Author Topic: Canadian Forces Trait Self Descriptive Personality Inventory  (Read 71436 times)

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Offline Raeden

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Before I get into what I have to say, everything that I refer to is public information and can be found here: http://cradpdf.drdc-rddc.gc.ca/PDFS/unc126/p531805_A1b.pdf so as far as I am concerned nothing I talk about is breaking any non-disclosure agreements.

For those of you who do not know what the TSD is, it is a personality test that is done alongside the CFAT. The two scores are combined into an overall score. This overall score is what determines what trades you qualify for. This post is written to express my disagreement with the TSD system currently in place but as well as to bring some insight to those interested in applying or what have you. Let me begin.

Entering the military is competitive and a large amount of people try to get in so the TSD is the result of an effort to cut down staff time and to help deem what trades the applicants are qualified for.
It has problems though.

As an example to lead into what I'm about to explain I'll share my experience.

I applied for pilot or at least any officer trade as a DEO. My CFAT score alone qualifies me for every trade in the military, commissioned and non commissioned.
However after the personality test score was merged with the CFAT score I didn't even qualify for any officer trade whatsoever, to much of my surprise as well as everyone who knows me.
I remember the types of questions and I know myself, I couldn't understand how my personality test was so poor that I didn't qualify. I've had all sorts of leadership positions before and I'm a strong, stable person with good skills, so why did I "fail" the personality test.

This is where I get to the flaws of the test. Keep in mind this isn't written to complain about my situation, I merely used my situation as an example of context to aid in your understanding of the upcoming issues being discussed.
Anyways,

The personality test asks you questions based on certain traits;
-Organization, altruism, agreeableness, social activity etc etc

But a fault that it has is that it doesn't provide any context for the questions. For example if it says "I am an organized person" and you need to state how true or false that is, it doesn't say in what situation are you organized. This is the only reason I can think of for why I failed. For example, at work in my work environment, I am really organized, clean, neat and alert. At home I have clothes all over my floor and dishes on my desk. I separate my home environment and my work environment and am different in each environment. It can be vice-versa for other people. Some people may keep their personal spaces at home very organized, neat & tidy but not give a care in the world about keeping the workplace clean because it's not "theirs". But these people might naturally answer that they are "very organized." The person who is organized at work would in my opinion be the better choice to take for a job but because of how this test works the other person who is unorganized at work might get the job offer. Another example of a question may be "Do you like to be the centre of attention at a party"? Is it my birthday party? my friend's engagement party? Who else is there?
For me, at home I am a quiet, somewhat messy, relaxed person. I probably naturally answered the test with that in mind but at work I am socially engaged, organized, hard working, dutiful, in times of stress I gain even more focus and I always go beyond what is needed of me etc etc. I can say this in an interview but I can't put that all on the TSD. This is why I think I failed. And if you ask a recruiter "What is the context though? What if it's this type of party, or this type?" They won't really help you out, and no matter what they say you can't elaborate on the test so even the fact that you are a sharp thinker, open-minded and aware that there is no context, it won't reward you in any way.

The test does not state a setting or context and you can't generalize someone's personality based on a single setting/environment that they're in.
So from the test's & scoring view, I may not be suitable for officer since I am not "organized enough" because when I answer the question, I answer it as if I'm just "being myself" at home, even though at work I am very organized, more than others. Even if at a friend's place, I'll be more organized because I don't want to dirty their place.

It's natural to answer general questions about yourself with the context of "everyday you at home". Think about this for a moment. Let's say you exercise a lot. If a Stranger came up to you and asked if you are active, you would probably reply yes because in your free time you exercise a lot but at work you could be sitting at a desk for 8-12 hours not having a shred of physical activity." see what I mean? The test doesn't state which context it wants you to answer for, but it's natural to answer from the perspective of being outside of work. There are obviously more contexts & settings other than just at home or at work. Other contexts could be related to moods. Are you socially active when you're sad?, when you're happy? It doesn't care but you'll be judged based on your generalized answer that may not relate to your desired trade at all.

