Is The Rorschach Inkblot Test Useful and Reliable for The Recruitment Process?

The job search is sometimes a hard and long process as the applicant has to face several and really different stages to reach the top. Recruiters tend to use a large number of evaluations to select the ideal candidate and the psychological ones are very popular. The Rorschach technique is one of the most famous tests when it comes to evaluate aspirants´ personality, but here is the question: is it useful and reliable for the recruitment process?

First at all, we should know how the Rorschach inkblot test works. It is a psychological evaluation method created by the Swiss psychologist Hermann Rorschach in 1921 that examines an individual´s personality. The test consists of ten inkblots cards which ought to be interpreted and whose meaning, depending on the subject, might be utterly different. The person just needs to say what she is seeing in the inkblot and the doctor will do the rest. Considering the images’ ambiguity, there are thousands of interpretations, but all of these will decipher interesting characteristics about our personality.  

The Rorschach test has been massively used since the 1940s until the present and it is considered by some psychologists and psychiatrists as a great way to assess personality and detect underlying thought disorders. The American Psychological Association assured in 1998 this test is the best analysis´s tool ever created, whilst a survey conducted in 2009 by the psychologists Lenz, Ek, and Mills revealed that 74% of College’s students in USA believe the Rorschach technique is useful for the psychological diagnosis.

Recruiters have always taken advantage of The Rorschach evaluation´s reliability and have used this method for the selection process. Basically, the department of Human Resources can verify if the candidate´s description and his real personality match up as well as if his profile is suitable for the job position. As it is a subjective exam, there are no right or wrong answers, but the best choice is seeing logical and symmetric shapes instead of irregular or bizarre concepts. Obviously, if you claim that the inkblot is a horrific creature, the recruiter probably hires you… in another life.

Bear in mind that, in spite of the recruitment process has been adapted to a new communication era, some companies are still using this technique nowadays. That is why you can check out several websites where you will find how to answer the Rorschach inkblot test, which have generated controversy among psychologists and psychiatrists because if the ‘proper’ answers are revealed, the test would become a pointless tool. This article in Scientific American sums the debate up:

Controversy and debate

Although the Rorschach test has been always highly regarded, part of the scientific community has cast doubt on its validity since the 1950s. Some psychologists and psychiatrists consider that the projective technique´s interpretation is totally subjective, so its results are poorly verifiable as much in psychiatry as in the recruitment process.  In 1997 United States courts reversed a sentence that had used the Rorschach test earlier as a proof to deny supplemental security income (SSI) for Carlotta Jones, an American worker who suffered depression. According to the technique, Jones was fit enough and she did not have the right to any SSI application, but the judge discredited Rorschach and stated that “results do not meet the requirements of standardization, reliability, or validity of clinical diagnostic tests, and interpretation thus is often controversial”.

However, the International Society of the Rorschach and Projective Methods (ISR) keeps on supporting the test´s efficacy in Medicine and the recruitment process as there are prestigious researches, like Handbook of Personality Assessment, conducted by the psychologists Irving B. Weiner and Roger L. Greene in 2008, that have demonstrated this theory. 

After all, it is not easy to assess if the Rorschach inkblot test can be considered as a useful and reliable tool for the recruitment process. Everything ends up depending on the point of view of supporters or critics. Have you ever come across this test in your selection process? Do you trust this technique? Is an inkblot just an inkblot or maybe the key to your future?



-          Making Connections: Creating a Human Neural Network to Demonstrate Hebbian Learning by  Hilary E. Stebbins, University of Mary Washington (2011)



-          Handbook of Personality Assessment by Irving B. Weiner and Roger L. Greene (2008)