We All Know That Personality Tests Are Pseudoscience… So Why Do Companies Still Use Them?

Erik Devaney
5 min readMay 21, 2019

I won’t beat a dead horse. You’ve probably read an article or two in recent years about the limitations of personality tests, like the Myers-Briggs and the DiSC assessment — the latter of which was based on the work of William Marston, the creator of Wonder Woman and a vocal proponent of polyamory and bondage. (👈 Companies typically don’t mention that part before making you take the DiSC assessment.)

What researchers came to realize and what you’ve probably come to realize is that most work conflicts aren’t due to personality, but instead have more nuanced and complex underlying causes, which are often steeped in office politics. In many cases, a lack of accountability and/or transparency is what leads to conflict, not clashes in personality.

So, if we’re all in agreement that personality tests are pseudoscience, and they aren’t particularly effective at resolving company conflicts, why are so many companies still using them?

1) Personality tests provide another data point during the hiring process.

This is the most common argument I’ve heard for companies continuing to use personality tests: While the tests aren’t based on stellar science, they do offer companies…

--

--

Erik Devaney

Full-time stay-at-home dad, part-time ghostwriter, retired pub musician, recovering marketer