to find these interview questions a bit intrusive?

(24 Posts)
vladthedisorganised Tue 23-Feb-16 09:53:55

I'm quite curious. I applied for a job as an IT analyst a while back: it's not especially senior, it's the sort of thing I've done in the past, and I'm pretty confident that I'm qualified for the job.
The interview process has been quite involved: on top of three face-to-face interviews there have been a number of tests I've been asked to do, including what I was told was a 'Myers-Briggs type test' - again I've done many of these before and generally know what to expect.

The 'Myers-Briggs' test was online and only had Yes/No options for each question. The first set of questions were the sort of thing I normally expect from 'Myers-Briggs' style analysis - "I find it easy to make decisions" sort of thing - but the second set seemed to be asking for my personal aesthetic tastes - "I like to listen to classical music", "at weekends I like going to parties", "I don't like modern art" - while the third set asked exclusively about my friends and family, with questions that seemed a bit intrusive "My friends can behave in a risky way", "I would describe my family as being politically active", "My friends tend to have politically conservative views".

The role isn't managerial, isn't customer-facing and doesn't have any security requirements (not for the police, for example). I can understand how an employer might want to understand how I would behave in a team, but I can't see what my friends' behaviour or political views have to do with it at all. Without discussing the answers face-to-face it's also hard to see how they build up a picture of what I'm like - for instance, DH can 'behave in a risky way' in that he likes skiing very fast down black runs, but doesn't in the sense of, say. drink-driving or drug use - which a yes/no doesn't cover.

I'm really at a loss as to why these questions are relevant or necessary, but would love to be enlightened by HR people or psychologists - is it a normal line of questioning?

AnchorDownDeepBreath Tue 23-Feb-16 10:00:20

They are pretty standard myers-briggs questions, if you're doing the more accurate version. It builds a picture of your personality to give a management style. I've never seen one where answers to individual questions were accessible by the interviewer, incase that helps.

TiredButFineODFOJ Tue 23-Feb-16 10:30:19

Myers and Briggs "developed" their set of personality styles based on the work of Jung, who himself only "identified" 4 or 5 based entirely on his own observations. In short, it's about as scientific as a tarot card reading.

wasonthelist Tue 23-Feb-16 10:37:50

Yanbu it's bollocks and highly intrusive and I probably wouldn't want to work there if this is the sort of crap they waste time and money on.

wasonthelist Tue 23-Feb-16 10:39:25

BTW IME, the more of a market leader and better to work for an employer is, the less of this sort of twaddle goes on.

scarlets Tue 23-Feb-16 10:47:04

What nonsense.

They obviously don't have faith in the sifting/interviewing skills of their staff.

BipBippadotta Tue 23-Feb-16 11:11:42

I worked at a company that gave credence to these kinds of tests and it was unbearable. My boss kept insisting on telling me the circumstances in which I would or would not 'thrive' according to my personality type, and reminding me that as an INTP (or whatever) is was the satisfaction of a job well done rather than money that motivated me and that's why I was being given extra responsibilities with no pay rise, etc etc.

MovingOnUpMovingOnOut Tue 23-Feb-16 11:17:01

Are you applying for Google? I think it was them who used to have the person's MB profile on their doors under the occupant's name.

Any way, I work in HR and those are fairly standard questions but it is all faddy bollocks. Ime. Somebody senior somewhere will have done a MB profile and thought it hugely insightful so now believes it is the key to understanding all things and people. Or they heard Google did it and want to emulate them.

The reality is that the academic evidence just doesn't back MB as being particularly insightful. Not least because it's about preferred behaviour and doesn't account for assumed or learnt behaviour vs innate. I am an introvert. Yet almost every MB test has me as an extrovert because that is my learnt and adopted behaviour to make me good at my job... but it's not my natural state.

If I wanted the job I'd go along with it as a bit of harmless fun.

leedy Tue 23-Feb-16 11:19:44

Nope, Google don't do MB.

