Personality Tests Research

Our focus on this page is peresonality tests research.

Competency-Based Personality Assessment Design

Previous projects that have encompassed personality assessment designs:

  • Fit based personality profiles for a call centre
  • CV-based sifting design (finance and business consultancy sectors)
  • Online competency based sift questionnaires

In 2015 and 2018, Rob Williams Assessment Ltd developed two bespoke personality test designs. These were for the graduate recruiters Talent Window and Hire Window. A positive client recommendation for this project can be found on on Linked-In.

Bespoke Personality Test Design 

Firstly, my client Talent Window required a rational model of the personality traits typically sought by graduate employers.

Key Steps to Bespoke Personality Test Design

Next, and in consultation with our client, Rob Williams Assessment Ltd, used similar process for designing both the Talent Window and the Hire Window personality tests. The client then arranged for online trials with in excess of 100 members of the target graduate audience.

Personality test outcomes

Rob Williams Assessment Ltd successfully applied the British Psychological Society’s best practice in personality questionnaire design.

Both bespoke personality questionnaire met the client’s aim of measuring the most commonly sought graduate personality traits.

Recent personality test innovations

The Bloomberg Financial Test assesses applications for a multitude of financial roles. It is a measure of “financial aptitude” – not a personality test.

The NEO PI-R personality test established a link between Big 5 personality traits and those personality traits found in successful financial traders. Three key personality domains mentioned in this personality test research: Extroversion, Neuroticism and Openness to Experience.

Personality assessment designs

Personality tests vary considerably in length, from short Big Five measures (around 10 minutes) to in-depth measures with 16-32 scales (taking 35-50 minutes). Personality testing is less commonly used at the school-leaver level – compared to the graduate and managerial levels.

Personality is untimed but takes from 5-6 minutes for a Disc-like instrument to 25 mins for a 16PF.

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 tests 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 tests research 2019

Bornstein, R. F. (2003). Behaviorally referenced experimentation
and symptom validation: A paradigm for 21st-century
personality disorder research. Journal of Personality Disorders,
17, 1–18.

Clark, S. L., Muthn, B., Kaprio, J., D’Onofrio, B. M., Viken,
R., & Rose, R. J. (2013). Models and strategies for factor
mixture analysis: An example concerning the structure
underlying psychological disorders.

Fontana, A., & Rosenbeck, R. (2004). Comparing traditional
and Rasch analyses of the Mississippi PTSD Scale: Revealing
limitations of reverse-scored items.

De Fruyt, F., & Salgado, J. F. (2003). Applied personality
psychology: Lessons learned from the IWO field. European
Journal of Personality, 17(S1), S123–S131.

Dilchert, S., Ones, D. S., & Krueger, R. F. (2014). Maladaptive
personality constructs, measures, and work behaviors.

Guenole, N., Levine, S. J., & Chamorro-Premuzic,
T. (in press). The NEO-PI-R: Factor structure and gender
invariance from exploratory structural equation modeling
analyses in a high-stakes setting.

Ashton, M. C., Cloninger, C. R., & Gough, H. G. (2006).
The international personality item pool and the future of
public-domain personality measures. Journal of Research in
Personality, 40, 84–96.

Personality tests research Part III

Gore, W. L., & Widiger, T. A. (2013). The DSM-5 dimensional
trait model and five-factor models of general personality.
Guenole, N. (2014). Maladaptive personality at work: Exploring
the darkness. Industrial and Organizational Psychology.

Cockerill, T., Chamorro-Premuzic, T., & Smillie,
L. D. (2011). Evidence for the validity of dimensions in the
presence of rater source factors.

Hogan, R., & Hogan, J. (2001). Assessing leadership. A view
from the dark side.

Judge, T. A., & LePine, J. A. (2007). The bright and dark sides
of personality: Implications for personnel selection in
individual and team contexts.

Personality tests research Part IV

Kolenikov, S., & Bollen, K. A. (2012). Testing negative error
variances is a Heywood case a symptom of mispecification?

Krueger, R. F. (1999). The structure of common mental

Skodol, A. V. (2012). Initial construction of a maladaptive
personality trait model and inventory for DSM-5.

Lykken, D. T. (1968). Statistical significance in psychological
research. Psychological Bulletin, 70, 151–159.

McDonald, R. P. (1999). Test theory: A unified treatment.

Muthn, L. K., & Muthn, B. (2006). Mplus: User’s guide.

O’Boyle, E. H., Forsyth, D. R., Banks, G. C., & McDaniel,
M. A. (2012). A meta-analysis of the Dark Triad and work
behavior: A social exchange perspective.

Personality tests research Part V

Paulhus, D. L., & Williams, K. (2002). The Dark Triad of
personality: Narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy.

Morey, L. C., Verheul, R., Krueger, R. F., & Siever, L. J.
(2011). Proposed changes in personality and personality
disorder assessment and diagnosis for DSM-5 Part II:
Clinical application. Personality Disorders: Theory,
Research, and Treatment, 2, 23–40.

Steiger, J. H. (1990). Structural model evaluation and modification:
An interval estimation approach. Multivariate
Behavioral Research, 25, 214–12.

Wille, B., De Fruyt, F., & De Clercq, B. (2014). Fifty shades of
personality: Integrating Five-Factor Model Bright and Dark
sides of personality at work. Industrial & Organizational
Psychology, 7, 121–126.

Woods, M. (2006). Careless responding to reverse-worded items:
Implications for confirmatory factor analysis. Journal of
Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 28, 186–191.

Wright, A. G., Thomas, K. M., Hopwood, C. J., Markon, K. E.,
Pincus, A. L., & Krueger, R. F. (2012). The hierarchical
structure of DSM-5 pathological.

Useful Personality Test Links