Monday, May 14, 2012

Personality Tests

I just spoke to a friend who had applied a few weeks ago for a leadership role requiring experience with agile development methodologies. She submitted a resume and also spoke to the recruiter. In the next step she was then asked to do some online tests that would check for her personality and intelligence.

Based on the test results she was told that she was no longer considered included in the remaining candidates. The way I know her the results that she had delivered in her work have always been outstanding. Her experience with agile methodologies is fantastic.

After I heard this story I was wondering: If you want to fill a leadership role in software engineering which of the following criteria is a better indicator for a good fit:

  1. Personality tests without even speaking to the candidate?
  2. Concrete results over many years in various roles and various industries supported by data such as shipped product, improved quality, more features, shorter release cycles, increased customer base, lower development costs?

Of course, I am not an expert in personality tests, so I am probably completely ignorant of the value of such tests. In my own recruiting process I have never used personality tests other than talking to the candidate myself and having several of my team members talking to the candidate. This approach has always worked.

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