Personality Guide

We specialise in work personality test designs. Hence, we offer both personality designs for assessment and for development purposes.

Also, we offer access to the most widely used personality questionnaires.

Personality Styles assessment design

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

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 work personality test designs  –  –  –

General Personality Assessment 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.

  • SHL’s Occupational Personality Questionnaire (the 32-scale OPQ).
  • Kenexa’s OPI.
  • OPP’s 16PF5 Personality Questionnaire, MBTI Step I, MBTI Step II and the California Personality Inventory.
  • Saville Consulting’s Wave Styles.
  • Talent Q’s Dimensions.

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 Test Design 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.

Talent Gene Personality Test Validations

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

Personality Distortion 

Social desirability scale on personality tests

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 scale on personality tests

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.

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 scale

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.


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).

The advantage of these tests is that there are very comprehensive. Each was validated on the basis of enormous samples from a wide variety of occupations. This validity procedure established which occupations tend to score high on which dimensions.

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 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.

Welcome to our personal values test!

Your job satisfaction depends upon how close this match is: your personal and your company’s organisational values.

Our Personal Values Assessment is available online here. Read these questions. Then rate each values question from 1-5:

Strongly DisagreeDisagreeNeither agree nor disagreeAgreeStrongly Agree

Personal Values Test sample question 1 –Success at work is of high value to me.

2 – My opinion is valued at work.

3 – I value the amount of recognition I receive at work.

4 – I respect the advice and opinion (on work matters) of my manager.

5 – My own goals align with the goals of most of my work colleagues.

6 – I value the time I spent with my team colleagues.

Values Assessment Interviewing

A values-based approach to interviewing typically involves:

  • Values,
  • Competency and
  • Technical questions – Collaborate with job incumbents to design technical questions / scoring guide.

Numerical Reasoning practice test book

Passing Numerical Reasoning Tests gif
Secondly, Passing Numerical Reasoning Tests book by Rob Williams

Our Assessment Toolkit

Strengths Assessment ~ Disability Assessment ~ Leadership Assessment ~ Situational Strengths ~  Intelligence Strengths Test

Personality Assessment Guide