Lately, the craze for psychometric tests has grown exponentially, and people of every segment are using them to plot themselves on the personality and talent graph. Not just in corporate offices. If you are a student, there is a high chance that you have been recommended one by your school or career counsellor.
Psychometry is the result of human curiosity to define personalities. It has always been a popular field of study since 400 BC, the time of Greek physician, Hippocrates.Psychometrics is a field of study concerned with the theory and technique of psychological measurement.
What are Psychometric Tests?
Based on your answers to some standard questions, Psychometric tests classify you into predefined behavioural types, or categories if you will. The point of it? To identify your behavioural pattern in different scenarios. This would help narrow down to which profession or career your personality type could fit into, based on your behavioural characteristics and cognitive abilities.
The Psychometric Evolution
There’s no exact pattern in which psychometric classification evolved over the years. One such test that has gained popularity lately is the Myers Briggs Type Indicator. It consists of 93 questions that gauge you on 16 different scenarios mentioned in the image below and will catalogue you based on 4 pairs of personality types.
Popular Psychometric Tests
There are so many similar psychometric tests online. And most of them are free too. They test you for a variety of qualities, like aptitude, verbal reasoning, numerical reasoning, abstract reasoning and personality.
However if you’d like an accurate estimate that you want to use and mention in your CV you’d have to pay for the test at Myersbriggs.org.
There are free versions of this floating around the internet all based on the Myers Briggs Type Indicator.
It’s even become a standard procedure in many management and leadership courses. Additionally over 200 federal agencies in the U.S. use these results to identify the inclinations of an employee and provide roles and responsibilities accordingly. About 2 Million people
take the Myers Briggs test. Every year. And the revenue they get is about $20 Million
. That’s how enormous the psychometric market is.
Interpretation of Myers Briggs Results
The 4 pairs of personality traits are,
Extraversion or Introversion (E-I)
Sensing or Intuition (S-N)
Thinking or Feeling (T-F)
Judging or Perceiving (J-P)
The results consist of 4 letters, and the personality is deduced based on the sequence of those letters. The first letter represents the Dominant function, which has the most influence on you. The second is an Auxiliary function, which complements the Dominant function. The third strongest quality is the tertiary function. The weakest trait is the fourth and is termed Inferior function. For example, if your results turn out to be INFP, it infers you are Introversion (I), Intuition (N), Feeling (F) and Perception (P), with Introversion being your strongest quality and Perception your weakest.
The Accuracy Fallacy
But the weirdest thing is, there are no scientific methodologies to prove how accurate these test results are. After all, people who took the test for the second time, after about 5 weeks, got different results. Also the tests are primarily dependent on your honesty towards the answers, as there are no wrong answers you could bias the answers to get a different personality trait everytime you take the test. The paid versions have preventive measures against this but the free ones we find do not. Despite all that, more and more people swear by these tests.
Isabel Briggs Myers and Katherine Briggs formulated The Myers Briggs Type Indicator. They based their test on the theories of Carl Jung, who is called the founder of Analytical Psychology. But neither of them women had any psychological training. And their motive was to come up with a useful test to classify women for ideal workplace roles during World War II.
A basic element in the Myers Briggs Type Indicator is to determine if a candidate is an introvert, extrovert, perceiver, feeler or one category or the other. But Carl Jung himself has said, “Every individual is an exception to the rule.” And that means, no person can always be an introvert, nor always an extrovert. That explains why the same person, answering the same questions, gets two different results on two different days. This is also why no psychologists approve of it. Ironically, not even the leading psychologists on the board of the company would use these tests in their research. What if their academic colleagues questioned them?
Leaving career decisions to psychometric tests is a lot like playing dice. You might get lucky but the odds are stacked against you. Have you taken a psychometric test? How did the results turn out? Was the evaluation or the method accurate? Let us know below.