An Open Letter to Someone Taking an Employment Assessment

Written by Daniel Crosby

Dear Job Seeker,

Hi there, it’s me, the organizational psychologist with whom you’ll be spending the next few hours. I know that you’re nervous and that I’m all that stands between you and this next gig, but I’d like to give you a few pointers to help make this process less painful for both of us. A few things to consider:

Don’t Make Shrink Jokes – I get it, my job is goofy. I also get that the stereotypes about beards and tweed are there for a reason. But, making a shrink joke with a psychologist is about as original as making a Men in Black joke to a guy named Will Smith. I promise you’re not as clever as you think.

Try to Relax – You’re understandably nervous and I’m going to do everything in my power to be disarming so that you can be your best. Nervous people tend to clam up and over manage impressions (cough, Mitt Romney, cough), which makes them hard to connect with. I promise we’ll develop better rapport if you chill out a little.

Be Honest – It’s natural for you to want to put your best foot forward, but it’s going to be harder to snow me than it was that 22 year-old generalist that first interviewed you. There is a real human tendency to want a complete picture of those with whom we interact. If you withhold information, I’m going to fill in the blanks myself and the inferences I draw may not be accurate or positive. Save us both the guesswork and be yourself – you’re your most likable when you’re your most forthright.

Don’t Game the Assessments – Odds are, I’ll be asking you to complete some personality profiles as well as some cognitive testing. The cog tests are hard to game and pretty much impossible to study for – take a deep breath, work quickly and do your best. The personality profiles on the other hand are a little easier to game. Please know that these assessments come with “social desirability scales” and that if you try and make yourself look like a superhuman, I’m likely to dig a little deeper in the interview. What’s more, you really don’t know what we’re looking for. Every personality trait has strengths and weaknesses, so please don’t try and manufacture someone that you’re not. After all, the real you may be just who we’re looking for – warts and all.

I’m really looking forward to meeting you and I’ll enjoy the next few hours we’ll have to talk about your personal and professional preferences. Your would-be employer would not have gone to the time and expense to arrange this meeting for us if they were not serious about you. Knowing that, be your funny, quirky, talented self and come get this job.

 

Sincerely,

Dr. Daniel Crosby

BIO: Educated at Brigham Young and Emory Universities, Dr. Daniel Crosby is President of IncBlot Organizational Psychology, a consultancy whose vision is to “flood the Earth skills for living and leading.” IncBlot’s clients include NASA, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, RS Funds, Guardian Life Insurance, and Grant Thornton.

Dr. Crosby has been featured in the Huffington Post, Registered Rep, Risk Management Magazine and regularly contributes thought leadership for Monster, CareerBuilder and Glassdoor. You can follow Daniel on Twitter @incblot, like the IncBlot FB page here (http://www.facebook.com/incblot) or visit their website at www.incblot.org.

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