Work personality test design. Faces and different personalities

Personality

Welcome to our work personality test designs and our free personality self-assessments:

Our Psychometric Test Designs

We are specialists in bespoke personality tests design, or personality assessment design. 

  • We offer both personality designs for assessment and for development purposes.
  • Also, we offer access to the most widely used personality questionnaires.
  • Please contact us to discuss how Rob Williams Assessment Ltd can help your company in any personality test design projects.

Bespoke Personality Tests

We will work with you to design the most suitable work styles tool to suit your needs. Examples of the typical personality test format can be found here.

 

Our Bespoke Personality Questionnaire design process aims to:

  • include dimensions identified as key to the role being assessed
  • reflect the personality, attitudinal and motivational aspects of the role-specific dimensions
  • have face valid questions
  • be capable of completion in 20 minutes approx.
  • adopt a single-stimulus question format (Likert scale)
  • adopt a normative format of scoring utilising a sten look-up table (for each personality scale)
  • use a Social Desirability scale to deal with the issue of faking or extreme scoring patterns.

Personality Test Design Research

Work personality test design. Woman at work.

Key personality test design stages

The ideal for personality questionnaire design is to have sets of items on each  scale measuring the same latent variable – as described by the scale name and the scale descriptors. This is what is meant by the internal reliability of a personality questionnaire’s set of scales.

 –  –  –   Our bespoke personality tests design  –  –  –

General Personality test Designs

We are not aligned with a particular test publisher. Thus, we can offer an independent perspective on any personality questionnaire design. Whilst we recommend designing bespoke personality tests, we can also advise on the most commonly used, off-the-shelf personality tests. These are listed below: firstly as general personality questionnaires; and then as personality questionnaires with specific applications.

Personality Values Test Design 

We can design values assessment exercises design to focus on any values framework.

Values based recruitment may involve values based structured interviews, values based selection centres, values based situational judgement tests and/or values based personality tests.

 –  –  –   Our bespoke personality traits design  –  –  –

Values based personality tests

Personality tests can be designed to measure values – as well as job specific constructs or competencies. As with a situational judgement based design, values based personality tests can serve as a highly effective realistic job preview, or self-selection tool.

If it is important to differentiate personality traits from values, then values can be seen as enduring goals, whilst personality better describes enduring dispositions.

Whenever a values based personality test is being used as part of a values based recruitment process, its vital to remember that personality influences motivational processes differently to how values drive motivational behaviour. Values impact goal content whereas personality traits impact the efforts that individuals make towards their goals.

 

Motivation Tests (Values and Drivers)

We are specialists in designing Motivation Tests that measure values and drivers. Please contact us to discuss how Rob Williams Assessment Ltd can help your company in assessment exercise design.

Personality Values Test Design

  • 3-4 scenarios to assess each value.
  • Totalling approx. 15-16 questions.
  • Provides accurate and meaningful feedback to each respondent.

Personality Values-Based Interview

Structured interview(s) comprising firstly values questions. Secondly, comprising of competency questions, and finally, including technical questions.

Values-Based Simulation Exercises

  • Scenarios from the job analysis can be used to design simulation exercises.
  • Parallel version developed to maximise exercise integrity.
  • Minimise risk of applicants sharing details of tools.
  • Compromising the validity of the assessment process.

Motivation Tests – Values Assessment Exercises

We can design values assessment exercises design to focus on any values framework. Values based recruitment may involve values based structured interviews, values based selection centres, values based situational judgement tests and/or values based personality tests.

Motivation Tests – Values based personality tests

Personality tests measure values – as well as job specific constructs or competencies. As with a situational judgement based design, values based personality tests can serve as a highly effective realistic job preview, or self-selection tool.P skills such as judgement/decision-making and interpersonal effectiveness can be defined of values and/or personality traits.

In fact, in any context there is invariably a complex interplay between personality and values. This makes it particularly important to pay attention to selection and developmental contexts, when determining the suitability of different psychometric tools. Personality describes natural behaviours whereas values relate to a choice that must be made between alternative courses of action.

In a sense, for most people, values are what we feel that we ought to do. Unlike many personality traits there are many values that conflict directly with each other and so cannot be held concurrently. Values impact goal content whereas personality traits impact the efforts that individuals make towards their goals.

Ability tests

There is only a strict time limit for ability tests.

