Monday, May 12, 2008

So High Self-Esteem is a Good Thing Right?

During the interview the job candidate has a great deal of self-confidence and obviously has high self-esteem and you’re thinking this is going well. But it turns out that researcher, Michael Kernis, Ph.D, Professor of Psychology at the University of Georgia says, “There are many kinds of high self-esteem, and in this study we found that for those in which it is fragile and shallow it’s no better than having low self-esteem.”

Now there is good self-esteem and bad self-esteem. The self-esteem goodnicks were less likely to be verbally defensive by blaming others or providing excuses when discussing past transgressions or threatening experiences. The baddies were more verbally defensive. The professor sums up, “These findings support the view that (high self-esteem involving) heightened defensiveness reflects insecurity, fragility and less-than-optimal functioning rather than a healthy psychological outlook”

My conclusion, self-esteem probably is not a great predictor of job performance and HR professionals should probably stay out of the psychoanalytic business. I think that this is true of pre-employment tests as well. A good pre-employment test should be related to the job environment and not one’s personality.

The Workplace Attitudes Test makes the following assumptions: 1) the workplace is a social environment; 2) people should get along with each other; 3) people with bad attitudes don’t play well with others; 4) certain work-related attitudes pre-dispose people to act in certain ways; 5) workplace attitudes can be measured; 6) disruptive people, often described as jerks, have problem workplace attitudes; and 7) jerks, identified by behavior or consensus, are happy to reveal all of their workplace attitudes because they are proud of those attitudes.

The Workplace Attitudes Test works not because it is psychoanalytic, but because it looks at attitudes related to social aspects of the workplace. See,

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