So with failing to create a context for the sets of questions it's easy to have a false interpretation or a highly generalized representation of an applicant that may not apply to how they would actually perform in the work environment.
If you don't do well enough on the personality test, that's the end of the line for you. And this is another flaw. Yes it does cut staff time down however you don't even get to interact with another human being. Your entire personality & character is judged by a piece of paper that provides no context in which to judge you by. There is no human interaction where they can get an impression of your motivations, how you react to different scenarios etc. Let's say that you applied to be a pilot or an armoured officer or any commissioned trade of your choice. You could be the most naturally gifted, perfect fit for the trade but be rejected by this paper, regardless of your CFAT scores without having the ability to prove yourself, personality-wise or otherwise to a single human. I think that is a flaw.

I think an improvement would be to have applicants before writing a cfat or after the cfat when they go into the office to discuss their results, have a "mini-interview" in lieu of or alongside of having the TSD. The point would be to have a genuine impression of the applicants personality in whatever context is spoken about. The interviewer could use the TSD to ask the applicant questions. It would be really quick and the CF member is already talking to the person about their results in private anyway and if they already had the TSD they would have quick & easy access to question material .

I've had a recruiter agree and say to me that the test is flawed and they are in the midst of talking about lowering the weight of the TSD score because they are losing many good candidates because of it.

I was also made aware that starting this year (2015) the required overall score for DEO was raised. From what the recruiter understood, he expected it to be because DEO applicants are expected to be more educated.
However if that is true, I do not understand the logic behind that.

All officer candidates should be held to the same aptitude standards, all potential officers go through the same training why should DEO applicants with a degree in forestry or agriculture require a higher score when the CFAT has verbal, spatial and mathematical problem solving, things that are unrelated to said applicants degree?
Not only that but the TSD is factored into the overall score so are DEO's expected to be more intelligent and have a more suiting personality? The whole thing just makes no sense to me.
Actually an interesting point about the increased required score for DEO is that I had re-written the CFAT. The first time I wrote it a couple years ago (before the required score increase) I had actually qualified for officer and that is with the personality test included. I wanted to be more competitive so I chose to rewrite the CFAT to try to increase my score and I wasn't even qualified this time because of the new requirements even though I scored far better on the CFAT the second time. You can't rewrite the TSD for 5 years so they used my TSD from before. So my personality was good enough for officer two years ago but it isn't now? If a person was judging my personality they would have an impression that could be used to weigh in at all times. It would be consistent. Having the test decide if you're worthy is inconsistent because it's based on a score system so at certain times your personality could be "good enough" and at other times it could be "not good enough" A person would have a consistent impression that weighs in. You could either always "fit" or always "not fit", regardless of score requirements. 

Another flaw with the TSD and the system behind it is that studies show that personality tests don't correlate with skills/skill potential. When you are at a bar with new people, maybe you're shy & quiet. But on the job in the military you could be a very active, natural leader who is always taking initiative and engaging with people regardless of who they are.

The bottom line is that people change based on their environment and the TSD doesn't take any of that into account. It's shallow and it is way too large of a deciding factor, especially since there is no human interaction or weight added in until the interview, which only happens after the TSD "accepts" you. Going back to what my recruit said. "We are losing many good candidates."

 So the advice that I can give you is that when you write your TSD, write it in the context of you being in the trade that you want to be in (even though you have no experience in that trade).
If you answer honestly based on your every day self, which is natural, it can work against you for the wrong reasons.
So to be judged more fairly, you need to be dishonest and answer in a way in which you think your personality would be while on the field in that trade I guess is what I'm saying. I disagree with that but it is what it is. I mean you answer honestly about how you think you'd be, but it's dishonest to answer based on a scenario that you aren't/haven't been in. The goal is to at least get an interview where a human can decide.