MovingOnUpMovingOnOut Tue 23-Feb-16 11:37:40

Now you say that I have a feeling Google don't do doors at all or something odd.

I can't remember who it was who had MB on the doors. It's going to irritate me now until I remember! It was someone big. Maybe Amazon?? Google's not turning anything up. Grr.

vladthedisorganised Tue 23-Feb-16 11:44:48

Not a Google job - not that well paid!

I suppose I don't mind treating these things as a bit like the Buzzfeed quizzes "My dominant personality trait is KINDNESS!!" based on the fact I liked a picture of a kitten, but it does seem to be asking for (potentially) very personal information about people who aren't applying for the job themselves.

The yes/no answers are open to misinterpretation too, depending on who is looking at them - so, for instance, if I agreed that 'my friends can behave in a risky way" and "there are things in my past I would not like to be publically known", I might well be talking about DH's predilection for fast skiing and that embarrassing time I managed to set off a fire alarm by tripping over a stick or something, but it might well be interpreted as FORMER CRACK DEALER by someone else (say). Similarly, my political views are no secret, but I would hope that they have no relevance to whether or not I know about SQL, so can't really see why they ask.

I guess I'm interested in why all of this is supposed to help; interesting that these are MB questions and I do wonder if someone in their HR has been on a course - I endured a lot of 'quadrant' communication training when someone in my current firm did! (I was red on one project and green on another..)

pocketsaviour Tue 23-Feb-16 11:59:58

About 10 years ago I was working for a very large company in the UK which had previously not gone in for any of this kind of bollocks when recruiting. Someone in senior management got a wild hair up their arse and decided that personality tests were terribly insightful and we were going to subject all of our existing management structure, from junior through to senior, to an entire day of personality testing, roleplaying, lifeboat/hot air balloon rubbish.

The idea was that we would then have a pool of about 70 responses to personality quizzes, and from that we could build a "profile" because all the "good" managers would give the same responses. So in future we could just give candidates a personality test and then not bother interviewing them if they didn't fit "the profile".

Funnily enough hmm the "good" managers had wildly different personality test results, because, and I can't believe still that I had to explain this to the executive who was convinced they would all be identical, our managers weren't fucking clones. They all had different strengths and weaknesses and part of the success of the team was to recognise and celebrate that, and give people the right jobs for the skillset.

The company who adminstered and marked the tests must have thought they had a license to print money, because the test results were so vague as to be completely useless. One of my direct reports had this exact sentence in hers: "X will sometimes takes risks to achieve the right result. However on other occasions, she will not." YOU DON'T SAY.

We also, as a group of seniors, reviewed the junior managers' results together. To a man, the "bad" managers (and there were a fair few who had been promoted way beyond their competence level) had all marked themselves incredibly highly in exactly the areas they were deficient in. For example, one manager who was sacked shortly afterwards had marked himself as "Excellent" in empathy with his team, being supportive, leading by example, etc. He was sacked for hitting one of his team because he thought she had borrowed something from his desk without asking.

And that's the real reason these tests don't work - people either lie and put down what they think the interviewer wants to hear, or they are so deluded about their own skills and abilities that you get a completely false picture of them.

So to end this long rant, my advice has always been to just put down what you think they're looking for as an answer, and if you genuinely don't know then just flip a coin.

TiredButFineODFOJ Tue 23-Feb-16 12:21:59

Personality fit and all that is such nonsense, companies don't see the massive irony of having a diversity policy then doing rubbish like this to find the right "fit".
The usual default with people is that they like people who are similar to them. Employers would love "clone" managers but if they ever got them they would soon start complaining.
Any company who rejects people on the basis of the mbti nonsense and is stupid enough to tell a candidate that needs suing for discrimination IMO!
The only "sort of" use I can see for it was a mass recruitment we did, as we had literally loads of jobs and teams we used it to get a "mix" of types in each team, not to pick who got the job. We managed to assess who to give jobs to based on actual evidence.
OP you may get some feedback that you are a KAWT (kitteny Analyst Worker Type) but it shouldn't be the deciding factor (I hope) people use this bunkum like horoscopes- they see what they want to see in it. If they are looking for an excuse to not employ, they'll find one.

