Personality types / Personality tips

Our current focus is on personality types.

Personality types – psychometric insights

There’s valuable insights from ‘how’ a candidate plays a game or completes an assessment. For example, their response time or the choices they make.

Firstly, traditional assessment counts points scored. Secondly, new assessments like work style and game based assessment collect many more data points. Thus providing so much more information to interpret.

Knowing not only what score a candidate achieved but how they went about it can help you to prevent cheating and spot potential.

PERSONALITY TYPE

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 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

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Secondly, Passing Numerical Reasoning Tests book by Rob Williams

Our Assessment Toolkit

Strengths Assessment ~ Disability Assessment ~ Leadership Assessment ~ Situational Strengths ~  Intelligence Strengths Test ~ Skills test design / Psychometric ~ Assessment standards ~ Competency Design ~ Realistic Job Preview Design.

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