If you comment on this please don't just chirp me and say "you're just complaining because you didn't qualify for officer". Yes I am bitter but emotions spur people to write. Someone doesn't write about something that they're not passionate about unless it's mandatory such as homework etc. Not only that but I think it is a justified topic to write about and hopefully this brings you some insight on how to approach the TSD to better improve your chances of at least getting an interview and showing who you are to a person rather a paper.

As for me and my situation, although I am frustrated and think I've been cheated (I'm not trying to sound entitled, I am not more special than anyone else), I have since applied for NCM-infantry with the goal of being a pilot and receiving a commission after 5 years. I know who I am & what I am capable of. I know it's competitive and not a guarantee but I do believe that in many cases hard work does pay off and I know I can prove that I'm worthy of a chance. Once in the military you get to prove yourself to people rather than paper. That's my approach.

Thanks for reading everyone! Good luck on your tests!
« Last Edit: February 17, 2015, 15:50:19 by Raeden »

Offline DAA

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Well that was an interesting read.  But I have to correct you on two points which you have made above and are as follows:

a.  "Another flaw with the TSD and the system behind it is that studies show that personality tests don't correlate with skills/skill potential."  Not entiirely correct.  It is the CFAT which is used to determine your "skills potential", that's why it's called an "Aptitude" test;  and

b.  "You can't rewrite the TSD for 5 years so they used my TSD from before."   Absolutely NOT true.  The truth is, the TSD is a "one-time" test and CANNOT be rewritten.

Other than that, reasonably good advice!
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Offline Raeden

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Well that was an interesting read.  But I have to correct you on two points which you have made above and are as follows:

a.  "Another flaw with the TSD and the system behind it is that studies show that personality tests don't correlate with skills/skill potential."  Not entiirely correct.  It is the CFAT which is used to determine your "skills potential", that's why it's called an "Aptitude" test;  and

b.  "You can't rewrite the TSD for 5 years so they used my TSD from before."   Absolutely NOT true.  The truth is, the TSD is a "one-time" test and CANNOT be rewritten.

Other than that, reasonably good advice!

I was told by my recruiters that it can be re-written after 5 years but if I'm wrong I'm wrong and thanks for the correct information if that's the case

Yes the cfat does judge your skill, but for my example I qualified for all officer trades based on that, but the personality test brought me down. So despite the cfat deeming you worthy the personality test can say otherwise even if you have the necessary skills. I understand that personality is VERY important but my point is that the TSD system is highly flawed in this regard. Thanks for reading!
« Last Edit: February 17, 2015, 14:27:05 by Raeden »

Offline cryco

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I didn't know the personality test had a score attached to it. I thought it was pass/fail for the trade you want.

Offline Raeden

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I didn't know the personality test had a score attached to it. I thought it was pass/fail for the trade you want.

If you look at the link that I had provided you can see a little about how they "score" your personality. But you do have an overall score that is a merge of your CFAT score and whatever score your TSD is. I'm not sure how they merge the two scores together. I don't know the exact weight of the TSD either.Like I've said they're talking about lowering it's influence but I'm not sure by how much or if it'll even happen. If it does it won't be for awhile I suspect.

When I spoke to them about my results they brought up a table that had all the trades and the required overall score to qualify. Then they looked at my overall score composed of the two tests and compared it to the required score on the table for each trade. They then told me that "I couldn't do any officer trades but I could do all NCM trades etc". They didn't look at each individual officer trade and say that my personality didn't fit this or this or this or this, it was a score vs score situation.

Thanks for reading!

