Personality Test Abuse Exposed!

How Test Creators Use Information Asymmetry to Outwit their Customers


Not all assessments are created equal. As you consider alternatives to Prevue, keep in mind the following:


The purpose of this short report is to look at some “insider secrets” of the assessment industry. When I traveled selling automotive seminars, my mentor told me about when dealerships used intercoms during sales negotiations. Over time the practice was shunned, and the trend toward more “customer-friendly” sales approaches has not abated. Over time automotive industry trade practices have become high integrity. Did competition or regulation create this, or was it the internet?

We live in a world of the increasing complexity of decision making today. Naturally, we gravitate to the fastest and least complicated way to get to point A to point B. But we cannot escape Einstein’s most famous quote about keeping it simple

Consider the Black Box phenomena. Assessment tools are human performance technology where suppliers have inordinate power over buyers. I’m going to expose in this document how relatively unsophisticated buyers (hiring managers) need to be on guard for unscrupulous vendors of assessments that make claims far beyond the capabilities of their products. View Assessment does not pull any punches here, and neither have I.

From the Article Above Many assessment products that purport to be designed for hiring and promotion decisions only provide information about the candidate, with no reference to the position for which they are being considered. The Prevue Assessments compare candidates against Prevue Benchmarks: a customized job fit profile that describes the characteristics of the ideal candidate for each of the positions in your organization.

For Details See  Job Benchmarking – PrevueHR Web

Compare Normative Tests (like Prevue) to Similar Offerings. The evidence is quite clear that there are significant differences between a normative assessment like the Prevue and the vast array of ipsative tests. Culture Index Is one of literally hundreds of readily available ipsative tests on the market without independent validation for hiring.  My assessment publisher has a couple of similarly constructed and priced tests that I could offer. Still, others have sought to enter this market with copy-cat tests based on one of the free Big 5 Personality Tests.  But there is a reason that companies use validated assessments like Prevue specifically developed for use in hiring.   

The more time it takes, the more valid an assessment becomes.  MOst of Virtually all assessments (or compilation of assessments) created for the hiring process require a minimum of 45-60 minutes to complete—the time necessary to cover both cognitive, motivational, and personality factors in detail–tests generally referred to as “Total Person” assessments. Is there a way to look at twenty words and discern the meaning of life? Maybe, but probably not, or we would all be following the advice so ordained. We note this contradicts what the market wants—a test with predictive capabilities generated in little or no time. The less time it takes, the better. No surprise here. We can expect to one day see a “handshake” (or no handshake) test. And there will be minions of the test publishers that will swear by it. 

Cognitive Ability Trumps all other Testing Criteria. It’s pretty obvious why many assessment publishers want to stay away from abilities– it takes too much time to fit their marketing model.  A simple wordplay exercise (an ipsative test, for example) can provide insight into how a personality characteristic might play out with other people. One examined trait is conscientiousness, the most significant predictor of success with some caveats. But what if you want to measure the level of someone’s conscientiousness. You will need that person’s level of conscientiousness to predict interactions between people in person and selling situations, as discussed in the next section.

Salesperson Selling Attributes Demand a “Normed” Benchmark. Senior management has noted the sizable content developed for predicting salesperson success, attributes, and selling behavior. We are providing this insight as both a hiring tool on the front end and ongoing coaching to the level of sales problem diagnostics. You cannot create this kind of content without a measurable distinction between individuals that the normative measurement like Prevue provides. 

View Assessments (Prevue) “The Great Debate” Blog Post. The View Assessments search result for Normative versus Ipsative Testing shows up in the third place in my current location. But the commentary on the View site is consistent with all of the best research available. Go here for more discussion. 

Lack of Online Information about the Use of Ipsative Tests in Hiring & Recruiting. You’ll discover little about the use of its ipsative test in hiring and recruiting,  and what you do find will generally be negative. That is not to say that some of the test publishers do not dance around the issue, and offer up the kind of repetition that seems to suggest a wide application of the products—but virtually nothing specific about recruiting and training. Some publishers have rejected the trend and do make clear and unambiguous statements regarding the use of their tests, as noted here.


Let the best Psychometric Assessment Win. As an independent assessment distributor for over 20 years, I would be open to using any validated psychometric assessment that made sense for the client. It just so happens that the Prevue assessment is a good value and has continued to improve and evolve (in 2020, View released the new TeamFit Report for simplified team coaching). From 08-09, I lived in Bogota (where you will find the world’s best Spanish), and we tested Colombianos to validate the Prevue assessment for Spanish. After 30 years and millions of tests conducted, this Canadian company is a proven winner.  

