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Psychometric instruments as amusement more than talent tools

A survey of the FTSE 100 companies – conducted by The Test Agency Hogrefe, a psychometric test publisher – received 73 responses, and 59 of them said they use some form of psychometric testing (Fin. Times, July 18, 2005 at 8). Managers are the most common subjects for the tests, with 80 percent of the respondents using tests on that level.

If a comparable survey were conducted among the Fortune 100, the sheer size of those companies would make it almost certain that at least a half have given behavioral style, personality, intellectual power, and other tests to some groups of their employees. (For more on psychometric instruments and law departments, see my posts of April 18, 2005 on MBTI scores of lawyers, April 9, 2005 on Hartman-Kinsel, and Aug. 21, 2005 on MBTI.)

When I ask during speeches on managing talent how many of the attendees have taken Meyers-Briggs, usually a third or so of the law department lawyers have taken it. My sense, however, is that they took the MBTI as part of an offsite retreat, to stimulate talk about teamwork and tolerance, which is more for amusement than to change how the law department recruits staff, evaluates lawyers, guides careers, or melds an effective team.

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