Turning Lemons into Lemonade- IO Psychologists Respond to the Ridiculous Assertions Made in the HBOMAX “Documentary” Persona

Featuring: Ben Dattner, David Scarborough and Nathan Mondragon

“Persona” (a documentary recently launched by HBO Max) is a misinformed, slightly schizophrenic film with an identity crisis.  The film provides a multifaceted view on personality testing that never fully ties its various threads together coherently enough to make a credible and cogent argument about the subject matter.


What the film does manage to do rather well is to paint IO psychologists and employment testing in an extremely negative light that completely misses the essence and prime directive of our profession.


This episode of Science 4-Hire uses the film’s negativity as a vehicle to accentuate the positive truth about what IOs do for both individuals and organizations.  


We begin this mission by providing the IOs featured in the film: Ben Dattner (Dattner consulting), David Scarborough (Western New Mexico University- formerly of Unicru), and Nathan Mondragon (HireVue) with an opportunity to share the parts of their talk tracks that were left on the cutting room floor.  The bulk of my guests’ wisdom about the subject matter was trashed by the producers in order to support the film’s direct and deliberate assertion that personality testing is a dangerous tool that was created by corporations to enslave individuals in an effort to maximize profits.


From there we shed some light on many of the other negative delusions that the film puts forth, including:


  • The idea that the Meyers-Briggs is a legitimate tool for employment testing 
  • The position that the employment tests created by IO psychologists are instruments of eugenics sponsored by heartless corporations 
  • The opinion that personality tests unfairly discriminate against persons with disabilities 
  • The notion that pre-hire testing is the main source of bias in the hiring process 


At the end of the day- all four of us relish the opportunity to proudly and confidently share our strong conviction that our field makes the world a better place by helping people find meaning in their lives through their work, while at the same time helping organizations of all shapes and sizes reap the benefits of an engaged and happy workforce.