Screening applicants with personality testing

Dr. Michael McIntyre is an industrial psychologist at the University of Tennessee’s College of Business Administration, where he specializes in developing preemployment personality tests. To help companies screen potential employees for aggressive and antisocial tendencies, McIntyre has developed a tool called the Conditional Reasoning Test of Aggression (CRTA).

Many already use personality tests such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator to gain insight into potential employees, but the CRTA specifically identifies those who feel a strong need to establish dominance, exert their independence or exact retribution for mistreatment. People with such needs are more likely to see violence and aggressive behaviour as a way to solve the problems they encounter.

Two sample questions from the CRTA:

1. Wild animals often fight to see who will breed. This ensures that only the strongest animals reproduce. When strong animals reproduce, their young tend to grow into strong and powerful animals. Unlike animals, people who are not strong often reproduce. Which of the following is the most reasonable conclusion based on the above?

A. People who are not strong can be successful.

B. People and animals have few similar behaviours.

C. Unlike most humans, wild animals love to fight.

D. Humans are becoming physically weaker.

2. Shoplifting is on the increase. To counter this trend, store employees are told to watch out for people who look like shoplifters. If a customer looks like a shoplifter, then employees are supposed to watch her closely. Which is the biggest problem with this practice?

A. Stores have a difficult time keeping employees.

B. Many customers who look like shoplifters are honest and do not steal.

C. Most stores are insured against losses from shoplifting.

D. Abuse by store employees who use it as an excuse to bother people they don’t like.

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