The major generic ability test types are as follows: Verbal, Numerical, Abstract, Spatial and Non-Verbal.

Different types of ability tests are appropriate for different types of jobs and also for different job levels.

Psychometric assessment by job level

A threefold differential of job level, together with the most commonly used ability tests, is:

  1. School-leaver level (Verbal/Literacy, Numerical Estimation);
  2. Graduate/junior managerial level (Verbal, Numerical, Abstract, Spatial, Non-Verbal);
  3. Senior managerial level (Verbal/Numerical/Abstract).

Three common job levels used are: ‘Operatives’, Junior Managerial/Graduate and Middle/Senior Managers.

Psychometric tests for managers

For managers, you might expect up to 80 minutes of testing on ability (30 to 40 minutes for a verbal, 30 to 40 minutes for numerical). With lower levels, the time required drops dramatically with testing time of 10 to 15 minutes (simple checking, simple spelling, simple numeracy).

At the ‘Middle/Senior’ level, you have verbal and numerical plus specific applied aptitudes and competency assessments (assessment centre/development centre stuff). Personality is vital at this level.

Psychometric tests for operatives

At the ‘Operative’ level, you have basic literacy and numeracy plus checking and maybe some specific aptitudes (spatial reasoning, mechanical reasoning, fault finding, pattern recognition etc.). Personality assessment at this level is ‘sanity checking’ I.e. this person is not totally unsuitable. People have less autonomy/control over what they do so they are limited in the way their personalities can really impact positively on the job.

Psychometric tests for graduates

At the ‘Graduate’ level, you have verbal and numerical reasoning with the possibility of a reasoning test which does not require verbal or numerical knowledge or prior learnt skills – these are usually termed ‘Abstract reasoning’ tests. Personality assessment is more important as graduates’ personalities have a greater impact on how they do the job.

Personality Types

We led a UK-wide project managing over twenty occupational psychologists including leading global psychometricians. Over a fourteen-month period this project encompassed the following: situational judgement tests (SJT) design, realistic job preview design, ability test design (numerical reasoning, verbal reasoning, problem-solving ability test design, spatial reasoning test design) and personality questionnaire design.

Useful Personality Type Links

  • Our personality test design. 
  • Personality type tips. 
  • Our personality tests research 2019.
  • Coaching with personality tests.

– – – Personality Tips – – –

Personality Test Tips

Our focus here is on our personality test tips.

Personality Tests Intro

Usually untimed, this type of questionnaire is used to determine how you might
react in various situations. It looks at your personal characteristics, social skills,
preferred style of working etc. This tool should be used simply to provide the
employer with extra information about you.

Personality Test Hints

  • Firstly, personality test practice is of paramount importance.
  • Go with your initial reactions rather than thinking about each question in detail.
  • Don’t try to guess what type of person they are looking for.
  • Employers are usually looking for several different profiles, and there may be checks within the questionnaire to identify false answers.

Popular Generic Personality Tests

The most popular personality tests which you may be asked to complete are described in the next section.

First are the Hogan set of specialist personality tools: Hogan – the Bright Side of Personality; Hogan Leadership High Potential; Hogan Values, Preferences Inventory and the Hogan Dark Side personality tool.

Secondly, IBM Kenexa has been one of the most success test providers for many years. In particular, their leading personality tools: firstly IBM Kenexa’s Occupational Personality Inventory (OPI)/Talent Profile and secondly, their Rapid Personality Questionnaire (RPQ).

Saville Consulting WAVE personality test

Personality Test Tips

Saville Consulting WAVE personality test report examples

There are many other popular test publishers. These typically have one or two leading personality tools. Thus, CEB has the OPQ and many other personality assessments, PSI has the 16PF personality questionnaire. Personality test publisher OPP has the still widely popular MBTI.

Personality Assessment Tips

Even if you can tell which personality trait a personality test question is measuring, it is ill-advised to try to second guess those personality traits which your potential employer is looking for in any job you’re applying for.

Difficulty in second guessing personality questionnaires

You will probably guess wrong. In fact you could be giving “fake” responses to make you score higher on a scale for which the identified personality set of ideal personality trait scores is at the lower end of the scale.

Jobs with a personality that doesn’t fit

If you are successful in your application then you have a job for which your personality does not “fit”. To be successful you will need to continue with assuming those personality traits that you don’t actually have. That is very tricky on day one of your new job and will prove quite stressful in the longer-term.

