Among all pre-employment psychometric assessments, personality tests are perhaps the most heard of, yet they are also the most misunderstood of all. As children or teenagers, many of us were exposed to the idea of personality testing via just-for-fun quizzes in magazines without any scientific evidence of their validity.
However, nowadays, in education and especially in early-career recruitment, personality tests are verified assessments developed from years of psychological studies, designed to aid employers in getting to know candidates and finding the right fit for their teams.
Examples of publishers of personality tests used during the application process:
If you have an online assessment coming up for your job application, here are five personality test myths debunked, to help you start on the right foot.
Myth #1 - They are like finding your astrological sign
They are nothing alike. While astrological insights are more spiritual, Personality Tests are backed by science, they are a product of behavioral and developmental psychology. Some of the most popularly used tests are based on studies like The Big Five Personality, Myers-Briggs Type Indicators, or Belbin‘s Team Roles. These tests were created from years of observations and findings via quantitative, qualitative, and longitudinal research across the globe; to determine some key traits all humans possess and the varying degree to which they employ these characteristics in different environments.
Myth #2 - Employers only want a certain personality type
Certain industries and job roles, of course, tend to attract certain types of people; due to the skills and attributes that are an absolute requirement to be able to complete key tasks. However, businesses understand the need for open-mindedness and individual differences within their teams to increase productivity and creativity; therefore, to say employers only look for a type is untrue. As a job applicant, your goal should be to ‘sell‘ your brand and show companies what they want, even if they have not yet had a clue.
Myth #3 - There is a secret timer
Personality tests often come with detailed instructions at the start to help candidates navigate the interface and understand the goal of the assessment in general. Both situational judgment tests and personality tests often state they do not have a time limit, and depending on the test publisher, the tests will either need to be completed all in one go, or you might be able to save your progress.
Candidates are always encouraged to stay in a distraction-free environment, to take their time, and to be thoughtful yet honest in their answers. If you are worried about being secretly timed and feel the need to speed up to ensure good performance, this should no longer be a concern. Employers would never time you without making this clear in advance, as this could be unethical.
Myth #4 - You must select the same answer when a similar question comes up
Personality test questions, as you may have noticed, sometimes repeat themselves with a little bit of rephrasing and new multiple-choice options for the same topic. This is because, in different environments or circumstances, people may choose to solve the same problem or approach the same idea in very different ways.
This design of personality tests, therefore, helps make the strength (or weakness) of your various traits somewhat quantifiable and thus, easier for employers to choose the most suitable employee among a huge pool of talented applicants.
Myth #5 - personality test results define you, as an employee
This could not be more wrong. Despite being super useful in making the hiring processes more efficient for many businesses, personality tests have their flaws, too. What you think you would do in response to a hypothetical situation described with words, can be hugely different from what you probably would have done to a real scenario right in front of you.
Thus, while personality test results and reports are tremendously helpful in guiding you towards the right career path; that‘s all they are, a guide, not a definition of who you are as a professional. So be sure to make use of these resources positively to grow in the world of work and do not let yourself get bogged down by the outcome of any psychometric assessment.