Offline G.R-B

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Having answered a lot of these recently for student jobs from big employers (Call centers, hotels, etc.) I have the worst opinion of this type of test. You can often smell what answer they are hoping for, yet the question still makes no sense whatsoever. As an example, I was once asked "Is it normal for someone to give an average performance?". Well, what they want is no, people should always give their best. But isn't the definition of Normal to be in a range close to the Average? "Someone" should be working harder than the rest, but then, should the rest also be working harder than the rest? Is the question asking if it's Okay to work just average? Or is it asking if you think people are doing it? So, my honest answer would be "I find normal for an employer to have high standards regarding its employees, and for the employees' performance to attain or surpass the standards." but I can answer Yes or No... The 45 minutes questionnaire was chuck full of things like that  :threat:

Hopefully the CF TSD is better than the other ones.

My CFAT is Thursday, so I'll have a better impression after that.

Offline Raeden

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Having answered a lot of these recently for student jobs from big employers (Call centers, hotels, etc.) I have the worst opinion of this type of test. You can often smell what answer they are hoping for, yet the question still makes no sense whatsoever. As an example, I was once asked "Is it normal for someone to give an average performance?". Well, what they want is no, people should always give their best. But isn't the definition of Normal to be in a range close to the Average? "Someone" should be working harder than the rest, but then, should the rest also be working harder than the rest? Is the question asking if it's Okay to work just average? Or is it asking if you think people are doing it? So, my honest answer would be "I find normal for an employer to have high standards regarding its employees, and for the employees' performance to attain or surpass the standards." but I can answer Yes or No... The 45 minutes questionnaire was chuck full of things like that  :threat:

Hopefully the CF TSD is better than the other ones.

My CFAT is Thursday, so I'll have a better impression after that.

Hey good luck!

I didn't find that the questions were too ambiguous/ complicated to understand I just find a lot of the answers can vary depending on the situation and context.
It's a self assessment but when you describe yourself you probably would say that you can both be a certain way about something and for the same thing be something else depending on the situation.

Example: "Do you usually let others do all the talking during a meeting?"

Answer:
Depends... Do I know much about the topic? Did I sleep well last night and am super tired? who else is there? Do I even need to say anything? Not saying anything doesn't mean that I am not socially active, maybe I just say something when I think it's warranted. What kind of meeting is it? Maybe all the meetings that I tend to be in are more about the lead giving a briefing on what's to be done and the others don't really say much.

But you can't ask those questions, you just need to give an answer and your whole character is judged on it without any discussion.
« Last Edit: February 17, 2015, 17:57:27 by Raeden »

Offline Eric17

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What is Trait Self-descriptive (TSD)
« Reply #57 on: September 16, 2016, 00:54:39 »
My CFAT and TSD is next week, I'm curious what TSD is.
Recruiting Centre: HMCS Discovery/New Westminister RC
Regular/ Reserve: Reserve
Officer/NCM: NCM
Trade Choice 1: Naval Combat Information Operator
Trade Choice 2: Boatswain
Trade Choice 3: Naval Communicator
Online Application: July 19th 2016
First Contact: July 21th 2016
FORCE test: July 28th, 2016 (Passed)
CFAT: September 22nd, 2016 (Passed)
Medical: October 21st, 2016 (Passed)
Interview: October 21st, 2016 (Passed)
Position offered: Boatswain
Swearing in: December 6th, 2016
BMQ: TBD

Offline Moore

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Re: What is Trait Self-descriptive (TSD)
« Reply #58 on: September 16, 2016, 01:16:04 »
My CFAT and TSD is next week, I'm curious what TSD is.

Hey, TSD is Trait Self Descriptive. It's basically a survey of your personality that you answer honestly to be able to tell the recruiter which job is best for you.
Recruiting Center: Peterborough
Regular/Reserves: Regular
Officer/NCM: NCM
Trade Choice 1: Combat Engineer
Trade Choice 2: Infantry
Trade Choice 3: Crewman
Application date: September 7th, 2014
Further Processing: September 9th, 2014
First contact: September 15th, 2014
CFAT: October 16th, 2014
Interview: November 20th, 2014
Medical: November 20th, 2014
Merit Listed: December 2nd, 2014
Position Offered: December 17th - Infantry
Swear In: February 5th 2015 @ 11:30
BMQ: February 9th 2015 - R0074E

Offline tracie_anderson

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Trait Self-Descriptor (TSD)
« Reply #59 on: December 01, 2016, 12:58:57 »
I got an email today from CF. They booked me for my TSD in January. The email really didn't give a lot of details about it. Can anyone give me any insight into this?