That said, if you applying for a graduate management scheme it is common sense which types of personality trait most of these graduate management schemes require: team working, drive, powers of persuasion and influencing skills, emotional stability, agreeableness, leadership skills etc.

Best practice dictates there are no right or wrong answers to a personality test. However, two points to remember here:

Play it safe with some personality test scales

Play it safe with Emotional Stability / Neuroticism-relates personality questions – For most Emotional Stability (Neuroticism) scales a more stable personality is preferred. Unstable personalities in the workplace – wherever and whatever that workplace happens to be – can have a negative impact on colleagues as well as on the predictability of work performance.

Avoid Extreme Responses on key personality scales.

There are issues associated with being extremely high or extremely low on any scale. Many employers – if they have an ideal personality profile for a role – will have identified a more central set of scores that excludes the highest (sten 10) and the lowest (sten 1) on most of the personality traits measures by their chosen personality assessment tool.

PERSONALITY TEST TIPS Part Two

Given the above point it is worth considering that even if you know you are, for example, an extremely lively and sociable individual then maybe you don’t want to answer “very high” to each personality test question about being sociable / lively. Remember even in a role where this is a necessary personality trait (e.g. a sales role), the individual who has to chat to everyone is not necessarily focusing their efforts on where their next sales will come from.

Next, remember you will probably guess wrong.

Also, you could be giving “fake” responses to make you score higher on a scale for which the identified personality set of ideal personality trait scores is at the lower end of the scale.

Even if you can tell which personality trait a personality test question is measuring, it is ill-advised to try to second guess those personality traits which your potential employer is looking for in any job you’re applying for.

You will probably not be able to fake this personality profile throughout the whole of the test. However, if you are successful in your application then you have a job for which your personality does not “fit”. To be successful you will need to continue with assuming those personality traits that you don’t actually have. That is very tricky on day one of your new job and will prove quite stressful in the longer-term.

Firstly, Avoid Extreme Responses.

There are issues associated with being extremely high or extremely low on any scale. Many employers – if they have an ideal personality profile for a role – will have identified a more central set of scores that excludes the highest (sten 10) and the lowest (sten 1) on most of the personality traits measures by their chosen personality assessment tool.

Given the above point it is worth considering that even if you know you are, for example, an extremely lively and sociable individual then maybe you don’t want to answer “very high” to each personality test question about being sociable / lively. Remember even in a role where this is a necessary personality trait (e.g. a sales role), the individual who has to chat to everyone is not necessarily focusing their efforts on where their next sales will come from.

Secondly, play it safe with Emotional Stability / Neuroticism questions.

For most Emotional Stability (Neuroticism) scales a more stable personality is preferred. Unstable personalities in the workplace – wherever and whatever that workplace happens to be – can have a negative impact on colleagues as well as on the predictability of work performance.Don’t worry if you’ve not completed a personality test before.

PERSONALITY TEST TIPS Part Three

Thirdly, try to be relaxed.

Completing a personality test is not difficult. If anything it is quite a boring and repetitive experience. Remember that this is only one part of the selection process. Similarly, there’s no need to worry if you haven’t seen your personality profile before. No-one gets profiled as a bad person. Or as someone with lots of secrets! Think of this as a useful experience to learn more about yourself. It’s certainly a “free” opportunity to raise your self-awareness.

Fourth, remember the ideal profile is both role-specific and company-specific.

This “danger zone” profile will highlight desirable and undesirable personality characteristics. You will not be able to predict this danger profile so don’t try to second guess what your recruiter is looking for.

You may assume that two companies looking for say graduates will have similar characteristics in mind. Most graduate recruiters want a driven, innovative team player. 

Fifth, think in terms of generic positive personality traits.

You recruiter is looking for an ideal profile. However, you don’t know the specifics of this ideal personality profile. You can work out the most likely personality traits your potential employer wants. For example:

Administrative roles do require organisational skills, planning skills.

Financial roles do rely on attention to detail skills

Sales roles do attract lively, extroverted individuals.

Managerial roles do require leadership skills.

PERSONALITY TEST TIPS Part Four

Sixth, think in terms of generic negative personality traits

The converse of the advice given in personality tip 3 is that you need to avoid being profiled at the opposite end.

Also, don’t try to fake your personality profile.

