No matter how far you get in your career, some things from school and university will always be there. This post looks at why personality tests matter to your career.
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Like many of you are probably thinking right now, when I graduated, the thing I was most looking forward to, apart from getting a degree and a job, was never having to submit an assignment or sit a test again. As I close in on a decade since my graduation, unfortunately, I can confirm assignments do continue after education, they just go by different names: reports, projects, campaigns, etc.
In the short-term however, it might seem like you’re not going to have to sit any more tests.
Increasingly, tests to determine personality types and profiles are being used as part of the employment process. While not your typical academic examination, the results of personality tests can be just as important for your career, if not more so, than your academic capabilities.
So what are they?
Personality tests are usually questionnaires which ask you to self-assess your values and goals and help to determine your personality. Most ask you to place a value onto a statement such as “I enjoy going out to social events”, and use your responses to profile you.
Many of you may have heard of terms such as introverted and extroverted personality types, however, those form only one part of most modern personality tests. Tests such as the Jung Typology and the Myers-Brigg Type Indicator (MBTI), provide multiple personality types across several traits, including introversion and extroversion.
The MBTI test, based on Carl Jung’s theories, for example, has four dichotomies which look at your preferences for:
- How you get your energy – extroversion or introversion
- How you take in information – sensing or intuition
- How you make decisions – thinking or feeling
- How you live your outer life – judging or perceiving
Once completed, your responses provide one of 16 possible personality types, usually displayed as the first letter of your preferred dichotomy (intuition is expressed as an N to avoid confusion with introversion). Barrack Obama, for example, is an ENFJ.
Now, I’ve seen some students complete a personality test and get upset with their result, so it’s important to note, personality types only list your preferences and aren’t a perfect reflection of who you are as a person. Sometimes you might have a bad day and prefer to be alone, despite being listed as extroverted. I am slightly more intuitive than observant (by a factor of less than 10%), so depending on the situation, I will choose one over the other. Some of you are probably the same.
That said they are a good indicator of your general personality.
The good and the bad
The good news about personality tests, as you’ve probably already gathered, is there are no right or wrong answers. The bad news is: actually, there kind of are right and wrong answers.
Before I go any further, I’d like to clarify by saying I very deliberately chose the words good and bad, right and wrong to highlight an important point. Just like your actual personality is much more nuanced than a personality test can record, success is significantly more nuanced than right or wrong.
The reason more and more employers are beginning to use personality tests when hiring is because they want to understand how prospective employees will fit in their organisation. Believe me, it’s important to know. A candidate might have a preference for evidence-based reasoning and apply for a job in a workplace that relies on emotional reasoning. That’s a set up for a personality clash.
Personality clashes have no winners. Even if you are far-and-away the most qualified candidate for your dream job, it will very quickly become a nightmare job if you aren’t a good organisational fit. While your responses were wrong for that workplace, ultimately, they were right you.
Interested in learning more? Take our employability test! Not only will you learn more about your personality type, you’ll also find out more about your strengths and weaknesses in other traits, such as soft skills. You might even discover you’ve got some skills you didn’t realise you had. Discover more about what makes you the next successful graduate today!
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