects of who you are. You do not jump to conclusions, and you rely only on solid evidence to make your decisions. You are able to change your mind.

Strength 4. Originality
Thinking of new ways to do things is a crucial part of who you are. You are never content with doing something the conventional way if a better way is possible.

Strength 5. Social Intelligence
You are aware of the motives and feelings of other people. You know what to do to fit in to different social situations, and you know what to do to put others at ease.





I have now heard from a friend who's also filled this in, their answers are slightly different from both of mine and we've now uncovered two extra 'strengths' that didn't appear in mine. My initial answers didn't offer any evidence of gratitude or a sense of humour ;)

I've also done the test 'properly' myself, my results are the second set below, and uncovered another three strengths. While I don't disagree that I am a bit like that for the five it's selected for me I think I'm a bit like that for all eleven of them. Presumably everyone else does too, more or less.

Admittedly my annoyance with it is pretty high for only having evidence from a sample of four results (n=4) but it seems to be so banal that I'm beginning to think that it might actually be a form of sneakery by whoever put the test together. No-one can fail, everyone comes out well. Baffling.

Does anyone have any strengths other than the eleven already collected?
  • Appreciation of culture
  • Carefulness
  • Critical Thinking
  • Curiosity
  • Enthusiasm
  • Fairness
  • Gratitude
  • Humour
  • Love of learning
  • Originality
  • Social Intelligence

Friend's results
 
Hi!

Thanks for completing the signature strengths questionnaire, your results are below.

This exercise has been shown to find peoples' strengths in scientific studies and you may find it useful to identify your strengths and use them to inform your job search, CV or use in interviews. You may also find it useful to try to incorporate your strengths in your daily life and play to them whenever you can.

You should aim to use your strengths whenever you can. This could be in the your job search choices, your CV or at interviews. You could also apply these to your daily life.

Strength 1. Gratitude
You are aware of the good things that happen to you, and you never take them for granted. Your friends and family members know that you are a grateful person because you always take the time to express your thanks.

Strength 2. Fairness
Treating all people fairly is one of your abiding principles. You do not let your personal feelings bias your decisions about other people. You give everyone a chance.

Strength 3. Critical Thinking
Thinking things through and examining them from all sides are important aspects of who you are. You do not jump to conclusions, and you rely only on solid evidence to make your decisions. You are able to change your mind.

Strength 4. Originality
Thinking of new ways to do things is a crucial part of who you are. You are never content with doing something the conventional way if a better way is possible.

Strength 5. Humour
You like to laugh and tease. Bringing smiles to other people is important to you. You try to see the light side of all situations.



My results...

Strength 1. Carefulness
You are a careful person. You do not say or do things that you might later regret.

Strength 2. Appreciation of Culture
You notice and appreciate beauty, excellence, and/or skilled performance in all domains of life, from nature to art to mathematics to science to everyday experience.

Strength 3. Gratitude
You are aware of the good things that happen to you, and you never take them for granted. Your friends and family members know that you are a grateful person because you always take the time to express your thanks.

Strength 4. Humour
You like to laugh and tease. Bringing smiles to other people is important to you. You try to see the light side of all situations.

Strength 5. Enthusiasm
Regardless of what you do, you approach it with excitement and energy. You never do anything halfway or half-heartedly. For you, life is an adventure.


3 comments:

  1. Hi Jo - an interesting discussion. However, I just completed it and got different results. Sometimes these tests have two questions positioned at different places through the test - one is the negative of the other and they are similarly worded - its to check for consistency. So possibly by double answering in the way you have they have somehow cancelled out ? I will email you my answers.

    However I agree the questions are majorly stupid ones. I havent helped in a neighbours garden in the last fortnight as none of them needed help ! And things like whether my friends love me as much as themselves or whether they pay me compliments etc - is that not more to do with the people I have been lucky or unlucky enough to meet ? What type of compliments anyway ? It will never be about my dress sense anyway !!

    Will be interesting to hear others results. Try it again and answer truthfully and see if you agree with the answers. I suppose my feedback had picked out some nice bits about me - I suppose the problem would be if they fed back the bad bits to the job centre !!
    HOwever another obvious thing about this is sometimes with these questionnaires its very obvious which answer you should give if you want to get a job ! eg better to finish a task than say you dont finish them etc

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I certainly hope that if someone varies their answers (according to the questions - ie fills it in genuinely) then the outcome is at least a little different. Although I'd have expected greater differences between the two versions of my responses though, given that I answered them completely oppositely.

      It would probably help if the test used some text like 'answer honestly' rather than 'complete below to find your strengths'.

      If people are being told that they need to fill this in then at least they know that it doesn't really matter what they fill in, in order to get something reasonably positive at the end.

      It's not that clear what the point of this is yet.

      Delete
  2. I filled it in honestly, and I'm none the wiser. I came out as Careful.

    I really don't understand how this questionnaire applies to employment, and I say that as someone with a masters in occupational psychology. There are plenty of better-constructed tests out there which look at personality, and it's structured to be rather like them. I have no idea whether it's been properly validated - I suspect not. The language and expectations seem pretty abstract.

    Overall I incline to the Hannibal Lecter school of thinking about self-assessment questionnaires: (Hannibal to Clarice, after reading her questionnaire.) "So. You think you can dissect me with this blunt little tool."

    ReplyDelete

Comment policy: I enthusiastically welcome corrections and I entertain polite disagreement ;) Because of the nature of this blog it attracts a LOT - 5 a day at the moment - of spam comments (I write about spam practices,misleading marketing and unevidenced quackery) and so I'm more likely to post a pasted version of your comment, removing any hyperlinks.

Comments written in ALL CAPS LOCK will be deleted and I won't publish any pro-homeopathy comments, that ship has sailed I'm afraid (it's nonsense).