Firstly, ask yourself why would I “fake” my own personality? If I am highly introverted I am not going to enjoy working selling to tricky customers all day. Then if you are successful in your application, you will find yourself working in a very lively and extroverted team of sales people. Not a nice place for an introvert to be!

Plus, always avoid extreme responses.

Still, if you are still determined you may be able to tweak your profile if you avoid giving too many extreme responses (Highly Agree or Highly Disagree). So, let’s say you answer each personality test question about Being organised with the response that you are highly organised. Then your profile will show that you are one of the most organised people around!

PERSONALITY TEST TIPS Part Five

Finally, be consistent in your answers.

Another built-in trap is how modern personality questionnaires can track how consistently you are answering similar questions. There may even be a measure generated of this consistency. High consistency is good but a very low consistency score could indicate that on certain personality traits you are faking. Hence not answering in the consistent way that someone with that particular personality trait would answer.

Also, it’s worth knowing that personality questionnaires can seem repetitive because they will ask the same question but phrased differently. Such questions are measuring the same personality trait but asking you about this personality trait in different ways, including in different situations and how others may see you on this particular personality trait.

Financial aptitude measures by a personality test

The first thing I noticed was that the international test publisher Hogrefe Group describing the role that personality plays in trading (on the financial stock markets).

The Bloomberg Financial Test  made me interested because it is a measure of “financial aptitude” – not a personality test.

Also, Barclays are doing some interesting personality research in this area. Primarily, individual financial preferences for investing. This personality research is very innovative. I predict that other financial institutions may offer similar personality-based profiling for their investors.

 

Personality Test Trait Research

Personality tests measure personality traits. There are particular personality traits which employers look for. It therefore makes sense that our My Strengths practice personality test questions available for free. These focus on those personality traits most measured by employers.

Big Five Personality Test Research 2018

Firstly, Bartram’s increasing validity with forced-choice criterion measurement formats.

Secondly, Block’s Q-sort method in personality assessment.

Third is Clemans’ analytical and empirical examination of some properties of ipsative personality measures.

Fourth is Goldberg’s development of markers for the Big-Five personality factor structure. 

Fifth is Kaemmer’s Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory Manual for administration and scoring. 

Sixth is Markon’s Role of the DSM-6 personality trait model.

Next is Naumann’s Resilient Big Five have emerged as the paradigm for personality trait psychology.

After which is O’Connor’s Quantitative review of the comprehensiveness of the five-factor model in relation to popular personality.

Penultimately, Roberts’ development of a forced choice measure of typical-performance emotional intelligence.

Last but not least, Salgado’s predicting job performance using FFM and non-FFM personality measures. 

Personality Test Tips

Future research could explore applicant reactions, such as perceived test fairness and appropriateness of selection instrument, among candidates who complete either or both the SJT and its gamified version to further support the effectivenss of using game elements into selection methods. Also, another limitation of the gamified SJT might be any accessibility issues for candidates who may not have the hardware or internet connection required to try the assement.

Personality Test Tips

Recently, a number of organizations have employed the use of gami‐ fication and game‐based assessments in employee recruitment and selection. However, no published empirical studies have explored the validity of gamification in assessing candidates’ skills. Our study supports that converting a traditional SJT to a gamified assessment, in order to effectively assess candidates’ soft skills, such as resil‐ ience, adaptability, and decision‐making can be of value. We first presented the development of a SJT to form the basis of the gami‐ fied assessment method.

Verbal Reasoning practice test book

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Firstly, Passing Verbal Reasoning Tests book by Rob Williams

Numerical Reasoning practice test book

Secondly, Passing Numerical Reasoning Tests book by Rob Williams

Personality Test Design Research

M

Bespoke Personality tests design

Work personality test design. Executive team in work attire.

How have psychometric tests evolved over the years?

  • The basic principles of test development did not change significantly until around 2010. In the previous decade, ability and personality tests have evolved considerably in terms of the uses to which they are put; and in what specific assessments can measure.
  • Development of ability tests that are based on structured learning principles
  • Adaptive tests and integrity tests are already widely used in the American educational system.

Work personality test design. Colleagues listening to instruction.

