Partial Transcript: Episode 41 (Personality Testing)

Nick: Myers Briggs is the most common personality test given in the United States.

Virginia: The December 14th Washington Post has an article about the history of the test.  It suggests that Myers Briggs is a little bit of BS.

Andrew: We’re not going to get sued for this, are we?  It’s our opinion.  Only our opinion.

Virginia: And you know what they say about opinions.

Nick: They’re like assholes.

Virginia: Thanks Nick.  We appreciate that.  So, I have plenty of opinions about this.  Mike argued pretty passionately that we take the test, and we all refused.

Mike: You guys all said you took it, but you didn’t write it down.

Virginia: I took it a really long time ago.

Andrew: I took it when I was applying for a job at Best Buy years and years ago.  The only reason that I took it was because I didn’t know what it was.  I never got a call back.  A friend of mine who was working there called me and said that I failed.

Virginia: How did your friend find that out?

Andrew: He asked the general manager to look it up.

Virginia: I took a personality test that was not Myers Briggs.  It was during an internship.  The HR lady called me before the internship started and asked if I had taken it yet.  I said, “Not yet.”  She said, “Well, you gotta take it now!”  So, I took it.  They didn’t really explain to me how pervasive it would be.

Nick: Which one did you take?

Virginia: I don’t remember the name of it.

Nick: I took several different ones.  Some where strongly agree or disagree.  Others you were supposed to pick your opinion.

Virginia: I just googled mine.  It’s Personalysis.  I can’t remember exactly how the test was laid out.  There were three levels: when you’re at home by yourself, when you’re working with others, and when you’re in the “zone.”  You’re supposed to rate how would you be on several scales.  They don’t say that they’re not going to hire you if you have the wrong outcome.  I’m thinking, “What do they want me to answer?”  That’s exactly what I did.  Then I get to my job, and they’ve posted my scores on my cubicle and on the company site.  And of course it’s not entirely my personality.  I found out that they charged like $250 for these tests.

Andrew: They’re insane.  There’s no tangible benefit to it.

Nick: No.  They’re looking for push-overs.

Virginia: Well, here’s what I wanted to do.  They give you this 30-page book that is supposed to look inside your personality and yield good information.  I just wanted to take my paragraph, cut my name out, and mix in other people’s names to see if they could pick out which was actually mine.  It’s like a horoscope.  If you can’t tell me personality description when my name isn’t there, then it’s not accurate.  It’s too generic.

Nick: Agreed.

Andrew: I think Nick’s right.  They’re just looking for pushovers.

Nick: I deal with a lot of corporate clients.  Its crazy how typecast these people are.  The bosses are these magnanimous people who hire nothing but pushovers.  You go into these big corporate offices where one person tries to pop out and do something either gets fired or squashed.  Everybody else who is a scared pushover does well.  You’re trying to get an answer, and no one wants to make decisions.

Andrew: That whole “gets fired or squashed” kind of makes sense why I didn’t last so long at one of my jobs.

Nick: That’s what they’re looking for.

Virginia: It’s funny because the company was very outspoken about accepting all of the personalities.  We did a five hour training on what all of the personalities meant.  I finally raised my hand and said, “So basically, you’re trying to get me to stereotype everybody and never genuinely get to know my coworkers?”

Andrew: Did you get fired thirty minutes later?

Nick: How close were everybody’s personalities?

Virginia: It’s funny because yellow is the outgoing color.  Everyone wants to be yellow so that they look good.  So, most of the people are yellow.

Andrew: It sounds like this company wasted a lot of time and money on this stuff.

Virginia: Not only did my company spend $250 per person on the first test, but they tested us again later in the summer using a different test.

Andrew: Is this company publicly traded?  I might need to invest.

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