Are Workplace Personality Tests Fair?

Workers who apply online at RadioShack Corp. must say if they agree with the statement: “Over the course of the day, I can experience many mood changes.” Lowe’s Cos. asks job seekers if they “believe that others have good intentions.” A test at McDonald’s Corp. said: “If something very bad happens, it takes some time before I feel happy again.”

The use of online personality tests by employers has surged in the past decade as they try to streamline the hiring process, especially for customer-service jobs. Such tests areused to assess the personality, skills, cognitive abilities and other traits of 60% to 70% of prospective workers in the U.S., up from 30% to 40% about five years ago, estimates Josh Bersin, principal of consulting firm Bersin by Deloitte.

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