View Assessments FirstView Report. View assessments have a product similar to the Prevue that can be completed in about 20 minutes and provides valuable but limited cognitive, motivational, and personality reporting. The product is useful on the hiring process’s front-end as a screening tool with pricing to match the level of candidate insight.  



Top Organic Search Results – Comments Suitability Regarding Use in Hiring

#1 Search Result:

From the Article regarding Normative Testing: 

This type of rating system is extremely straightforward and allows a quantitative analysis of individuals’ perceptions and feelings regarding a determined construct amongst the patterns of normality. For this reason, this kind of assessment is recommended for recruitment and selection applications, as well as individual development and training.

From the Article regarding Hiring Ipsative Testing:

Thus, as published in an article by the British Psychological Society, “an ipsative test might identify someone’s strongest personality characteristic, for example, and also show which characteristics they are weakest in”. In short, it is true that they are rather helpful for coaching and development purposes. However, ipsative scores can only provide a comparison within an individual and therefore they are NOT recommended to be used for recruitment and selection purposes as they don’t provide an evaluation that allows a comparison between individuals.

#2 Search Result

From the Article

Normative and ipsative measurements are different rating scales usually used in personality or attitudinal questionnaires. Normative measures provide inter-individual differences assessment, whereas ipsative measures provide intraindividual differences assessment

A common theme is the inability of ipsative tests to distinguish between individuals. The test is a self-measurement or in the case of this author an “intra-individual” assessment. He also discusses the relative validity of normative and ipsative validity and pronounces that the normative method is generally superior. 

#3 Search Result

This article has been inserted here in its entirety;

The Great Debate; Ipsative vs. Normative

The Prevue Personality Assessment is a normative test. Users of Prevue Assessments often ask what the difference between ipsative and normative tests is?

First, the form of questions posed in these two types of assessments is usually quite distinct. The questions in the ipsative test ask the test taker to choose between one of two extremes while the normative test gives the test taker the option of an in-between or middle response between the two extremes. The ipsative test, therefore, forces the test taker to choose between being, for example, either extremely introverted or extroverted, when in fact the vast majority of us are somewhere in between.

The second and more important difference is well explained in a recently published definition in the British Psychological Society’s ‘Assessment & Development Matters’: “Ipsative tests are tests which compare the balance of characteristics within a given individual. An ipsative test might identify someone’s strongest personality characteristic, for example, and also show which characteristics they are weakest in. But it wouldn’t say anything about how that person stacks up against someone else on those characteristics.” In short, the ipsative test does not compare individuals to a “norm” or another standard for comparison that is critical for screening, selection and promotion decisions.

The best argument for using ipsative tests is made in the BPS definition noted above when it goes on to say, “So ipsative tests are useful for giving tailored advice, for example, in vocational guidance, but not for comparing people. For that, you need normative tests, where the measures are standardized against population norms and can, therefore, give you an idea of how people, or groups of people, measure up against one another.”

On the other hand, the following quote from the famous psychometrician, Dr. Paul Kline, should carry the day in comparing these two types of personality assessments:

“It is clear that normative tests are far superior to ipsative tests as precise measures of psychological characteristics. Ipsative scores are only suitable as a basis of discussion. Since, however, it is perfectly possible to use normative tests as a basis for discussion and have, in addition, scores suitable for statistical analysis, there seems no reason to use ipsative scored tests, and they are not recommended.”


Ipsative Test Usefulness in Predicting Behaviour and Making Hiring Decisions

It is an exciting phenomenon (and valid) that the most successful in life can win on the merits. With no need to brag or engage in hyperbole, leaders can confidently state their limitations. The two companies below are two of the most widely recognized purveyors of ipsative tests–they have no problem unequivocally declaring to their users the weaknesses in the use of their products.

CPP, publisher of the Myers-Briggs

“It is not, and was never intended to be predictive, and should never be used for hiring, screening or to dictate life decisions.” 

Source: MBTI: manual supplements

 DiSC Profile, A popular Publisher of DISC

“DiSC is not recommended for pre-employment screening because it does not measure a specific skill, aptitude or factor specific to any position. The diSC is not a predictive assessment so assumptions should not be made regarding an applicant’s probability of success based solely on their style.

Source: discprofile: Can I use DiSC® during the hiring process?


See live link Assessment Education FAQ in the MindManager Viewer

The above “live” link is created with MindManager 2020 and is in a state of constant revision. Check out the search results for some of the most commonly asked questions regarding this topic. In some cases, I have also added a recommended link for your review.  

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Dave Welch


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