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The Four Personality Types

by Aptitude Tests on 11 Mar 2014 permalink
It is possible to rate a person's temperament across four quadrants, namely sanguine (sparky), choleric (rocky), melancholic (arty) and phlegmatic (cool). How can you make sense of that information?

In conflict resolution those 4 genres would be called synergistic, win/lose, yield/lose and lose/leave.

In performance appraisal there would be dominant/warm, dominant/hostile, submissive/hostile and submissive/warm.

In work interaction they would be collaborative, competing, accommodating and avoiding.

In decision making there would be integration, power, suppression and denial.

In style they would be expressive, driver, analytical and amicable.

In emotions they would be inducement of others, dominance, compliance and steadiness.

In orientation they would be adapting/dealing, controlling/taking, supporting/giving and conserving/holding.

Sanguines would be people-oriented salespeople, experts in public relations displaying lots of charisma.

Cholerics are strong goal oriented natural leaders who thrive on managing people.

Melancholics are creative, analytical folks striving for perfection with aesthetic traits.

Phlegmatics are cool, detailed, patient individuals who tend to limit themselves. They can perform statistical, microscopic work that would drive others crazy.

Needless to say that in any situation you need a mix of those temperament types so that when people come together they are complete - not lacking anything.

You could also rate those four types along the lines of stable/unstable and introvert/extrovert. In this case the sanguine becomes sociable, outgoing, talkative, responsive, easy going, lively and carefree. The choleric becomes touchy, restless, aggressive, excitable, changeable, impulsive and optimistic. The melancholic becomes moody, anxious, rigid, sober, pessimistic, reserved, unsociable and quiet. Finally the phlegmatic stands for passive, careful, thoughtful, peaceful, controlled, reliable, even-tempered and calm.

If you now rate the four types in terms of strengths/weaknesses we have the sanguine weaknesses as exaggerating, egocentric, unproductive, emotionally unstable and undisciplined. But the sanguine strengths are outgoing, enthusiastic, compassionate, talkative, warm and friendly, responsive.

The choleric weaknesses are cold/unemotional, self-sufficient, impetuous, domineering, unforgiving, sarcastic, angry and cruel. The choleric strengths are strong-willed, independent, visionary, practical, productive, decisive, born-leader.

The melancholic weaknesses are theoretical, touchy, revengeful, persecution-prone, self-centred, moody, unsociable, negative and critical. The melancholic strengths are aesthetic, analytical, gifted, self-disciplined, industrious, self-sacrificing.

The phlegmatic weaknesses are unemotional, procrastinator, selfish, stingy, self-protective, indecisive, fearful, worrier. The phlegmatic strengths are calm/quiet, easy-going, dependable, objective, diplomatic, efficient/organised, practical and humorous.

I am sure by now you have desperately tried to see which category you fit in. There is a test you can take online to find out your temperament but unlike aptitude tests there are no right or wrong answers. Furthermore selecting people on the basis of a personality type is tantamount to prejudice just like selecting on the basis of sex, age or race.


Aptitude tests are here to stay - get over it!

by Aptitude Tests on 25 Feb 2014 permalink
How do you objectively compare applicants under the same standard? How do you screen out the cheats and the liars from the rest of the pack? How do you check if the skills claimed are current or long forgotten? To answer these questions and more recruiters are now turning to aptitude tests in droves.

An applicant might look very presentable at the interview but perform poorly under stress. There are times where it is not possible or convenient to check references.

How do you compare diplomas from different universities locally and overseas?

So are aptitude tests the answer? Yes and no. Tests can be used to corroborate your opinion about an applicant. Ultimately taking up employment has risks for both parties. Tests should not be used to discriminate on social or cultural background. Senior workers may fail tests that rely too much on memory when in the workplace the required information is readily available. A perfect parrot never makes a good employee. An applicant who passes test with flying colours might in fact be utterly bored in the job because there is nothing new to discover...

It is an art to craft a test which hones in a given topic from different angles to avoid guessing and misunderstanding.

The Myers-Briggs personality tests are cloaked in controversy as people are of two minds as to what it is they are actually measuring. Only 50% of people retested within 9 months will return the same results!

Ultimately if you blindly rely on the results of personality tests during the recruitment process it puts your leadership qualities into question. If you cannot trust your judgment in selecting people who will work under your authority what do they have left to look up to?

Aptitude tests will bring together four types of folks. People who want to practice as they re-enter the job market, candidates sponsored by an employer to undergo a series of tests prior to being called for an interview, recruiters who use online aptitude tests as a benchmark to screen applicants down to a shortlist and finally experts in a given field who give out some of their knowledge by writing a test.

There is an issue whether or not you should allow someone to sit again for the same test. To avoid this some tests providers change the order of questions at random or pick a subset of questions from a larger pool. In that case when we compare the scores of several candidates we are not comparing people who were given the same experience.

So at the end of the day aptitudes tests are neither good or bad - it's how you use or misuse them that makes them one or the other. In a world where everything revolves around Key Performance Indicators and Return On Investment the lure of aptitudes tests gives you the appearance that you have done due diligence. What about sitting down with somebody over a cup of coffee and getting to know that person?


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