Blogger foul: 10 yard penalty on Fistful of Talent


I’m going to deviate a bit from my common topics today.  I feel compelled to discuss a post from over at Fistful of Talent.  FOT is a blog that I read regularly.  Generally I enjoy it.  The bloggers tend to take extreme views of things and often show some Gen-Y angst, but it is usually thought-provoking.

However, in one recent post, the blogger stated an opinion, like it was fact, about selection testing.  The post is called “I’m not sure I need a test to assess attitude + motivation”. It was very obvious that she threw out her thoughts without having any expertise in the area.  She claimed that selection testing was a waste of time, energy and money, because any good interviewer could tell who was a good candidate and who was not.  She also claimed that she could fake her way to a good score on any test.

Here was my response (similar to responses of several others):

Wow! This post mostly reflects Jessica’s lack of knowledge about proven and validated selection testing. I encourage her and others to do some additional research on selection testing from reputable sources. There is an entire field of study called Industrial-Organizational Psychology that has used scientific methods and data to prove that selection tests work. And they are more accurate than interviews and gut feelings.

The caveat is that the tests must be properly developed, validated and applied in order to be effective.

I also agree with Steve Deighton. I use selection tests extensively in my work as an I/O Psychologist working in a Fortune 500 company. It is hard to fake your results. We catch faking all of the time. One of our tests is specifically designed to search for a profile that has some highs and some lows. If you assume that “more” of a trait is always better, you will do poorly on the assessment.

BTW – most good assessments include many other factors besides personality such as cognitive ability and work style fit.

Check out for more information about selection testing.


 Now, I get the fact that blogging is a more casual form of writing than academic or professional journals.  Even so, I expect that someone writing as an expert in a field like HR would take the time to understand a topic that she is discussing.

Not all bloggers are experts in the topics on their blogs.  I stay intentionally focused on an area in which I can claim expertise.  Maybe we’ll even take a look at selection testing one of these days. 

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