Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology

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Volume 61 Issue 2 (June 1988), Pages 113-194

Spuriouser and spuriouser: The use of ipsative personality tests (pages 153-162)

One of the more worrying features of recruitment and selection practices in the United Kingdom is the misuse of ipsative personality tests. Employers are understandably attracted by claims that these quick and easy to administer tests will give valid insights into the personality of job applicants. However, on the evidence we have seen, the publishers and the promoters of these tests are either unaware of, or do not understand, or are choosing to ignore their limitations. This is not to say that ipsative tests have no utility but that the claims made for their validity and reliability and their applicability to inter‐individual comparisons are misleading. Failure to take account of the mathematical properties of ipsative measures leads users to treat them as if they are normative measures, with startling consequences which ought to be obvious but unfortunately are not.

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