A Primer on Personality Profile Tests

At your next job interviews, you may be asked to take personality profile tests, which help your hopeful future employer determine if your personality matches the jobs that you are applying for. These tests are used by over a third of employers today. They designed to gauge your personality as it applies to the job that you are seeking. Studies have shown that employers who use these tests are more likely to find a successful candidate, rather than relying on the results of job interviews alone.

There are many different standardized personality tests that could be issued to you by an employer. In addition, the employer may also use a custom written, in-house developed test. However, most employers typically use standardized tests when appropriate. Let's take a look at some of the more common standardized tests, and what they mean to you.

Minnesota Multiphase Personality Inventory

The Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory, or MMPI, is a test that is more commonly associated with testing mental health. However, many employers use this test as a pre-employment screening method. The second revision of the MMPI is more commonly used today, and consists of 567 questions, which involve a true or false response. Test time varies, but usually takes between 1 and 2 hours to complete. At the end of this test, your employer will mainly know how well you relate to people, and whether or not you may have any anxiety problems. In addition, the MMPI also contains a built-in lie detector, which tries to detect if you are “faking” the test, or trying to trick the test into giving a false result.

Career Style Test

The Career Style Test focuses on your personality (specifically what you enjoy doing the most), to find a career or job that is best suited for you. Containing over 348 questions, this test is extremely detailed. An employer will most likely issue you this test if they have multiple positions open within the company (and are trying to determine which position best suits your personality). The questions themselves consist of a statement, and then you score the statement from 1-5. One represents an idea or statement that least interests you, whereas 5 represents an idea that interests you the most. The Career Style Test is in use by only a handful of employers today, typically only to determine which job opening within the company would best suit your personality.

Custom Personality Profile Tests

Custom written personality profile tests are your worst enemy at a hopeful future employer. Since they are custom written, there are no practice tests available, and they often vary in length. However, custom personality tests are usually less than an hour long, and are fine-tuned to the industry that the employer specializes in.

Now that you know more about the many types of personality profile tests available, you can confidently sit down at an employer's office and take the test.

Although the tests may say that there are no wrong answers to the questions, there very well may be answers that would mean disqualification from a particular position. Sometimes, it is in common use for some people to trick the personality test by giving false answers- this should be avoided.

Since tests such as the MMPI contain a form of lie detection, this could only mean losing the chance at your dream job. Instead, be completely true with your answers. After all, if your test results state that you are not the best candidate for the job, then you probably aren't. If you receive bad news on a personality profile test, consider that a good opportunity to look for work in a field that better matches your personality.

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