The personality test and the personality questionnaire are used to determine a candidate's typical reactions and attitudes to various situations. These tests might try to identify how well you get on with others, your normal reaction to stressful situations, or your feelings about the kind of people you like to work with.
Employers look at many factors during the recruitment process, from your knowledge and experience through to your aptitude in areas such as decision making and teamwork. Increasingly, they will use personality tests as a way to determine if you have the right attitude and personality to fit in with the company’s culture and vision.
Myers Briggs is one of the most commonly used personality tests. After progressing through a series of questions, you will be assigned to one of sixteen personality types based on your responses. Employers then review this personality type to see if you would fit in with their organisational values.
Employers may scrutinise your personality for these reasons:
Firstly, they may want to determine whether you have the motivation and enthusiasm that they require. Secondly, they may want to assess how effectively you will fit in with their team, as well as your attitude and approach to work in general. Many businesses believe the personalities of individual employees directly impact the success of the business. If a manager cannot sufficiently motivate their staff or the team does not work cohesively, team productivity and overall service quality could suffer.
In the past two decades there have been significant changes in the way businesses operate. Increasingly, business culture has focused on the customer, and employees have much more freedom and input than they once did. As such, businesses need employees who are willing to change their way of working, or communicate with many different colleagues and customers on a daily basis. These factors are impacted by your personality, which is why employers are looking more and more at personality tests to determine a candidate’s suitability.
A personality test allows an employer to evaluate how well you can handle an array of work-based activities such as working in a team, solving problems, leading others, managing stakeholders and coping with stress. Someone in a customer service or sales role, for example, may benefit from a very different personality type than someone recruited into a data analysis or technical role.
Employers are genuinely interested in your personality, and how you will fit the existing team.
Although a personality test is structured very differently to other psychometric tests, you can still practice for them.
The best preparation that you can do is to research the job that you are applying for and carefully review the job description, requirements and person specification. These will give you clues as to the type of personality that the recruiter is looking for.
Once you have understood the job properly, you then need to demonstrate to the recruiter that you possess the relevant traits required. Personality tests used to assess candidates can vary; eg some measure your behavioural style or personality. Consequently it is important to understand what your personality test measures and what traits are important to your potential employer.
There are various websites that you can visit to familiarise yourself with the type of questions you may be asked during the personality test. Practice tests give you more time to really think about your answers. They are typically developed in collaboration with employers and psychologists.
Online personality tests can help you evaluate specific traits such as leadership, teamwork, ability to work under pressure and so on. The practice tests are designed to help you learn about your personality traits and how they are both advantageous and disadvantageous. If you are applying for a digital role, your personality profile would ideally include traits such as creative thinking, collaboration and the acceptance of new ideas.
If you’re looking to practise personality tests prior to a job application, you can try these test packages compiled by JobTestPrep. There are 250 questions and over 10,000 people have used them to date.
An ipsative personality questionnaire, sometimes known as a forced choice scale questionnaire, is the most commonly used personality questionnaire.
A ‘traditional’ personality questionnaire might request that the candidate rates their agreement with a particular statement on a scale of 1 to 5, whereas an ipsative test will provide the candidate with a choice of between 2 and 4 statements, for which they must provide their preference or state which one they agree with the most. This demands more thought on behalf of the person completing the test because there is not an obvious choice to pick from.
Ipsative questionnaires are considered a reliable indicator f personality traits and are better at avoiding social desirability bias than other test types. They can also benefit candidates, since employers have to actually go through and read each answer.
One of the major drawbacks of this type of questionnaire is that it does not provide a comparative sample of ‘normal’ personality traits. As such it may take employers a considerable amount of time to progress through each answer for every candidate.
If a test does not provide ipsative questions, it will take a normative approach. These types of questions are typically used during psychometric testing, because they can explore the personality traits of candidates, which can then be compared with others who have taken the same test.
