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Personality Test for Jobs: The Secret to Landing Your Dream Job?

Personality assessments are becoming an increasingly common part of job interviews, and understanding why is key to making the best impression possible.
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When Thomas Edison invented the written interview over 100 years ago, it was little more than a basic inventory of an applicant's skills. In the century since, the process has grown to cover every facet of a potential hire's identity, from their learned skills and natural talents to hobbies and volunteer experience.

In 2020, Canadian bank Scotiabank revolutionized its hiring process by replacing resumes with a personality test. This is a prime example of how evolving corporate landscapes have reshaped how businesses recruit and nurture talent.

Personality assessments are not just a practical tool for employers; they offer invaluable insights that job seekers can leverage to fine-tune their search and expedite their professional growth. Let’s explore common personality tests and how to use one to help you choose your ideal career path.

What is a personality test?

A personality test is a tool designed to measure an individual's unique combination of characteristics and behavioral patterns. These tests typically involve a series of questions or statements that individuals respond to, which are then analyzed to provide insights into their personality profile.

The purpose of a personality test is for a person (or employer) to gain a deeper understanding of their psychological makeup, what matters to them, and areas for growth.

These tools differ from aptitude or skills tests because they aim to measure innate traits rather than learned abilities or acquired knowledge. While no test can perfectly capture a person's psychological landscape, well-designed personality assessments can provide valuable insights that help individuals better understand themselves.

How Do Employers Use Personality Tests?

One of the main ways employers use personality tests is to screen job candidates. This helps employers identify candidates whose traits and behaviors align with the position requirements and the company’s culture.

Companies may use personality tests to help identify leadership potential among current employees and help guide their professional development accordingly.

Another way you may encounter personality tests in the workplace is in decision-making about teams and roles. By understanding the personality dynamics of employees, leaders can create more balanced and complementary groups.

10 Personality Tests Used by Employers

Let’s briefly explore some of the more common personality tests you may encounter at work or while searching.

1. CAPBOI Model

The CAPBOI Personality model was purposefully crafted to bridge the gap between personality assessment and career guidance. By identifying six key dimensions that are directly relevant to the modern workplace—Communal, Analytical, Pragmatic, Bold, Orthodox, and Imaginative—the CAPBOI model provides a framework for understanding how an individual's unique traits and preferences align with the demands of different careers.

CAPBOI is a powerful tool that uses various traits to help predict job performance, team compatibility and leadership potential. The assessment is conducted via an online career test, and the results can be used for career coaching and self-reference. Although CAPBOI provides valuable insights, it should be used in combination with other assessment methods to gain a holistic view of an individual’s abilities and potential.

2. Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)

The Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is a widely used personality assessment that categorizes individuals into one of 16 personality types based on four dimensions: Extraversion/Introversion, Sensing/Intuition, Thinking/Feeling, and Judging/Perceiving. The assessment consists of a series of questions that determine an individual's preferences in each dimension, resulting in a four-letter personality type (e.g., INTJ or ESFP).

The MBTI is often used in career counseling, team building, and leadership development to help individuals understand their strengths, communication styles, and potential areas for growth. While the MBTI is popular, its scientific validity and reliability have been questioned, and it should be used as a tool for self-awareness rather than a definitive measure of personality.

3. DISC Assessment

The DISC Assessment is based on William Marston’s model and categorizes behavior into four primary types: Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Conscientiousness. It is designed to understand a person's behavior in various environments, helping predict their work style and interactions with others.

DISC is particularly useful in leadership development, team building, and sales training. Employers use it to improve work dynamics and enhance communication strategies within teams. Its simplicity makes it a popular choice for quickly understanding team roles and improving workplace interpersonal relations.

4. Big Five Personality Traits

The Big Five Personality Traits, also known as the Five-Factor Model (FFM), is a comprehensive framework for describing personality based on five broad dimensions: Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism (OCEAN). The model was developed through extensive research and has been validated across cultures and age groups.

It is used to predict behavior in various settings, including the workplace, and to understand how personality influences life outcomes. Employers often use the Big Five to determine how well a candidate might fit into a company’s culture and tailor management strategies to individual employee profiles.

While the Big Five model is one of the most scientifically validated personality frameworks, the results must be interpreted in the context of an individual's unique experiences and environment.

5. Holland Codes (RIASEC)

The Holland Codes, also known as the RIASEC model, is a personality assessment that focuses on matching individuals to work environments based on their interests, preferences, and abilities. The model comprises six occupational themes: Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising, and Conventional.

Holland Codes are widely used in career counseling to help individuals find careers that fit well with their lives and values. This model lets users understand how their preferences align with potential career paths, facilitating a more satisfying and successful work life. Schools and career services often use Holland Codes to guide students’ educational and career planning.

