Last Updated: 06 March 2020
The Thomas International Personality Profile Analysis (commonly known as the PPA test) is a standardised test that allows hiring managers to uncover more about a candidate’s personality to determine if they are the right person for the job.
The algorithm of the PPA assessment will allow an employer to understand more about how you work, how you react under pressure and your motivations.
In the UK, the PPA test is becoming more mainstream, with large employers and education institutions such as Virgin Trains, Leeds Beckett University and Thames Valley Police choosing to use it.
The Thomas International PPA assessment has been around for over 35 years. The test uses psychological analytics to examine a candidate’s personality profile.
The resulting data report can be used by employers to make decisions throughout a candidate’s career; from the very start of the recruitment process through to promotions and career trajectory decisions.
The comprehensive nature of the PPA assessment means that it is used beyond just recruitment. Schools are increasingly using the test during their application periods, while sporting teams are also using the analytics to see if they can spot potential.
The PPA assessment is popular because of its simplicity and ease of use. Candidates will be asked to sit an eight-minute test, comprising of 24 questions across four core areas of your personality:
The PPA test (which is available in 56 different languages) asks candidates to select two adjectives from a choice of four – one that most describes their attitude or approach at work and one that describes those things least.
The result is that the candidate has selected 48 words out of a maximum of 96, giving analysts enough data to create an informed report about the candidate’s core personality.
Your answers will show an employer how you might act within its workplace; it demonstrates how you want to be seen by your employer.
According to Thomas themselves:
‘The PPA determines whether individuals see themselves as responding to workplace situations that they perceive to be favourable or challenging, and reveals whether their response patterns are active or passive; thus classifying the individual’s behavioural preferences in terms of four domains: Dominance, Influence, Steadiness and Compliance.’
The test is independently verified by the British Psychological Society and the European Federation of Psychologists Association to determine its reliability and validity.
If you’ve been asked to take a PPA assessment as part of a recruitment process or, perhaps, as part of continual evaluation of your skills, then you may be wondering what to expect.
As previously mentioned, you will be asked to choose two adjectives, one which describes your approach at work most and one least. Each answer is attributed with a points value.
Although there are no right or wrong answers when it comes to personality testing, it should be noted that some questions will have clear preferences.
For example, if you’re applying for a customer-facing position or one which involves working alongside a team, you would want to choose adjectives which indicate a favourable attitude to working with others.
If you're looking for a study pack that will teach you how to prepare for the PPA test, we recommend this guide from JobTestPrep.
If you have been asked to complete a Thomas personality test, then you should make sure you’re aware of the four key personality factors.
Below are some examples of how we can describe each of the four core elements within the PPA personality test.
Each test will be scored in accordance with the job description of the role that is being recruited for. This means that an employer can feel confident that it will find the ideal candidate for its needs.
The scoring is based on your behaviour, your personality and your aptitude – the result is a star rating which can be used by employers to make decisions on recruitment, leadership, sales and training, and help them to understand an individual’s strengths and limitations.
The PPA assessment provides the employer with a wide range of profile reports and these can be used and referred back to throughout that candidate’s career. Thomas describes its personal profile analysis tool as being the ideal resource to help employers ‘recruit, develop, promote, motivate, manage and retain’ employees.
The use of big data and data analytics is more important than ever before, and HR teams and hiring managers are continually using this data to allow them to make predictions for the future.
Therefore, detailed insights provided through resources such as the Thomas PPA assessment are vital for making informed decisions.
In most scenarios, you will likely be informed by an HR team if you are required to participate in a PPA assessment during a formal interview. Before taking a personality test, make sure you do some preliminary research so that you feel confident in what to expect:
Ready to practice for your PPA test? Then try out this guide from JobTestPrep.
The Thomas International PPA test is an insightful personality test that is used as part of the recruitment process and throughout a candidate's career.
The test uses verified analytics to help businesses choose a specific person with the knowledge that they are likely to succeed. Considering the cost implications for businesses when it comes to recruitment and employee retention, it’s important to use as much data as possible to feel confident in the decision making processes.
For candidates themselves, participating in a personality test may tell them a lot more about themselves than they realised. They may find that, through their choice of adjectives, they start to understand their motivators and develop alternative ambitions.
The PPA personality test could be an opportunity to learn something new about yourself and discover your strengths and weaknesses in a new way.
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