 –  –  – Personality traits –  –  –

Specific Personality Assessment Designs

  • Hogan Development Survey (de-railers)
  • Kenexa and SHL’s Motivation Questionnaires
  • FIRO-B (relationship building)
  • MBTI for Teams (team relationships) and MBTI for Coaching
  • EJI and EIQ (emotional intelligence measures)
  • Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode (conflict management)
  • SHL’s Corporate Culture Questionnaire and Customer Contact Styles Questionnaire

Work Personality Tests Examples

In our opinion, the typical stages of such a personality questionnaire design project should be:

Firstly, investigate the job role(s) using the most appropriate types of job analysis.

Secondly, study the job analysis results to determine the personality areas or competencies that measure effective work performance within this particular context.

Thirdly, you have what you need to write questions for each personality area or competency.

Thus, you are able to produce a trial personality questionnaire and deliver this to a representative sample of current employees in the role(s).

Now, you can determine the best way to validate the questionnaire: (a) For example, using performance data such as sales figures, or appraisal ratings. (b) Designing a performance rating form for completion by managers of the sample group.

Next, produce scoring keys for the personality questionnaire scales.

Then, trial the personality questionnaire alongside the performance rating form.

Next, analyse the trial data and validation data to determine the personality scales and specific questions that are most predictive of work performance.

Finally, produce the final questionnaire, norm tables and scoring key.

Personality traits

Talent Gene Personality Test Validations

  • Strengths test design.
  • Values test design.
  • Validating data sets for above two tests.
  • Improving reliability and validity.

Personality Test Distortion 

Social desirability scales 

You will probably not be able to fake this personality profile throughout the whole of the test. Your responses could easily be identified by the faking / social desirability scale used by the personality assessment tool. Then you could be asked to explain your “unusual” test taking style by one of the recruiters and/or be asked to take the personality assessment again.

Lie scales

Given the high potential for faking a personality test there are multiple ways built-in to test how reliable a candidate’s responses are. One of the most effective ways is what’s called a social desirability, or lie-scale.

For example, a personality test question may ask you to rate statements such as I have never told a lie or I have never been late for an appointment. Be wary of trying to come across as a perfect angel here. Everyone has told a lie at least once and everyone has been late at least some of the time.

Work personality test design. Man with picture of clouds where his head should be.

Bespoke Personality tests design

Social Desirability – Personality scale Interpretation

A sten score of 8, 9 or 10 should be treated with caution and the respondent questioned accordingly at the interview stage – to validate their personality profile. The key point being that an extreme Social Desirability score indicates the respondent may be trying to distort their results by answering in an overly positive manner. As with any personality scale individuals have different social desirable tendencies so it’s difficult to distinguish genuine responses (for such positive attributes) from respondents intentionally distorting their answers.

A high Social Desirability score could reflect preferred behavioural style. In our opinion, it does not prove the respondent is lying / faking. This reinforces the need to validate any personality test profile with a follow-up interview. Then, to probe for interview evidence of such positive attributes.

Using Social Desirability as a personality trait

In our opinion, I have never told a lie, is one good example. Everyone has lied at some point. So, denying this is to answer in a socially desirable way. In fact, in our opinion, “Social desirability” describes two things:

  1. The tendency to exaggerate positive behaviours when answering a personality questionnaire. There is a tendency for a small percentage of personality questionnaire respondents to agree with seemingly desirable questions.
  2.  It also describes the moderation of negative behaviours. In other words, to disagree with socially undesirable questions (Zickar & Gibby, 2006).

It is therefore best practise in popular personality questionnaire design to use a Social Desirability scale to address such faking issues.

 –  –  –   Our bespoke personality tests design  –  –  –

Personality Tests

There are many personality tests used in career guidance and selection. Some tests display the person personality profile along 16 to 20 different dimensions.

The most popular of these tests are:

  • California Personality Inventory (CPI)
  • Cattell’s 16 Personality Factors (16PF)
  • Edward’s Personal Preferences Schedule (EPPS).

Personality APPLICATIONS

So, sales representatives tend to score high on extroversion and dominance. Whereas chemists tend to be thinking introverts.

Personality Factors

A test like the 16PF has 20 factors (16 primary and 4 secondary). Using 20 personality factors, there are 110 possible combinations of two extreme scores (either high or low).

The advantage of these tests is that there are very comprehensive. This validity procedure established which occupations tend to score high on which dimensions.

 –  –  –   Our bespoke personality tests design  –  –  –

Personality Type Tools

Personality Test Trait Research

There are particular personality traits which employers look for. It therefore makes sense that our My Strengths practice personality test questions available for free. These focus on those personality traits most measured by employers.