While the Holland Codes provide a useful framework for career exploration, they should be used in conjunction with other factors, such as skills, values, and life circumstances, to make informed career decisions.

6. Caliper Profile

The Caliper Profile measures 25 personality traits related to job performance and success. The assessment involves a self-report questionnaire that evaluates an individual's strengths, limitations, and potential in various work-related competencies, such as leadership, problem-solving, and communication.

Organizations use the Caliper Profile for hiring, employee development, and leadership selection. It has been validated through extensive research and real-world applications. One advantage of the Caliper Profile is its ability to provide detailed insights into an individual's unique personality profile and how it relates to specific job requirements.

However, like all personality assessments, the Caliper Profile should be used as part of a broader evaluation process that considers other factors, such as skills, experience, and cultural fit.

7. 16 Personality Factor (16PF)

The 16 Personality Factor (16PF) is a comprehensive personality assessment that measures 16 primary personality traits and five global factors. Developed by psychologist Raymond Cattell, the 16PF is based on extensive research and factor analysis of human behavior.

The results provide a detailed profile of an individual's personality strengths and areas for development, which can be used in various settings, including clinical, educational, and organizational contexts. The 16PF is known for its scientific rigor and has been used in research and practice for over 50 years. However, like all personality assessments, it should be combined with other methods and interpreted by qualified professionals.

8. SHL Occupational Personality

The SHL Occupational Personality Questionnaire (OPQ32) is a widely used personality assessment in the workplace. It measures 32 personality dimensions relevant to job performance and success. Developed by Saville and Holdsworth Limited (SHL), the OPQ32 is based on the Big Five personality model and assesses traits such as persuasiveness, adaptability, and achievement orientation.

It is extensively used for recruitment, especially in larger organizations, to enhance the effectiveness of the selection process. It helps identify leadership potential and can be crucial in workforce planning and development strategies.

The OPQ32 has been extensively validated and is known for its high reliability and predictive validity. However, as with all personality assessments, it should be used in conjunction with other assessment methods and interpreted by trained professionals.

9. HEXACO Personality Inventory-Revised

The HEXACO Personality Inventory-Revised is a comprehensive personality assessment that measures six broad personality dimensions: Honesty-Humility, Emotionality, Extraversion, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, and Openness to Experience. Developed as an extension of the Big Five model, the HEXACO model includes the additional Honesty-Humility dimension, which assesses traits such as sincerity, fairness, and modesty.

This model has been used in various research and organizational settings to predict outcomes such as job performance, leadership effectiveness, and ethical behavior.

While the HEXACO model offers a comprehensive framework for understanding personality, it should be combined with other assessment methods and interpreted in the context of an individual's unique circumstances.

10. Eysenck Personality Inventory

The Eysenck Personality Inventory (EPI) is a personality assessment that measures two broad dimensions of personality: Extraversion and Neuroticism. Developed by psychologist Hans Eysenck, the EPI is based on the theory that these two dimensions are fundamental to understanding individual differences in behavior and psychological functioning.

The EPI is often used in clinical and research settings to predict outcomes such as mental health, job performance, and interpersonal relationships. As with all personality assessments, the EPI should be used with other methods and interpreted by qualified professionals.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are personality tests reliable and valid for making career decisions?

Personality tests can provide valuable insights into your preferences, strengths, and potential areas for growth, but they should not be used as the sole basis for making career decisions. In addition to personality test results, it's important to consider other factors, such as your skills, interests, values, and experiences. Consulting with a career coach or taking a holistic approach to career planning can help you make more informed decisions.

Can I rely on free online personality tests for career guidance?

Free online personality tests can be a fun and accessible way to explore your personality traits. Still, they may not have the same scientific validity and reliability level as professionally developed and administered assessments. If you're serious about using personality tests for career guidance, it's best to work with a qualified career counselor or use assessments that have been rigorously researched and validated.

What should I do if my personality test results don't match my current career?

If your personality test results suggest that your current career may not fit your personality traits best, don't panic. Many people find success and satisfaction in careers that don't perfectly align with their personality profiles. However, suppose you're consistently feeling unfulfilled or stressed in your work. In that case, it may be worth exploring alternative career paths or seeking ways to tailor your current role to better suit your strengths and preferences.

How can I use personality test results to communicate my strengths to potential employers?

Understanding your personality traits can help you articulate your strengths and unique value proposition to potential employers. For example, if your personality test results indicate that you're highly organized and detail-oriented, you can emphasize these qualities in your resume, cover letter, and job interviews. Provide specific examples of how your personality strengths have contributed to your success in previous roles or projects.

Do employers have the right to require personality tests for job applicants?

Employers can require personality tests as part of the application process if the tests comply with employment laws, including non-discrimination laws. It's crucial for these tests to be professionally relevant and used to assess job-related traits only.

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