What are personality tests?

July 22, 2019

Personality tests, also known as personality questionnaires, are used by businesses to evaluate candidates’ suitability for a specific role. In fact, business psychologists tend to prefer labelling them ‘questionnaires’ rather than ‘tests’ because there is no such thing as a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ personality in recruitment: just personalities that are more or less suited to different roles. To this end, they are frequently untimed and need to be based upon a good understanding of the type of personality profile likely to thrive in the role.

Whilst ability tests and employment history can give employers an indication of someone’s intelligence and job-relevant knowledge; personality questionnaires give a greater insight into HOW someone will go about performing a job. Personality questionnaires can be quite broad in scope and can include assessments of attitude, motivation, values or preferred culture all under the same banner.


What benefits would a business get from using personality questionnaires?

People’s responses to personality questionnaires can be used in a variety of different ways. A ‘personality profile’ can be produced which shows people’s preferences relative to other people (e.g. whether they are more or less extroverted than most; or more likely to plan or to tackle issues as they arise). They can also generate reports that give insight on likely behaviour in a variety of settings, whether this be the role they will play in a team, how they are likely to act as a leader, or how they might perform when under pressure. The personality profile and other outputs are then used by the business to predict the candidate’s response to a wide range of work related activities and hence, help to measure the suitability of that individual to a role within the company.

Research shows that insight gained from personality questionnaires can provide incremental validity over other forms of assessment such as ability tests or interviews: i.e. they tap into areas not assessed via these other methods.


Would you like to discuss bespoke Personality Questionnaire design?

At Sten10, we design bespoke personality tests based on your company’s needs. We walk you through the whole process of process of creating, piloting, norming and validating your own tests and how you can judge whether or not they are fair. You decide which characteristics, skills and behaviours you require for your business and we will help you create the best ways of identifying them.

You can find more information on the personality tests / personality questionnaires we design by visiting our home page.

Ben Williams

Assessment knowledge guru and industry thought-leader.

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