Big Five Personality Test Research 2018

Across variables, BIg Five personality test researchers have found strong evidence to support the view that conscientiousness is highly predictive of job performance.

Personality Test Tips

The researchers identified some interesting caveats and boundary conditions. Conscientiousness is a weaker predictor of job performance in “high-complexity” occupations). Conscientious people excel in customer service jobs. And other low to medium complexity occupations.

Furthermore, the researchers found that individuals high in conscientiousness do better in Health Care than, say, Law Enforcement.

Firstly, Bartram’s increasing validity with forced-choice criterion measurement formats.

Secondly, Block’s Q-sort method in personality assessment.

Third is Clemans’ analytical and empirical examination of some properties of ipsative personality measures.

Fourth is Goldberg’s development of markers for the Big-Five personality factor structure. 

Fifth is Kaemmer’s Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory Manual for administration and scoring. 

Sixth is Markon’s Role of the DSM-6 personality trait model.

Next is Naumann’s Resilient Big Five have emerged as the paradigm for personality trait psychology.

After which is O’Connor’s Quantitative review of the comprehensiveness of the five-factor model in relation to popular personality.

Penultimately, Roberts’ development of a forced choice measure of typical-performance emotional intelligence.

Last but not least, Salgado’s predicting job performance using FFM and non-FFM personality measures. 

Personality Test Tips

Future research could explore applicant reactions, such as perceived test fairness and appropriateness of selection instrument, among candidates who complete either or both the SJT and its gamified version to further support the effectiveness of using game elements into selection methods. Also, another limitation of the gamified SJT might be any accessibility issues for candidates who may not have the hardware or internet connection required to try the assessment.

Recently, a number of organizations have employed the use of gamification and game‐based assessments in employee recruitment and selection. However, no published empirical studies have explored the validity of gamification in assessing candidates’ skills. Our study supports that converting a traditional SJT to a gamified assessment, in order to effectively assess candidates’ soft skills, such as resilience, adaptability, and decision‐making can be of value. We first presented the development of an SJT to form the basis of the gamified assessment method.

How are Personality Measures used?

Guion & Gottier (1965), “its difficult… to advocate … the use of personality measures in most situations as a basis for making employment decisions“. Still, personality measures are widely used in personnel selection. The continuing use reflect the view held by personnel practitioners that personality partly predicts behaviour.

One of the reasons for the low personality – job performance correlations is the lack of conceptual link between traits and work performance. Thus, it is unreasonable to expect personality measures to generalise across jobs.

An attempt to correlate a battery of personality traits with job performance regardless the nature of the job, would result in weak coefficients.

Different Types of Personality Test

NEO personality test

  • This is for one of the most well-researched personality tests used in both the US and the UK.
  • There is considerable research supporting the “Big Five” model of personality.
  • Like the 16PF5 personality questionnaire – the NEO is based on academically rigorous factor analysis.
  • There is a systematic model behind the set of NEO personality questions.

The MBTI is a very popular alternative to these tests. The MBTI:

  • Uses four basic bipolar dimensions.
  • Classifies the person into one of 16 possible personality descriptions. 

Once you complete a Big Five personality test, you’ get these five scores:

  • Agreeableness
  • Extraversion
  • Emotional Stability
  • Openness to Experience / Intellect
  • Conscientiousness

With the Big Five, as with most science-based psychological measures, you’re going to see a “normal distribution,” meaning there is a bell curve. Most of the population is going to be somewhere in the middle, with a few “outliers” on both sides.

Most people are going to be somewhere in the middle of, say, extraversion, meaning that most people would identify as both introverted and extraverted (this is completely normal). One problem with the whole notion of “types” is that they make people think their personality is more extreme and black-and-white.

Big Five Personality Traits

According to type doctrine, “personality” is less fundamental than “personality type” but there’s no scientific evidence for personality “types.” In fact, personality can change considerably over the span of a person’s lifetime.

The ‘Big Five’ is the most researched theory of personality. The typicl Big Five personality test format has five answer options, based on a Likert scale.

Wheres, with type-based personality tests you cannot provide nuance to your answer. Instead, type indicators typically have 2-3 answer options – none of which truly fit your own personality.

Work Personality test designs

Many of the UK’s and US’s leading test publishers have used Rob Williams Assessment’s to calculate and prove the reliability of their newly developed psychometric tests.

