WHAT IS A PERSONALITY TEST?
There are a variety of tests that an employer uses to determine if you are the right person for the position available.
A personality test identifies a person’s values, interests, skills and typical behavior that remains stable across different situations. Personality tests are sometimes used to identify who is most suitable for certain careers or jobs. In other words, by categorizing various personality traits, employers are better able to predict which job candidates will fit best for any particular employment position.
WHY EMPLOYERS USE PERSONALITY TESTS
With an extremely competitive job market these days, employers are enjoying a "buyer’s market." There are dozens of job candidates for every opening. To help them select the best job candidate, they use pre-employment personality tests:
- As a tool to help distinguish good job candidates from the rest.
- To get a deeper look into your personality beyond what standard job interview questions can provide.
- To guide appropriate interview questions.
For example, if a personality test indicates that you are detail oriented and analytical as well, the employer will need to make sure that you don’t get bogged down in details. Does the job require you to guide or teach others? If so, more detail may be a benefit. This may be a question asked of your references. Questions that the employer may ask you could be:
- How would you summarize your responsibilities from your last position?
- Briefly tell me about your greatest accomplishment?
The employer will listen to the degree of detail in your response to determine the appropriate level of detail that is consistent with the corporate culture.
A personality test may indicate that you prefer to work alone. However, this does not mean that you are not a good team player. An employer will probably ask a question to determine if you are able to support the goals of a “team” or insist on doing things your own way.
JOB PROFILES & PERSONALITY TRAITS
Each job has a “profile” which is basically a list of personality characteristics and traits that seem to work best for that position along with the needed and desired skills for that position. Some employers also identify common personality characteristics from the best people in the job as well as the worst people in a job. This is used to establish a “profile” of the “ideal” candidate for that specific job. This profile is known as a baseline.
Sales positions, for example, are looking for extroverted, high energy, honest personality types.
Although applicants don’t usually match the profile 100%, an employer finds better results when making hiring and promotion choices with this information in mind.
Even if your test results indicate that you are a great employee, you may be categorized as the wrong type of employee for the position you are applying for.
OTHER TYPES OF SELF ASSESSMENTS TESTS
Along with personality tests, some employers use other pre-employment tests to help them with their hiring decisions, such as:
- IQ Tests
- Aptitude Tests (such as Mechanical Aptitude, Electrical Aptitude, etc)
- Learning Style
- Motivational Surveys
BEFORE YOU BEGIN TO TAKE A PERSONALITY TEST
When taking a pre-employment personality test remember that employers are interested in how you will behave or perform at work. You can use a personality test to identify your “preferred” work environment rather than your current work situation.
- Take your time. Don’t rush. If taking a test at home or on-line, choose a time and place where you won’t be disturbed or interrupted.
- There are no right or wrong answers (Except IQ Tests). The best answer to a question is the one that you most identify with.
- Follow your first reaction. In questions where you are inclined to answer “it depends,” think about your behavioral tendencies will you do this on a daily basis?
- Answer honestly. As much as possible, avoid the temptation to choose answers simply because they sound like what the employer will want.
- Answer questions from a work perspective. Don’t be confused about who you are when you answer questions. Relationship questions refer to your personality in terms of co-workers, not as a parent, spouse or friend. Preference questions refer to your preferences in terms of work, not as a homeowner, pet owner, or based on hobbies and interests outside of work.
- Take the test when you feel good. If you do not feel well, are tired, or under stress, these conditions may affect your answers. Recent events may affect your answers adversely. Make sure that you are rested, calm and open-minded when you take a personality test.
EXAMPLES OF PERSONALITY QUESTIONS
Some questions may be difficult to choose one answer. Multiple answers may be right or possibly none suit you. When this happens, guess. Patterns will develop, even if you feel like you are guessing.
LINKS TO PERSONALITY TESTS
When taking a personality test, there are no right or wrong answers. There are no high or low scores. A personality test is used to determine your type of personality, values, and interests.
Here are some links to free personality tests. Try them. Have fun. You just may learn something new about yourself or confirm what you have always known.