I’m at the library searching for some books that needed to be returned. I’d like to make the notes from selected pages that I didn’t have time to make. I’d like to read some sections that I didn’t have time to read. I’d like to copy a few pages for the sake of reference and back-up bibliography.
The books aren’t back on the shelves yet. However, there are some other valuable gems just begging me to take them home and read (in order to reinforce some conclusions already reached) and build a knowledge of additional arguments both pro and con on the subjects.
But there’s this one title that makes you stop and say, “What?!?” It’s called Ace the Corporate Personality Test by Edward Hoffman, Ph.D. (2001). One of McGraw-Hill’s reviewers tells the potential reader/purchaser that they have succeeded in putting forth their best foot in every respect. Their resume is so polished you can pick your teeth with it. Your skills are exactly what’s needed. Now they want to help you make your personality a fit for the company — at least on paper.
There’s a problem with this in several respects. Job search is a two-way street. It’s a matter of the employer looking for the right person for the job. It’s a case of the job seeker (whether passive or active) who is motivated to take the job with the right company. And that’s where many job seekers fall down. They forget that this is a joining for mutual benefit. They forget that there needs to be mutuality in many respects before there is a good match.
Ace the Corporate personality Test anticipates helping the job seeker pass a test. The results will be a profile that lives on paper. It doesn’t walk, talk, breathe, eat, or sleep. It doesn’t make friends nor have relationships. It’s simply a profile that lives on a sheet of paper. The fact that the book proposes to help a person pass the test means the personality is manufactured. It isn’t real. It’s a fiction.
What is real is the culture that is found in this employer’s environment. It may be a hard-working, fun-loving culture that accepts anyone and everyone. It may be a hotbed of competitiveness; no prisoners (friends) are taken. Then again, the corporate culture may be extremely clinical. People only talk with one another when necessary and even that is kept to a minimum. All of these possible cultures could exist in the company and the job seeker is the complete opposite of any one of them. While the job seeker could potentially pass the personality test and prove to be the best fit on paper, the reality is they are not that profile and will soon become miserable because of the misfit.
The back cover talks about useful content in the book. The thing I see that should prove most beneficial is “What questions an employer can and cannot ask under the law.”
Another useful thing I see in this book is the Glossary. It contains four pages of personality and measurement terms unique to the testing and personality assessment realm. To know and understand these terms is to have an appreciation of yourself compared with where you want to go.
Let me shift back to this “make yourself fit” mindset promulgated by Hoffman’s title. It was published shortly after the Internet bubble burst. People were desperate for a job. People were being laid off in droves. People wanted to fit in somewhere, anywhere, just so they would still have a paycheck and not become destitute and bankrupt. We’re sort of out of the woods, sort of. That mindset is behind us. Even then, it should not have existed.
There’s something known as fitting the square peg into the round hole. Boning up on how to master a personality test so that you pass that portion of the employment screening is just such a concept. If you do not match the corporate culture, having a test say that you do is to invite yourself into a working Hell.
You know yourself. As you search for your right fit, you should also be doing research on the company and reading as many articles about people in the company or about the company as possible. From your reading and research, you should be able to formulate an opinion of the place.
Be true to yourself. On the first interview, make certain that as you weave your way through halls and cubicles that you keep your antennae up to catch as much of the corporate “waves” as possible. Then you’ll know whether there’s a match and whether it makes sense to have Interview Two or not.
Do you really want to ace the personality test? How well do you know yourself?