JustABigBearAlan Tue 23-Feb-16 12:26:51

I'm sure it was incredibly frustrating at the time pocket, but reading that now, it's just hilarious! grin

Obs2016 Tue 23-Feb-16 12:30:35

You have to question what sort of company believes all this drivel.

WizardOfToss Tue 23-Feb-16 12:35:25

I've worked in HR and qualified in administering MBTI and other tests. They can have their uses as a starting point for individual or team development -you can have quite good conversations about why results don't reflect reality, for example! I wouldn't rate them for recruitment, but lots of companies do. The questions you mention in particular seem unnecessary and unhelpful.

It's all a bit of a game in recruitment I'm afraid - candidates say what they think you want to hear, and many tests don't have any legimate research to justify their use. Companies have a touching faith in them though..

TheFridgePickersKnickers Tue 23-Feb-16 12:39:41

It's this type of utter bollocks that stops me from getting g a job. I just simply cba to apply and deal with any of this shit.
The hoops I have had to jump through for minimum wage jobs would be hilarious if it wasn't true.
Of course most if this is down to the fact the UK produces fuck all. All our Industry has gone or will be in the next few years. Where jobs were in manufacturing years ago a whole new Recruitment Industry has developed. And if it isn't recruitment it connected to property.
Makes me so fucking angry. I know I'm more than capable of many jobs but because I cba to even try to answer fucking ridiculous questions like Do you prefer doing tuck jumps or star jumps? Well actually at age 44 I haven't done either since I was at school so I don't prefer either but oops- oh no, there isn't a box for that. It's a laughable game of idiocy. What happened to your previous experience playing a factor in an application. I can't always even get past the hideous make a fucking tit of yourself questions to start telling them about my relevant skills and experience.
At the moment we've just relocated and I'm hopefully recovering from cancer so not working or looking to work right now but when I m better I'm thinking of working for myself to avoid this bollocks.

FinallyHere Tue 23-Feb-16 12:47:47

While I have found the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) useful, especially, as PP mentions in personal and team development, and valuing differences (i first came across it when we had some tension on a team between those who went out to dinner together to continue project discussions and those who ordered room service for a break and recharge. MBTI gave us a way to talk about this with was not personal, ie We are better than you because we keep working over dinner), I distinctly remember the part of the training where they mentioned that using this approach to sift recruits was unethical and not an acceptable use of the MBTI in current best practice.

WizardOfToss Tue 23-Feb-16 12:52:52

I'd forgotten that, Finally. You're absolutely right. It's not only not helpful for recruitment, it's unethical.

Seriouslyffs Tue 23-Feb-16 12:59:49

pocket grin
(sorry, it must have been frustrating)

TreadSoftlyOnMyDreams Tue 23-Feb-16 13:17:33

"X will sometimes takes risks to achieve the right result. However on other occasions, she will not." YOU DON'T SAY.

That made me laugh out loud in the office. I've had to do one of these tests in the past week. I don't recall questions about risky behaviour at all so I'd give that feedback to your recruitment agent or their HR team.

MovingOnUpMovingOnOut Tue 23-Feb-16 13:56:02

grin pocketsaviour. Exactly.

DisappointedOne Tue 23-Feb-16 14:36:30

I like MBTI as a tool for demonstrating that we all have different preferences for how we work eg some individuals would rather you didn't phone them to tell them you've just emailed them and others would rather you did.

vladthedisorganised Tue 23-Feb-16 17:27:45

Hm - interesting article: not the firm I applied for, but it shows some of the questions I had to answer: www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/8880731/Your-answer-could-cost-you-your-job

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