Thanks


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Online mariomike

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Re: Trait Self-Descriptor (TSD)
« Reply #60 on: December 01, 2016, 13:01:09 »
They booked me for my TSD in January. The email really didn't give a lot of details about it. Can anyone give me any insight into this?

For reference, perhaps,

Trait Self-Descriptor (TSD)

will be merged with,

Trait Self Descriptive Personality Inventory ( TSD )
http://army.ca/forums/index.php?topic=109056.0
3 pages.
« Last Edit: December 01, 2016, 16:18:55 by mariomike »
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Offline MACGILL

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Re: Canadian Forces Trait Self Descriptive Personality Inventory
« Reply #61 on: December 11, 2016, 13:04:42 »
Hi there. I'm terrible at spelling and have horrible handwriting. It's really embarrassing. But I never have much of an issue with it since everything is done on the computer these days. However, I'm worried that I won't make a good impression during the application process for the Army Reserves if there is a written component necessary. How is the Trait Self Descriptive Questionnaire formatted? Is it multiple choice, fill-in the blanks or are short hand-written paragraphs necessary? Thank you.

Offline Eric17

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Re: Trait Self-Descriptor (TSD)
« Reply #62 on: December 12, 2016, 01:53:40 »
I got an email today from CF. They booked me for my TSD in January. The email really didn't give a lot of details about it. Can anyone give me any insight into this?

Thanks


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There's nothing to worry about, the TSD is basically a self-evaluation of what kind of person you are. Just do good on your CFAT and you will be fine.
« Last Edit: December 13, 2016, 00:45:20 by Eric16 »
Recruiting Centre: HMCS Discovery/New Westminister RC
Regular/ Reserve: Reserve
Officer/NCM: NCM
Trade Choice 1: Naval Combat Information Operator
Trade Choice 2: Boatswain
Trade Choice 3: Naval Communicator
Online Application: July 19th 2016
First Contact: July 21th 2016
FORCE test: July 28th, 2016 (Passed)
CFAT: September 22nd, 2016 (Passed)
Medical: October 21st, 2016 (Passed)
Interview: October 21st, 2016 (Passed)
Position offered: Boatswain
Swearing in: December 6th, 2016
BMQ: TBD

Offline Eric17

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Re: Canadian Forces Trait Self Descriptive Personality Inventory
« Reply #63 on: December 12, 2016, 11:00:52 »
Hi there. I'm terrible at spelling and have horrible handwriting. It's really embarrassing. But I never have much of an issue with it since everything is done on the computer these days. However, I'm worried that I won't make a good impression during the application process for the Army Reserves if there is a written component necessary. How is the Trait Self Descriptive Questionnaire formatted? Is it multiple choice, fill-in the blanks or are short hand-written paragraphs necessary? Thank you.

It's basically a self-evaluation of what kind of person you are. You don't need to do any writing. It's all multiple choices.
« Last Edit: December 13, 2016, 00:44:59 by Eric16 »
Recruiting Centre: HMCS Discovery/New Westminister RC
Regular/ Reserve: Reserve
Officer/NCM: NCM
Trade Choice 1: Naval Combat Information Operator
Trade Choice 2: Boatswain
Trade Choice 3: Naval Communicator
Online Application: July 19th 2016
First Contact: July 21th 2016
FORCE test: July 28th, 2016 (Passed)
CFAT: September 22nd, 2016 (Passed)
Medical: October 21st, 2016 (Passed)
Interview: October 21st, 2016 (Passed)
Position offered: Boatswain
Swearing in: December 6th, 2016
BMQ: TBD