Big Five personality research

A team of scientists led by Michael Wilmot of the University of Toronto conducted a meta-analysis of 92 studies. They explored the relationship between conscientiousness and various occupational variables. For example, on-the-job competence, procrastination, leadership, organizational commitment, adaptability, job satisfaction, and burnout.

Across variables, the researchers found strong evidence to support the view that conscientiousness is highly predictive of job performance.

The researchers identified some interesting caveats and boundary conditions. Conscientiousness is a weaker predictor of job performance in “high-complexity” occupations). Conscientious people excel in customer service jobs. And other low to medium complexity occupations.

Furthermore, the researchers found that individuals high in conscientiousness do better in Health Care than, say, Law Enforcement.

The graph below reveals the job sectors in which conscientious individuals are most likely to excel, with Health Care leading the pack.

Bespoke Personality tests

Big Five personality test research

Conscientiousness and job performance
“Summary of meta-analyses of conscientiousness and occupational performance […]. Diamonds … [+]WILMOT & ONES (2019)

The researchers suggest that organizations should do more to harness conscientious workers’ aptitudes and motivations. Conscientious individuals are motivated by status, acceptance, and predictability.

personality test tips

Few individual differences variables have occupational effects as potent and pervasive as conscientiousness. The researchers recommend that ‘…every individual, organizational, and societal decision maker to better understand, develop, and apply the valuable human capital resource that is conscientiousness.

Personality Test Trait Research

We led a UK-wide project managing over twenty occupational psychologists including leading global psychometricians. Over a fourteen-month period this project encompassed the following: situational judgement tests (SJT) design, realistic job preview design, ability test design (numerical reasoning, verbal reasoning, problem-solving ability test design, spatial reasoning test design) and personality questionnaire design.

Personality tests measure personality traits. There are particular personality traits which employers look for. It therefore makes sense that our My Strengths practice personality test questions available for free. These focus on those personality traits most measured by employers.

The latest personality test research

Personality psychologists tend to divide personality into five core dimensions: openness to experiences, agreeableness, extraversion, conscientiousness and neuroticism.

Any guesses as to which dimension might be most predictive of occupational performance? If you guessed extraversion, you’d be wrong. If you guessed emotional stability, you’d be wrong again.

The truth is that 100+ years of psychological research has shown conscientiousness – that is, the tendency toward self-efficacy, orderliness, achievement, and self-discipline – to be the best predictor of job performance. New research forthcoming in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences offers an in-depth examination of why this is the case, and when it might not be true.

Our work personality test designs

Big Five personality research

A team of scientists led by Michael Wilmot of the University of Toronto conducted a meta-analysis of 92 studies. They explored the relationship between conscientiousness and various occupational variables. For example, on-the-job competence, procrastination, leadership, organizational commitment, adaptability, job satisfaction, and burnout.

Key Big Five personality test research papers

Welcome to our first feature on our new Big Five personality research series.

Firstly, Bartram’s increasing validity with forced-choice criterion measurement formats.

Secondly, Block’s Q-sort method in personality assessment.

Third is Clemans’ analytical and empirical examination of some properties of ipsative personality measures.

Fourth is Goldberg’s development of markers for the Big-Five personality factor structure. 

Fifth is Kaemmer’s Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory Manual for administration and scoring. 

Sixth is Markon’s Role of the DSM-6 personality trait model.

Next is Naumann’s Resilient Big Five have emerged as the paradigm for personality trait psychology.

After which is O’Connor’s Quantitative review of the comprehensiveness of the five-factor model in relation to popular personality.

Penultimately, Roberts’ development of a forced choice measure of typical-performance emotional intelligence.

Last but not least, Salgado’s predicting job performance using FFM and non-FFM personality measures. 

Predictive Validity of Personality Measures

Guion & Gottier (1965), “its difficult… to advocate … the use of personality measures in most situations as a basis for making employment decisions“. Still, personality measures are widely used in personnel selection. The continuing use reflect the view held by personnel practitioners that personality partly predicts behaviour.

One of the reasons for the low personality – job performance correlations is the lack of conceptual link between traits and work performance. Thus, it is unreasonable to expect personality measures to generalise across jobs.

An attempt to correlate a battery of personality traits with job performance regardless the nature of the job, would result in weak coefficients.

Work personality test designs