human head representing personality testsPersonality Tests

History | CareerFitter | Myers Briggs | Enneagram | Big 5 | 16 Personalities | Winslow | Process Communication | Holtzman Inkblot | Disc | Advantages | Disadvantages

Personality tests delve deeper into the specific traits and attributes of a person's personality. They can give insights into how a person will interact and behave in certain situations as well as profile their general likes, dislikes, and responses.
Traits vs. States
It is important to clarify the difference between "traits" and "states"Personality tests focus on personality "traits," which are considered relatively stable characteristics, while "states" are temporary emotional or mental conditions.  For example, extroversion would be a trait while feeling social would be a state.
Tests vs. Assessments
The words "tests" and "assessments" are often used interchangeably, but a test typically has questions that seek a correct answer, while an assessment is more often associated with questions that are correct only to the individual answering with no universal right or wrong answer.
While these personality tests aren't typically designed to test whether an individual is a good match for a particular job or career, there are hybrid career assessment tests.
Personality tests are often made up of numerous multiple-choice questions. A typical style of question might ask you to imagine yourself in a specific circumstance and then choose your response from a predetermined list that best describes how you react. 
Some personality tests integrate images of a person or a setting and ask you to choose which one is most appealing.

History of Personality Tests

Personality tests have a long and varied history, dating back to ancient Greece, where philosophers such as Hippocrates and Aristotle made observations about the differences in human character and behavior.

One of the earliest attempts to uncover a person's character was by examining the bumps on their head. This process was called phrenology, and personality tests have come a long way since their inception. This practice is widely discredited and not considered a valid personality assessment method.

For centuries, people have been trying to assess others' personalities through different types of tests

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, psychology emerged as a scientific discipline, and several theories about human personality were developed. The first systematic personality tests were created during this time, including the Woodworth Personal Data Sheet (1919) and the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (1940).

The latter part of the 20th century saw a proliferation of personality tests, with many new instruments being developed for both clinical and non-clinical purposes. These tests ranged from simple, self-administered questionnaires to complex, projective tests requiring trained administrators.

Personality testing was first taken seriously by the United States Army during World War I. Soldiers were tested in an attempt to determine who would be most likely to suffer the effects of shell shock based on their individual disposition. There were ethical concerns surrounding this, and since then, personality testing has grown into being used by educational facilities and human resource departments worldwide.

Today, personality tests are widely used in a variety of settings, including clinical psychology, personnel selection and development, and market research. While there is still debate among psychologists about the validity and reliability of some personality tests, they continue to be popular and influential tools for understanding human personality and behavior.

Types of Personality Tests

There are numerous different personality tests that are used today. While they all use slightly different methods to classify respondents, they are all similar in test and question format.

Some of the most popular tests include:

The Enneagram Personality Test

enneagram nine typesThe Enneagram test is a personality assessment. It is referred to as an assessment because there are no wrong answers.  It divides all human personalities into nine types.  Each type has similar characteristics to neighboring types, referred to as wings.  
The Enneagram was designed to provide insights into personal growth, self-reflection, and how we relate to others. The best, reliable enneagram tests are validated by experts and generate comprehensive results that are presented with clarity.  We cover comprehensive details about the Enneagram test, the history, the purpose, terminology, enneagram wingsnine personality types of the Enneagram, how to find the best Enneagram test, and frequently asked questions.

The Five-Factor Model

Also known as "The Big 5," academics consider this personality test one of the most accurate personality tests. This test aims to group respondents into one of five major categories that are recognized as key personality characteristics from cultures across the world. The five categories are openness to experience, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism.
Ernest Types and Raymond Christal first began looking into this particular test in the 1960s; however, it wasn't until the 1990s that Lewis Goldberg redesigned the test model, creating "The Big 5."
The Five-Factor Model has been widely used across different workplaces during their hiring process. Studies have shown that many people who work in the same industry or the same work role often share many of the same prominent personality characteristics.

The CareerFitter

This career assessment test is primarily a hybrid personality test and career test that evaluates your personality, specifically in a work environment.  CareerFitter uses the expression "work personality." They differentiate a person's personality when they are working and not working.
The 60-question career assessment test asks the test taker questions about how they would respond to situations specific to a work setting. During the assessment, the test taker can see in real-time how their answers affect the results.  eight personality dials of the career testThe test has built-in superfluidity, so the examinee does not have to be concerned with an answer they were not 100% confident about.  Also, the answers are non-bias, meaning there are no wrong answers, and therefore, this career test should be considered more of an assessment or evaluation.
The science behind CareerFitter was developed using psychological research and data that determines your work personality profile and, uncovers strengths and weaknesses, management styles, work environment preferences, and suggests careers and jobs that would best fit the examinee.
It is most often used by people looking to change careers that need career direction, college students, career coaches, and H.R. departments.

16 Personalities Test

The 16 Personalities use a testing method based on the Myers-Briggs assessment. Through a series of questions, respondents are grouped into one of four overarching categories:
  • Analysts
  • Diplomats
  • Sentinels
  • Explorers
These four categories are then broken down into four subcategories that accurately describe a person's primary personality traits.
These subcategories include:
Architect, Logician Commander, Debater, Advocate, Mediator, Protagonist, Campaigner, Logistician, Defender, Executive, Consul, Virtuoso, Adventurer, Entrepreneur, Entertainer.

