The potentials of a dialogical reframing of personality testing in hiring
Keywords:Personnel selection, Personality testing, Hiring tool, Dialogue tool, Affirmative critique
Personality testing is highly disputed, yet, widely used as a personnel selection tool. In most research, it is taken for granted that personality tests are used with the purpose of achieving a more objective assessment of job candidates. However, in Danish organizations the personality test is often framed as a ‘dialogue tool’. This paper explores the potentials of a dialogical reframing of the use of personality testing in personnel selection by analyzing empirical material from an ethnographic study of the hiring processes in a Danish trade union that declaredly uses personality tests as a dialogue tool. Through an affirmative critique we identify five framings that interact during the test-based dialogue: The ‘meritocratic’, ‘disciplinary’, ‘dialogical’, ‘pastoral’, and ‘con-test’ framing. Our study suggests that being committed to a dialogical reframing nurtures the possibility of focusing on what we call the ‘con-test’: Either as exploring the meta-competences of the candidate or as co-creating embryos through joint reflections on organizational issues. We argue that the long-lasting debates in the field of selection-related personality testing should be much more interested in the question of how personality tests in hiring are used, rather than whether or not they should be used.
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Copyright (c) 2021 Kathrine Møller Solgaard, Morten Nissen
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