This allows personality to become measurable, which is easier to evaluate when reviewing large numbers of potential candidates. Normative-based questions will include a ‘likert type scale’, whereby the candidate will rank how strongly they agree with a given statement, usually on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being in strong agreement and 5 strong disagreement.
With this test, it is impossible for individuals to deviate from what is being asked. As such it is an effective way of both collecting and comparing answers. Employers can also create a list of ‘normal’ or ‘ideal’ characteristics that they would like a potential candidate to display.
This type of questioning often creates problems. Perhaps the main problem is that the process of questioning can soon become monotonous, and candidates may just randomly select any answer to get through the test.
The second issue arises when the candidate tries to give the answers that they think the employer wants to see, rather than what they actually feel. There’s a risk that if an employer relies on a normative test alone, they may recruit a candidate that they thought would be ideal, when in reality the candidate is very different.
Usually it’s best for employers to combine both types of questionnaire, to enable employers to take a closer look at candidate responses. With a combination of both approaches, an employer can better identify consistency and questions are answered more honestly, resulting in a more accurate picture of the candidate.
Making the wrong decision when it comes to recruiting can be costly for a business. Some employers have turned to personality tests to better understand the people that they are recruiting - yet others are questioning whether they can really be a true measure of a candidate’s suitability.
There are multiple problems associated with personality tests as a recruitment tool, including:
If you’re looking to practise personality tests prior to a job application, you can try these test packages compiled by JobTestPrep. There are 250 questions and over 10,000 people have used them to date.
One of the most popular personality tests is provided by Myers Briggs. Once candidates have completed the test, they will be assigned to one of 16 personality types, which we’ll explore in detail now.
INFPs are imaginative and guided by their own beliefs and values. Identifying possibilities is something of great importance to them, and people with this trait will always see the potential for an improved future.
INFPs are caring, compassionate and sensitive, as well as being interested in personal development and growth. They enjoy spending time exploring their own values and ideas, and they subtly encourage others to do so. Creative and artistic, INFPs are always looking for new ways to express themselves.
Within a working environment, INFPs are not driven by status or money, opting for work that aligns with their personal values and enables them to help others. Motivated by inspiration and vision, they engage in projects and causes which are important to them.
They enjoy creative problem-solving and they take time to understand complex issues. The ideal job for an INFP would be one where they can express their individuality and one that allows them to make the most of their ability to identify unique solutions.
An INTJ will demonstrate good problem-solving skills and the commitment to continually improve processes and systems using new ideas. With a natural aptitude for seeing possibilities to improve situations, they enjoy logical reasoning and complex problem solving.
INTJs are intellectual and they approach life by analysing people and situations. Drawn to logical systems, they are much less comfortable with situations that are unpredictable.
Those with an INTJ personality will excel in the implementation of creative solutions. They have a natural aptitude for seeing the potential for improvement within a complex system or situation, and they are focused and determined to implement their ideas for change.
INTJs will prefer working within a small team or independently taking strategic steps to bring about change. They enjoy understanding complex theories and concepts and want to understand how they can improve ways of working, systems and processes.
Individuals with this personality will be sensitive to the needs of others and are always willing to help. They are extremely dedicated to fulfilling their responsibilities and are receptive to both the feelings of others and perceptions that others have of them. They will make a great deal of effort to address the concerns of others and to bring order to their lives.
An ESFJ in the workplace will use their interpersonal skills to coordinate both processes and people. They take great satisfaction from completing tasks with precision and in an orderly manner.
ESFJs like to work with others and they thrive in action-focused teams. Their ideal work environment would be one where expectations are clear, and there is a friendly and structured atmosphere in which to work.
Eager to take charge in any project or activity that involves the organisation of people, ESTJs are hardworking, orderly and conscientious. They adopt a methodical approach to projects and they want to structure their surroundings. When they see lack of order, they are the first to take the initiative to develop new systems and processes so everyone has clear ideas of what is expected.
