The Personality Test and You

Many companies expect job applicants to take a personality test as a part of the hiring process.  Depending on the nature of the business, the personality test is designed to determine if you are suitable for the position.  The truth of the matter is job applicants should always answer questions honestly.  It is hard to assess what the expectations are for the job applicant. Sales positions, for instances, require a candidate to be extroverted and somewhat aggressive.  The questions are rarely straightforward and neither are the answers.

Most of the personality tests are designed by psychologists and in a subtle way, will finesse the truth about certain personality traits.  Applicants will, in all probability, try to answer the questions according to what they think the employer wants to hear.  It is not likely that a job applicant with a serious personality flaw is going to admit that on personality tests if they are trying to land their dream job. Moreover, test makers say a single answer holds little meaning in its own right and must be weighed alongside a series of other responses. For the best predictive results, companies often find out what traits their high performers display, and then test for those characteristics.  Unlike many other tests, there really are not right and wrong answers in personality tests. With that said, some thoughtful responses can help move you to the head of the pack.

Some of the questions will likely ask about your work ethic: Are you willing to stay late to finish a project? How do you balance your personal time and work time? What is your work style? Are you a morning or a night person? Make it clear that you are dedicated and devoted to your job and willing to pitch in during particularly busy times.

Some of the questions will also probe deeper into your basic personality: Do you like being the center of attention? Do you prefer hanging out with a large group of people or staying in with just one or two friends? What do you like to do in your free time? Keep the position in mind and then show that you have the particular set of skills for that job.

There are personality tests designed to see how a job applicant handles stress or if a candidate angers too easily.  Some will even ask for honesty as to whether or not a job applicant has had an occasion to lie on the job.

At the end of the process, you should feel like you shared the best and most authentic version of yourself, told the truth, focused on the job at hand and did your best. While you can’t “beat” a personality test, you can be prepared for one.

Morrow, Megan Peterson. “How to Pass Personality Test for Job Interview.”  Demand Media, 18 Dec. 2009. Web. 28 Oct.     2012.

Korn, Melissa. “True or False: These Tests Can Tell If You Are Right for This Job.” The Journal Report: Leadership in Human Resources. Wall Street Journal, 29 Oct. 2012. Web. 29 Oct. 2012.


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