“In much the same spirit…”

When I was about 20 I had my first psychometric test.

I was going for a job. I can’t remember what job or where. I was 20, I wouldn’t have wanted whatever it was anyway. I have however always been interested in psychology, and I do vividly remember being excited about the prospect of taking a psychometric test as part of the interview process even though it was – well, a while ago.

I hadn’t studied psychology then but as far as I can tell now, it must have been a test based on the 16PF personality factors scale developed by Cattell, Tatsuoka and Eber. It’s designed to ascertain the respondent’s position on a series of opposing traits, such as shy/bold, open/reserved, self-reliant/group-oriented, etc. It’s very difficult to game the result because many questions test the same factors in different ways. Respondents are given a series of statements (“I take control of things”, “I like to stand during the national anthem”) with a Likert scale response. They’re told to go quickly and answer instinctively.

We were given the answers as text, a few short paragraphs that apparently summed up our whole personality. I read that I was liable to act impulsively, with utter conviction in my own judgement, without any regard for the outcome of my actions. There were other things, but that was the part I was most proud of.

I did not get a second interview.

I have this theory. I work in a vaguely project management-related field and I apply this theory in and out of work, and my theory is this. If something – a project, for example – starts to go south, you should take action as soon as possible. If you do nothing, the project will continue going wrong. If you do something, anything, there’s a 50% chance that it will get worse, but there’s a 50% chance that it will get better. If it does get worse, at least it’s given you a pointer as to the right direction. I believe that what my 16PF said was exactly that. I wouldn’t have hired twenty year old me reading that either. But at least twenty-twenty-six year old me has some life experience to back up my instincts.

But the crux of this rather long-winded preamble is that I am still more likely to do something based on instinct and then think about it. And it was in much the same spirit that I began this blog, deleted my old twitter account and started again.

In what way would you like to disagree with me?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s