We’ve all created resumes and cover letters to land an interview but sometimes a company will ask employees to take a questionnaire as well. According to Psychology Today, “Around 80% of the fortune 500 companies use personality tests.” Not surprisingly, the number of companies who use personality test during the hiring process is up 30% to 40% from about 5 years ago, estimates Josh Bersin, principal of consulting firm Bersin by Deloitte. For most of us, we’ve taken personality tests as early as high school to help us determine what career path we should take and I’m sure we haven’t seen the last of them. So what do these tests reveal? What do employers look for or use these tests for? Is it fair to the employee to be evaluated on personality and values? What if my personality isn’t the cookie cutter checklist that most companies are looking for? No need to worry, all of these questions and more will be addressed in this article.
I’ll proceed by mentioning a few popular personality tests used in the workforce today. The most popular would be the Myers Briggs Type Indicator. This was invented by two women during WW2 who wanted to help place women in the workforce by aligning their personalities with suiting jobs. This test compares introversion vs extroversion, sensing vs intuition, thinking vs feeling, and judgment vs perception. This provides a glimpse into someone’s personality by giving assumptions about the previous categories they fit into. It is good to know that all of the results are spun in a positive way and will never directly say anything negative about your personality. It is also of note that MBTI is used by a wide array of industries except psychology, which should be taken into consideration when evaluating the weight this test holds. This test is the most popular because it is a great starting point, quick, and free to take online.
Another popular personality test would be the DISC assessment which can also be found online. While the MBTI determines personality type, the DISC measures behavior in various situations. Due to the nature of the test, it is used primarily for building a team, coaching, or for fostering communication. DISC is an acronym which stands for Dominance – preferences for problem solving and getting results; Interactive – preferences for interacting with others and showing emotion; Stability – preferences for pacing, persistence; and Cautious – preferences for procedures, standards, and protocols. By taking the test you will discover your natural style of behavior versus your adaptive style of behavior, ideal job climates, motivations, how you like to communicate, where you can improve, and your preferred learning/training style. This test has been popular in sales positions because it has been shown to predict sales performance and turnover rates. As I conclude, remember that personality tests should not be used to compare employees, but rather evaluate how good of a fit someone would be for the position.
A less popular but definitely relevant personality test would be the Activity Vector Analysis, or AVA. This was developed in 1948 as a comprehensive, dynamic, and highly accurate assessment of behavior. The test is also one of the simplest I have come across with just 3 parts. Part 1; choose the words that people would use to best describe you from the list provided. Part 2; choose the words that you would use to best describe you from the list provided (exact same list). Part 3; write an essay about yourself (with no maximum or minimum length requirement). The results are an extensive behavioral profile that identifies natural tendencies and predicts workplace behavior. The test has the highest cost at about $250, but is deemed the most accurate by many people. I have personally taken the AVA, as well as the DISC and MBTI test, and can say that they all provide overlapping results which prove as evidence for their findings.