An ESTJ is great at organizing operations, people and projects, but they do like to be in control. People with this personality often pursue managerial roles, where they can oversee decisions and make policies.
ESTJs often develop a strong reputation in the workplace for delivering what they promise; they are extremely reliable and thrive in taking projects through to completion. As they are often eager to take on more responsibilities, they are sometimes overworked.
An ESFP is an entertainer who can engage people. Often spontaneous and fun-loving, they are approachable, warm and talkative, with an enthusiasm for life. They often like to be the centre of attention and they have a playful sense of humour.
An ESFP in the workplace has a need to be the centre of attention and they much prefer an active, social environment. Realistic, pragmatic and with an artistic streak, this type of person would thrive in a role that allows them to serve other people and where they can see real results.
Strict rules or bureaucracy are difficult for ESFPs, since they like the freedom to address situations as and when they arise.
Traditional, organised and practical, an ISFJ is highly motivated to provide for others. They are grounded, conventional and enjoy contributing to established structures.
As an employee, an ISFJ is committed and displays a sense of responsibility to others. With a key focus on taking care of other people’s needs, they want others to know that they are reliable and trustworthy.
In the workplace, an ISFJ is motivated through their requirement to help others. They are driven by personal values and they enjoy work which requires established procedures and attention to detail.
An ISFJ would much prefer to work in the background and receive recognition in a subtle way, without having to present their work to others. They do not like the spotlight.
An ISFP personality is both unassuming and quiet, and may be difficult to get to know. Those who know ISFPs realise that they are friendly, warm and eager to share life’s many experiences.
With a natural talent for the arts, ISFPs have a strong aesthetic sense and they excel in the use of creative tools, demonstrating natural creative flair.
An ISFP will want to engage with their work and embark on a career which allows them to express themselves. They enjoy hands-on activities where they can see the results of their efforts.
ISFPs prefer a cooperative, courteous work environment where they can progress in calm surroundings seeking the required support when they need it. An ISFP would prefer to keep a low profile, so would probably avoid roles that require them to speak to large groups or in public presentations. They do prefer to work autonomously but require their colleagues to be flexible, loyal and supportive.
An ESTP is vibrant, lively and at their best in the thick of the action. They bring a sense of energy and enthusiasm to all of their projects, and they can quickly assess situations to address immediate issues with a practical solution. ESTPs appear social and are rarely sensitive, preferring to keep things moving - as such they tend to excel within a fast-paced environment.
Within a work environment, an ESTP is effective when it comes to solving logical problems. They have a good grasp of reality and they understand what resources they have available that can solve a problem or concern.
An ESTP likes to know how things work, so is best suited to mechanical roles or a job which is unpredictable and presents adventure and challenge on a daily basis.
An ISTJ likes to be organised and takes pride in creating a sense of order in both institutions and systems. They are neat and precise, and develop a procedure for everything. Dutiful and extremely reliable, they want to follow regulation and uphold tradition.
ISTJs tend to be steady and productive: they know where they belong and understand how they can contribute to systems and organisations. They pride themselves in making sure that standards are met.
ISTJs thrive in a career that requires them to be meticulous and dependable. They are most suited to systematic processes and they value stability within the work environment. Although they do like to work predominantly alone, they often appreciate the value of teamwork.
The ideal job for an ISTJ personality is one that allows them to use their logical thinking skills to solve problems in an orderly fashion.
An ISTP demonstrates a strong interest in troubleshooting and mechanical systems. They approach their work with the idea of finding practical solutions to problems. Attentive to detail, they are effective at responding quickly and enjoy taking action. An ISTP likes to apply logic and seeks out practical solutions.
An ISTP is best suited to a technical role where they can make the most of their technical expertise. They enjoy using tools of their trade, whether this is in a practical setting or the digital world.
