Today's post comes to us from board member David Creelman.
Dr. Rob Briner recently kicked off a conversation on LinkedIn about personality tools such as this one used by the National Health Service in the UK:
If youâ€™ve been around HR for any length of time youâ€™ll have seen dozens of similar models. If youâ€™ve studied the academic evidence on these models youâ€™ll know that most have little scientific validity.
But, admit it, these personality maps are still fun, arenâ€™t they?
Talking about personality is useful because we need to be constantly reminded about how people are different. These models areÂ fun because they help us launch a conversation we are interested in. If we think of them as conversation starters, then thereâ€™s no harm in using them. Kenny Moore, co-author ofÂ The CEO and the Monk once used horoscopes to achieve the same thing. The issue is not whether horoscopes are scientifically valid, itâ€™s whether they provide a helpful spark for a conversation.
However, if we are using a personality tool to aid decision making (such as who we hire) then we have to use valid tools. There is no shortage of highly educated industrial-organizational psychologists who can help you distinguish between valid and invalid tools.
If a tool is a conversation starter, then we shouldnâ€™t dismiss its value even when itâ€™s not scientifically valid. If a tool is a decision aid, then we need to be rigorous in assessing its scientific validity.
The problem within HR is that too often people are not aware of the distinction between a conversation starter and a decision aid. Professionals, especially HR managers, need to study evidence-based practice and when to use it.
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