Personality Testing and Job Interviews

By ciqmanager / September 8, 2010

By Martin Gibbons

It is very common for companies to ask candidates to finish a psychometric test. This might be a battery of tests that encompass, verbal reasoning, numeracy, problem solving, which can be legitimately called tests. Unusually however you cannot fail or pass a personality test.

sun-potteryIt is regular parlance to refer to career personality tests, yet personality unlike the others cannot be a pass fail scenario. A more correct name would be career personality assessment. We all have unique personalities, a cocktail of factors and none can be right or wrong.

There can be a right or wrong personality to fit a specific situation or job description. You could say for instance “You would be expected to work for long periods in isolation”. Some could do this and some would rather not.

An exact person who can identify solutions to difficult problems. It is clear that in this case the employer is not looking for someone with perfect interpersonal skills. From this example we can see that a very clear career personality will be compulsory to suit the demands of the job.

How to obtain the right career personality?

Most people worry about what a personality report may explain about them. Largely it is the unknown we fear, not the report itself. And most people do not ready correctly.

We develop for maths tests but not personality. Most things have a proper or wrong answer.

Personality tests can make people very uncomfortable.

There is a risk a prospect will try and contrive answers to strike the employer.

Say there was a sales post. The prospect may be tempted to try an appear extra outgoing and talkative when completing the questionnaire. There are two challenges with this technique.

1) Most questionnaires have mechanisms to spot contrivances.

The second is that it is not easy to second guess what the employer is looking for.

Supposing the sales job is selling a difficult product that needs someone who can grasp complex details and manage to explain the complexity to the purchaser, whom they may never meet, by producing short erudite reports. This would indeed be a different sales approach than that which required an extraverted outgoing person.

The organisation would not be looking for a stereotypical sales person. Instead they are looking for a person who can listen and look closely at details. They would decline the more outgoing personality. They may want good listeners rather than good talkers.

How to reply personality tests?

Honesty is the right attitude. Just be who you are. The organisation are not testing that applicants have a good or bad personality they are seeking a suitable suit personality for the job, or perhaps the organisation.

If for example team working was a vital aspect of the organisation´s success then they could be looking for a personality with strengths in this area.

You never really know what the company is after and the job description rarely is any apply at telling you.

Most job ads are designed by marketing departments so accuracy is not their precedence. So when an advert says “good comms required” that may not be the case.

How can this be interpreted?

Communications can be outgoing, so you need a chatty person. Someone who was outgoing and had no trouble speaking to strangers. Or the company may be looking for a candidate with great writing skills, where chatting is not really required.

These could be very unlike in terms of personality type. Best to just be honest. Your personality is like you height. It´s just the way you are.

For you to find the most fulfillment in a job it is best to find one that suits your personality. Being a bipolar scale, it is unlikely you would delight working in isolation if you are a chatty person. You would not last long in a job, no matter how well paid, if you had no one to whom you could talk on a regular basis.

If your personality was more introverted you would ideally need your own room and time with peace and smooth to think. There would be no point whatever in you applying for a position that meant you would be working in an open plan office. Its not a good surround for quiet pondering people.


Different thing that often vexes people who have completed psychometric questionnaires for job interviews is if the organisation does not share the results with them. This is not good practice yet it happens. You can importune upon seeing it but not sure that will help you land you the job.

The fact is that the questionnaire, if answered honestly will not show anything other than what you have actually told the organisation through your responses. Get your own report before you go. If you have been reliable then there will be no surprises for you. You will know what it says.

In the main however they are boiled down, this is what your profile will tell the interviewer.

If you do not get a job because of your personality then you should be pleased as there is a good opportunity you and the environment were not compatible. Why is this good? easy, something in your personality may not have gelled with the organisation or the particular job on offer.

You may just be the improper fit for the team and the present team has to be considered. If we go back to the examples given above, some jobs will be ideal for your personality and some you would hate with a vengeance. It is better for you and the company that you do not force the fit.

Even if you have the skills if your personality and the job doesn´t match then life could be difficult.

Companies use personality tests because they often hire people with the right skills but the wrong personality match and it seldomly works out.

More and more they are recognising that the right personality fit could be more vital than identifying the correct skills. Start Career Personality Test now.

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