Myers-Briggs Test

The original Myers-Briggs Test is considered by many to be one of the founding personality tests that rose to popularity in the 1900s. In 1917, Katharine Briggs became intrigued about personality types when her daughter chose an unlikely match for her fiance. She wanted to find out more about human characteristics and what caused people to have different personality traits.
Both Katharine and her daughter worked together for the next 20 years. They relied heavily on Dr. Carl Jung’s research and together created the Myers-Briggs Personality Test.
This test aims to determine how respondents see the world around them. It breaks personalities into four categories: introversion or extraversion, sensing or intuition, thinking or feeling, judging or perceiving. A personality profile can be determined based on where each person falls within each category.

The Winslow Personality Profile

This test was designed to help organizations and H.R. departments measure an employee’s suitability for specific positions in an organization. It looks at a person's personality, behavior, and attitudes in their existing work environment.
Once the Winslow Personality Profile Test is completed, a report is generated to assess the respondent’s results. This detailed report can show how compatible a person would be in a specific work environment that is being considered, which traits have the most profound influence on overall work ethics, and which areas a person may need to improve upon to become a better employee. 
This is often used to help organizations determine fit for various departments or positions in the organization or in consideration of promotion to another position.

Process Communication Profile

NASA initially developed this test as a method to determine the underlying personality traits of their astronauts. They wanted to create a way to determine if the astronauts they had chosen were suitable for the job, how they would perform under stressful situations, what their preferred communication style was and how well they would interact with other astronauts.
This test divides respondents into six different personality categories.
These are:
  • Harmonizers
  • Thinkers
  • Rebels
  • Imagineers
  • Persisters
  • Promoters
The Process Communication Profile test aims to show where a person's area of most significant strength is.

The Holtzman Inkblot Technique

While not commonly used today, The Holtzman Inkblot Technique test was at one time extremely popular. Walter H. Holtzman developed this test in 1961, and it uses abstract inkblot images on a page to determine a person's personality.
During the trial, forty-five different images are presented, and the respondents must identify what they see.
Example of inkblots
inkblot examples
There are twenty-two different criteria that respondents are scored on, including reaction time, rejection, location, space, form definiteness, form appropriateness, color, shading, movement, pathognomonic verbalization, integration, content (human, animal, anatomy, sexual, or abstract), anxiety, hostility, barrier, penetration, balance, and popularity.
This test is used primarily in subjects who have suffered head trauma, depression, or schizophrenia.

DISC Assessment

William Marston and Walter Clarke first developed the DISC Assessment test. These psychologists designed a test to look into the strong behavioral traits of dominance, inducement, submission, and compliance.
This personality test can be very valuable to use in the workplace as it gauges how a person will react to specific rules, environments, and management styles. It can determine how well a potential candidate will fit into a particular role.

Advantages of Personality Tests

There are numerous advantages of taking a personality test, especially regarding hiring a new employee or assessing a current employee's habits in the workplace.
Some of the most enormous benefits of using personality tests include:
  • They speed up the recruitment process - Allowing potential candidates to complete a personality test can give you a clear picture of who that candidate is without having to go through lengthy hiring and interviewing processes.
  • They give you a deeper understanding of the candidate - A personality test can give you a better understanding of the likes, dislikes, strengths, and weaknesses of a candidate that you may not otherwise grasp from the normal interview process.
  • They allow you to identify the "wrong" employees quickly - You are better able to weed out those with personality traits that don’t work with your corporate image or environment.
  • They are cost-effective - Personality tests are relatively simple to complete and can save a company significant time and money compared to other interviewing techniques.

weakness of career testDisadvantages of Personality Tests

While personality tests can be highly beneficial, they do come with their downfalls as well.
Some of the most significant disadvantages to personality tests include:
  • Personality tests have the potential for social desirability bias. This refers to the tendency for individuals to respond to questions in a way that they think is most socially acceptable or desirable rather than accurately reflecting their true thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.
  • Additionally, self-awareness is a key factor in the accuracy of personality tests. If an individual has limited self-awareness or lacks insight into their own thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, they may struggle to answer questions on a personality test accurately.
  • Some respondents may suffer from test anxiety - Test anxiety may cause an excellent respondent to finish with poor results due to their stress and anxiety levels while taking the test.
  • Some tests may not consider cultural differences, meaning people with different cultural backgrounds may not be able to answer specific questions, or their belief systems and traditions may not be accurately represented.
  • It is important to note that no test can capture the entirety of an individual's personality, and results are influenced by a variety of factors, including the individual's current state, the context in which the test is taken, and the questions being asked. As such, it is important to interpret the results of personality tests with needed confirmation and consider them to be part of a broader understanding of an individual's personality.

Personality Tests in the Workplace

While personality tests won't indicate which career or job type an individual is best suited to, they can provide some help during the interviewing process. Finding out more about a candidate's driving personality traits can determine how well a person will fit into the workplace environment.
These personality assessments can offer some value; however, a career test can give a hiring manager a better overview of a specific candidate's potential and provide a job seeker with more informed insight into which career path is best to pursue.