ISTP personalities prefer an occupation that provides a measurable result, as they take great satisfaction from seeing what they have built. The majority of occupations suited to an ISTP character would involve something physical and perhaps an element of danger. ISTPs hate being behind a desk. They prefer roles which are practical, without being tied down with rules or complex procedures.
Creative with a strong sense of integrity, an INFJ possesses the drive to help others reach their full potential. They are dedicated to their work, with a natural aptitude for helping others to overcome personal challenges. The INFJ has a natural skill for interpreting the motivations and emotions of others, and they are able to read people very well.
INFJ personalities are very interested in helping others and they are dedicated, principled and helpful when it comes to their work. They thrive in environments where they can turn their ideas into one that creates positive change for others.
Very organised, INFJs prefer to complete projects in an orderly fashion. Their ideal career is one that allows them to use their creativity in an organised and independent environment.
An ENTJ is driven and motivated to bring about change. They are quick to identify inefficiencies and are constantly developing new solutions to achieve their vision. They are usually quick-witted and articulate, as well as being objective and analytical.
When there are problems with a system, the ENTJ will enjoy the process of unpicking them to identify a solution. They thrive in leadership roles, enjoying the responsibility of organizing people and processes.
An ENTJ personality would be drawn to leadership positions that allow them to develop strategies to bring about greater order and improved productivity. They prefer supervisory or managerial roles, and they want the ability to coordinate organisational change.
An ENTJ would enjoy the challenges associated with solving complex problems, so they can identify what improvements are necessary. They value structure and guidelines, and they appreciate businesses which are fair.
Naturally innovative, ENTPs are motivated by the need to find new solutions. They enjoy an intellectual challenge and are both clever and curious, with a strong interest in understanding systems, principles and people. ENTPs like to challenge others, yet are very rarely judgemental themselves.
ENTPs seek careers where they can use their skills in innovation to address a challenging problem, or to improve the efficiency of a system or process. They are often entrepreneurial and prefer to approach projects in an unstructured and casual manner.
An ENTP will value competency, and they often want to be an expert - so they enjoy a career that requires them to continuously develop their skills and knowledge. The ideal environment for an ENTP is one that allows them to use their creativity to devise and implement creative ideas.
ENFJs are effective organizers driven to implement what they think is best for everyone. They often facilitate growth because they see the potential in everyone, and they are both forward-thinking and optimistic.
Very focused on vision and values, ENFJs often have a lot going on and are always on the lookout for improvement opportunities.
An ENFJ is enthusiastic, particularly when it comes to motivating and advising others. They are often found in a mentoring or coaching role, with the ultimate goal of helping others become better at what they do.
ENFJs are often found in a leadership position because of their natural aptitude for organizing people. They possess vision and creativity to develop innovative solutions. ENFJs value teamwork and they want to have the resources to make their ideas a reality.
A suitable work environment would be one that is focused on people with a clear humanitarian element, or an emphasis on constructive action.
Fascinated by design, logical analysis and systems, an INTP is preoccupied with theoretical elements and wants to understand the complexities of everything. An analytical observer, they can at times seem oblivious to the world around them because they are so focused on their thoughts. They spend a great deal of time making connections, understanding concepts and finding out how and why things work.
The perfect career for an INTP is one that involves the analysis of complex ideas and systems to develop a deep understanding of how they work. INTPs would rather develop their own path and lack interest in tradition; they follow theoretical ideas rather than practical systems.
ENFP personalities are very people-focused and have a genuine enthusiasm for new activities and ideas. They are warm and approachable, and they like to help others develop their creativity. Adaptable communicators, ENFPs are both original and imaginative, and often have strong artistic skills.
In the workplace, an ENFP uses their creativity for themselves and others. They enjoy solving creative problems and they often deliver unique and imaginative solutions.
An ENFP doesn’t particularly care for routine or mundane work because they like variety and challenge. The best environment for an ENFP character is one in which they can be creative, inspirational and work in a way that benefits others.
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