Well, Rob Ford did it again (allegedly). Toronto now has the distinction of having an acting mayor that’s been caught smoking crack on tape not once, but twice (allegedly).
At Ideal Candidate, we’re big advocates of psychometric assessment and data-backed decision making. Although Rob Ford was democratically elected as mayor, let’s conduct a fun thought experiment on how psychometric testing could have prevented Rob from getting the job.
Here’s how Ford scores on four common characteristics of psychometric assessment:
- Conscientiousness: A public official representing the interests of millions of people needs to be conscientious: responsible, hardworking, and dependable. Conscientiousness is the Big Five personality traits with the strongest correlation to job performance (Barrick & Mount, 1991). According to attendance records of city council meetings, Rob Ford was absent for more than 50% of votes as a city councillor prior to being voted in as mayor. This unimpressive attendance record continues into his mayorship.
- Agreeableness: Agreeableness is another one of the Big Five personality traits. A mayor of a large city needs to be agreeable: cooperating and building consensus with dozens of city councillors and being tolerant of differences in opinions. Based on his bad mouthing of other councillors and aggressive reaction to criticism, it’s pretty safe to say this isn’t the case with Rob Ford.
- Integrity: A person in public office needs to be honest, trustworthy, and ethical. According to the Society for Industrial & Organizational Psychology, “Integrity tests are used to identify individuals who are likely to engage in inappropriate, dishonest, and antisocial behavior at work.” The results of Rob Ford’s integrity test would be interesting to say the least.
- Cognitive Ability: Cognitive ability (i.e., intelligence) has been found to be one of the best predictors of job performance, especially for jobs higher in complexity (Hunter & Hunter, 1984). Everyone can agree that the position of mayor is extremely complex with all the budgets to balance, strategies to envision, and policies to implement. As for Rob Ford’s level of cognitive ability, well, that remains undetermined.
Although this exercise was tongue-in-cheek, the serious takeaway is that psychometric assessments can help identify the strengths and weaknesses of any job candidate, before they’re in your office. Even mayoral ones.
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