“This above all: to thine own self be true.” Although these words come from a Shakespearean play, they still ring true today — particularly when it comes to your career. Knowing yourself is the key to ensuring that you find a job, company and work environment in which you thrive. Understanding different characteristics like your working style, communication style, emotional intelligence and strengths and weaknesses will all help you find the path that’s right for you. One great way to explore these aspects of yourself? Take a personality test!
Below, we’ll describe why you should take a personality test and how it can help your career, as well as share a few different examples for you to try out yourself.
Why Take a Personality Test?
If you’re not already familiar with them, personality tests might seem like a strange concept — after all, don’t you already know yourself? But taking a personality test can uncover surprising new insights you may not have considered before. It’s not always easy to see ourselves in an objective light, and personality tests can assist in that arena. You could uncover hidden skills, passions, behaviors and more that you might not pick up on a day-to-day basis.
In addition, it’s worth noting that some employers make taking a personality test a mandatory part of the interview process.
“In the past decade or so, employers have become more concerned with culture fit. As a result, personality has become exponentially more important to hiring managers. Thus, a small but strong minority is very invested in using personality tests as part of their hiring process,” says Samantha O’Keefe of information technology recruiting company AVID Technical Resources.
Familiarizing yourself with personality tests beforehand will help you know what to expect if they ever come up as part of your job search. But make sure not to just answer based on what you think the company wants to hear — that's a guaranteed way to end up at a company that's not right for you!
How a Personality Test Can Benefit Your Career
There’s a lot you can do with the information gleaned from a personality test. For example, you can:
- Discover career paths suited to your personality and interests
- Determine areas of strength in order to help guide your job search, or provide you with fodder in interviews
- Identify weaknesses that you can improve on — key for professional growth and promotions
- Understand your work style in order to maximize productivity
- Recognize your communication style so that you can improve your working relationships with colleagues
Of course, these are just a few ideas. There’s no limit to how some additional self-awareness can assist you in your career!
Personality Test Examples
Ready to embark on your journey of self-discovery? Try out the following personality tests in order to gain a better understanding of who you are, both personally and professionally.
- Jungian Personality Test: Based on the famous Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, this quiz present you with statements like “I work best in a group or with others” and “I prefer to use logic and reason in my thinking first and foremost” and asks you whether you agree, somewhat agree or disagree with them.
- Leadership Style Test: Similar to the test above, this assessment from Psychology Today presents you with statements like “If I am in a leadership position, I state clearly the goals that others should be working towards” and “I break big projects down into smaller and more manageable steps” and asks you how much you agree or disagree with them. Later on, you are presented with a series of multiple-choice fill-in-the-blank questions. Ultimately, you are presented with an overview of your leadership style with the option to pay more for further insights.
- Communication Style Quiz: This short quiz from Glassdoor asks you a series of multiple-choice questions like “What’s something you’d never do when communicating in the workplace?” in order to determine which of the five most common communication styles you fit into, as well as tips for how to communicate better with your colleagues.
- Emotional Intelligence (EQ) Quiz: Move over, IQ — it’s all about EQ! This quiz, created by The Institute for Health and Human Potential, helps you analyze your behavior and personality by asking how much you agree with statements like “I air grievances skillfully” and “I do not become defensive when criticized.” Then, you’re told whether you have low, medium or high emotional intelligence, and provided with ideas on how you can improve.
- High5 Free Strengths Test: This tests, leveraged by companies all around the world, helps employees identify their greatest strengths by asking how much they agree or disagree with statements like “I lose interest quickly if I don’t get to learn new things” and “My friends describe me as 'A walking Wikipedia of Information.’” Then, it tells you what your top five strengths are and how you can best exercise them.
- DISC: This brief assessment from the Open-Source Psychometrics Project presents you with sixteen statements like “My first reaction to an idea is to see its flaws” and “I put people under pressure” and asks you how strongly you agree or disagree with them in order to assess the level of Dominance, Influence, Steadiness and Compliance in your personality.
These six personality tests are just a few of the many out there, though — feel free to search online for more!
Personality Test Next Steps
So now that you have a better understanding of your personality and work style, what exactly should you do? The answer is up to you, but you might consider:
- Reflecting on your results. Are there certain aspects of yourself that you would like to change? If so, how do you plan to do that?
- Discussing the results with your colleagues/manager/direct report(s) to provide them with better insight into who you are and how you operate
- Brainstorming how these insights might come into play throughout your career
If nothing else, you can keep these findings in mind on a daily basis to identify how and where they show up in your work (and in your life in general). Remember, knowledge is power!