Personality Assessments for Jobs

Updated September 30, 2022

When you are preparing for a job interview, you should be cognizant of the fact that employers are increasingly incorporating personality assessments as part of the hiring process. Although you cannot predict what personality test a company may use, nor practice the “right” answers beforehand, there are ways in which you can prepare for an employment personality assessment.

In this article, we list a few of the most popular personality tests and also provide a few tips on how to prepare for a personality assessment.

What is a personality assessment for jobs?

A personality assessment is a tool that potential employers use to learn about a candidate’s basic personality traits, values and worldview. As employers realize that the personalities, soft skills and emotional intelligence of employees can be as important as technical knowledge and experience, they are increasingly incorporating personality assessments in the interview process.

By gaining insight into the personality and behavior of a potential employee, an employer or manager can gauge whether a candidate will be a good fit for the position and the company’s culture.

Although the interview process may be adequate for determining things like a candidate’s background, knowledge, technical skills and work experience, it is not always an effective way to gauge a person’s personality and outlook on life. A nervous candidate, for instance, may come across as shy and insecure during an interview, whereas they may actually have an extroverted and carefree nature.

Candidates may also choose to only reveal certain aspects of their personalities during an interview. Personality assessments are effective in such instances, as they provide insight that the normal question-and-answer interview process cannot.

Related: 15 Best Jobs for Introverts

What types of personality assessment tests are there?

There is a wide variety of personality assessments available that all provide different approaches and focuses. However, employers seem to favor the following personality tests for pre-employment personality assessments:

The Caliper Profile

The Caliper Profile is an assessment tool that consists of different kinds of questions, including true or false questions, multi-choice questions that range from “strongly agree” to “strongly disagree” and a series of statements where candidates select the most appropriate answer. The test has proven to help determine how an individual’s personality traits may affect job performance.

The Hogan Personality Inventory (HPI)

This personality test consists of 206 true or false questions that candidates need to complete within 20 minutes. Designed in the 1980s to analyze social behavior, the HPI has proven to be a valuable tool when gauging whether a candidate’s personality is a good match for a specific job.

The DiSC Behavior Inventory

This personality test is based on four personality types: Dominant, Influential, Steady and Compliant. Companies use this test to determine the behavioral tendencies of a candidate and what role they may assume within a team. The test can be simple to take, as it only consists of a maximum of 30 phrases or adjectives that candidates decide either applies or does not apply to them.

The SHL Occupational Personality Questionnaire

This test is specifically geared for the workplace, as it shows employers how certain behavioral traits directly influence job performance. Candidates answer 104 questions that evaluate them in three domains, namely Relationships with People, Thinking Style and Feelings and Emotions. Each question provides the candidate with four statements, and they have to select both the most and the least appropriate answers.

Related: Guide: 16 Personality Types

How to prepare for a personality assessment

Even though you may not study “right” or “wrong” answers, there are certain steps you can take to prepare yourself, as well as certain tips you can apply while taking the test. 

The first and most important tip to remember is to take a personality test seriously. Although you may have the right qualifications and adequate experience for the job, an employer will consider the results of your personality test—especially where they need to decide between two candidates with similar skills, education and experience. Here are a few more tips you can consider when preparing for a personality test:

1. Answer the questions honestly

In some tests, you may seem to answer the same type of question differently during different times in the test, depending on the context and preceding questions. However, these tests have been designed according to specific methods, which, although they may seem illogical or arbitrary on the surface level, are effective. 

When taking a personality test, the best line of action is to simply answer the questions as honestly as you can. This will ensure that you complete the test as stress-free as possible and give the most accurate view of yourself as a candidate. 

2. Consider the position you are applying for

You should also realize that you have multiple personality traits and that you adapt these according to different situations and milieus. The way you behave when you are relaxing with your friends is probably not the way you act when you are attending a conference. You should approach the test from a professional perspective, and should at all times remain aware of the position you are applying for, and the company’s culture, when answering the questions.

For instance, if you are an introvert who enjoys performing analytical tasks in isolation, applying for a sales or managerial position may not be the most appropriate option. However, if you are applying for a job that suits your personality, strive to answer the questionnaire honestly, yet from a professional perspective.

3. Practice with simulation tests

Although you will probably not know what type of personality test an employer will present, you can take various simulated personality assessments online. As most companies opt for one of the popular personality assessments, it may be beneficial to take some time to research these and find simulated tests for each on the internet. 

Even if these simulations are not entirely the same as the actual tests, they will still provide you with an idea of what to expect. Also, doing simulation tests online will help you gain experience in tackling these kinds of tests and will also boost your self-confidence, as you will have a rough idea of what to expect.

4. Keep your stress levels down

Although personality assessments are valuable tools in gauging a person’s personality traits, they are not fail-proof. Studies have shown that when candidates are very stressed during personality tests, it affects their responses, with some candidates becoming careless, for instance, while others may become indecisive or anxious. 

As is the case when taking any test, approach a personality test as calmly as possible. Apart from preparing and practicing for the test, also remind yourself that there are no right or wrong answers and that employers are not trying to judge you. They are simply trying to find the most suitable candidate for the position.

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