Personality test tips. People with question marks above their heads.

Personality Test Tips

Our focus here is on our personality test tips.

What are personality tests

what are personality tests.

Personality tests are 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.

Which personality traits for graduate management?

The most important traits for graduate management are team working, drive, powers of persuasion and influencing skills, emotional stability, agreeableness, leadership skills etc.

Passing personality tests

  • Firstly, employers are looking for certain personality traits in any role – as indicators of high job performance in key areas.
  • Secondly, 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.

Entrepreneurial personality traits

Big Five Personality Tests

Do you work well with others? If you’ve ever thought about this skill and want to know how well you execute it, then this personality test is for you. Big Five personality tests focus on how you work and how well you communicate with others. While it’s a tightly focused test, its results shouldn’t be scoffed at. It gives you insight into whether you should be in a job that has you communicating with others all the time or a loner that gets the job done by yourself.

Our free Personality Surveys may also help you

Firstly, How stressed are you feeling?

Secondly, How effective is your decision-making style?

Also, Find out your intelligence type

And, How Effective Are Your Time Management Skills?

Plus, Can you Coach Others?

Finally, How well-developed are your English writing skills.

SHL Personality Test Tips

As two of the most popular personality tests used by UK employers for development, OPQ and NEO practice is important to us.

OPQ personality test tips

NEO personality test tips

  • The OPQ has 32 personality traits grouped into categories such as Sociability, Influence and Thinking Style. For example, the Influence grouping of personality traits includes the personality traits of being Persuasive, Outspoken, Independent-Minded.
  • Check for a “faking scale” which for the OPQ personality test is called the Social Desirability scale. This measures how socially desirable your responses are. An example question with socially desirable responses, such as never lying, that everyone lies.
  • Thirdly, read each personality test question carefully and don’t lose your concentration before you reach the end of the personality test.
  • Check whether you will be doing either the ipsative or normative version. There are three main types of personality test: ipsative (forced-choice); normative; or nipsative (a mixture of normative and ipsative personality test format).
  • There are no time limits when completing such a personality questionnaire.
  • Finally, since this is a personality test, there are no right and wrong answers.

SHL psychometric tests practice

16PF5 Personality Test Tips

Please see all of our 16PF personality tips. The 16PF5 personality test is one of the best, but least used, personality tests.

Firstly, the 16PF5 has excellent supporting materials.

Secondly, there’s readily available personality test reports.

Thirdly, like the NEO personality questionnaire, it’sis based on academically rigorous factor analysis.

Points to remember when completing the 16PF5 personality test are:

  • There is a systematic model, based on factor analysis, behind the set of the 16PF5 personality questionnaire’s personality questions.
  • The 16PF5 profile and many of the 16PF5 personality test reports show the global personality factors. These   global personality factors are very similar to the NEO’s Big Five personality model: Extraversion/Introversion; Conscientiousness; Agreeableness; Openness to Experience and Neuroticism.

Other Pre-Hire Assessments Practice

If you’re currently applying for jobs, you’re likely to face psychometric testing. Both personality assessment and some of the most commonly used aptitude tests. These measures numerical, verbal and logical reasoning.

How you perform matters. Nearly 90 percent of companies said they would reject candidates if the test showed them to be deficient in basic skills, according to a survey by the American Management Association. 

Pre-employment tests

Companies use pre-employment tests to identify which candidates are most likely to perform well on the job, potentially saving time and cost in the recruitment process and decreasing employee turnover.
 
Employers may ask you to take a test – often delivered online at home – after you’ve made an initial application or may invite you to an assessment centre after a successful interview. 

Popular 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 year In particular, their leading personality tools:

  • firstly IBM Kenexa’s Occupational Personality Inventory (OPI)/Talent Profile and
  • secondly, their Rapid Personality Questionnaire (RPQ).

Saville Assessment or Willis Towers Watson (formerly Saville Consulting) has a very popular WAVE personality test.

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 position, 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.

The latest Big Five personality research

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

Work meeting

Personality research on the Big Five Model

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

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.

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.

Big Five personality 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.

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.

Big Five personality research

Psychometric fingerprint

There’s valuable information and insights that can be gleaned from ‘how’ a candidate plays a game or completes an assessment, such as their response time or the choices they make. In the past, assessing candidates was the equivalent of measuring footballers simply by the number of goals they score. Now, so much more information can be generated. For example, a footballer’s ‘heat map’ can show their movement on the pitch, whether they make productive runs, whether they track-back etc. A similar level of analysis is now possible in assessment.

Personality Test Tips

The vast number of data points that are now included in traditional, gamified and game-based assessments gives you more information to interpret, so you can make more accurate decisions about your candidates. Also, because the way each of us processes information and responds when we’re assessed is unique, it’s now possible to create a ‘psychometric fingerprint’ for each candidate. Knowing not only what score a candidate achieved but how they went about it can help you to prevent cheating and spot potential

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 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.

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.

Our psychometric practice tests

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Personality Test Tips