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Free Online Practice & Tips for Pre-Employment Personality Assessment Tests – 2021

pre-employment personality test preparation

Because companies like Intel, Microsoft, Google, etc. have become so large, open positions attract hundreds of interested applicants, and HR departments simply don’t have the time to go through all of the resumes. That’s why many large businesses have started using personality tests as part of their hiring process.

Pre-employment personality tests help these hiring managers sort through a list of candidates quickly and effectively. Instead of spending hours if not days bent over a pile of cover letters that all look more or less the same anyway, they can compare a set of test results to see who’s most likely to share the company’s values and suit the company culture.

An employment personality test doesn’t replace a traditional interview, but it can help to eliminate many of the unqualified or unsuitable candidates. After all, if his test scores are far below average, he probably won’t be able to manage the tasks assigned to him during the day.

While it would be nice to meet each of the applicants in person, companies don’t have the time or money to conduct that many interviews for one position. Besides, in many cases, you can’t make an informed decision about an individual after only a short, not to mention quite formal, meeting. Plus, hiring managers find that their intuition can sometimes lead them astray when recruiting new employees.

Personality tests are designed to extract information from applicants about their habits, strengths, weaknesses, tendencies, and quirks. By focusing on a handful of personal traits, these assessments can ultimately provide employers with a more accurate profile than what they could assemble from a simple resume.

Below, we have everything you could possibly need to know about personality assessment questionnaires. We’ll discuss what these assessments are, how they work, what you should be doing to prepare, and, as a bonus, we’ll even include some free personality test questions and a sample personality test questions and answers pdf.

 

What Is a Personality Assessment Test?

There are dozens of different personality tests available today, but they all have the same basic structure and objectives. These tests, to put it very simply, evaluate your personality traits and display the results in a way that allows employers to compare profiles with the click of a button.

Why Would I Study for a Personality Test?

Most hopeful applicants assume that, since personality is innate, there’s no reason to prepare for a personality test. After all, if you can’t change your personality, at least not in any fundamental way, how would you alter the results?

There’s no answer key to go from, and if there was, wouldn’t it be somewhat self-evident? Work hard, communicate clearly, don’t cheat…. most people know what they should be doing even if they aren’t actually doing it.

So, why would you prepare for a psychometric personality test?

Well, would you prepare for a first date? A first date is a bit like a personality test. Your date will want to know that you’re charming, interesting, polite, and kind, and if you don’t meet up to her standards, you probably won’t get a second. There’s no playbook when it comes to dating, though it might be nice if there were, but you’d still want to be on your best behavior.

Preparing for a personality test is a bit like preparing for a first date. You’ll want to make sure you put your best foot forward. Your date knows that you’re not perfect–she’s not either. In fact, if she thought you had no flaws, she’d probably be a bit concerned.

She’ll want to get to know you a bit to see whether the two of you are a good match. Are you ambitious and competitive or relaxed and calm? Do you like intellectual debates? Maybe you have a great sense of humor. You’ll want to make sure that your best traits come out when you meet her.

Your prospective employers don’t have any romantic interests, but they do care about your personality nonetheless. Personality, along with intelligence, is one of the key predictors of professional success. While you need to know how to synthesize information and analyze data, for instance, your personal characteristics will largely determine how well you interact with supervisors, clientele, and other staff members.

Whether you’re manning the customer service desk or managing a team of employees, you’ll need to know how to cooperate, communicate, and coordinate with other individuals. Regardless of your role within a company, you’ll have to work with a team of people.

Like your date, your employer knows you have flaws, but he still wants to see how you relate to others and whether you’ll fit into the company culture.

 

But My Personality Isn’t Related to My Skills

That’s true. Your personality won’t affect how well you can write code, file taxes, or even, treat a patient. The hard skills that you learned in university are important, and your employer will hire you because you have these skills. Even if you’ve got a brilliant personality, no one will hire you if you cannot perform the duties the position requires.

That being said, your professional success depends upon more than just your talents and abilities.

You’ll also have to be diligent, open-minded, ambitious, responsible, and patient. You’ll have to know how to take criticism gracefully and keep your space and work organized.

There’s nothing worse than an immature, incapable employee.

Whether she arrives late, speaks disrespectfully to clientele, or fails to follow company protocol, she’s going to cause problems–even if she’s very talented. Employers do not want to deal with insubordinate employees, and they certainly don’t want to have to fire them and search for replacements.

Companies also want to know, whether you’re inclined for the role in the first place. They want to identify individuals who are naturally suited to a particular type of work because these people are more likely to enjoy the work and, as a result, are more likely to succeed.

When an HR manager posts the opening, he’ll specify what traits are important to him. Sometimes he’ll set these standards himself, and other times he’ll choose from a list of pre-determined profiles. When companies receive the applicants’ test results, they’ll be able to compare their scores with the standard.

Let’s take a look at the Five-Factor Personality Model. There are many pre-employment personality tests based on the “Big Five.” The Five-Factor Personality Model, originally designed by Robert McCrae and Paul Costa, attempts to classify personality types according to five broad categories of personality traits: openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism, sometimes abbreviated as O.C.E.A.N.

So, if a company is hiring a customer representative, for example, they’ll want someone who is sociable and easily liked. Anyone who works directly with customers needs to know how to work well with people. So, they’ll probably look for someone high in agreeableness and extraversion but low in neuroticism.

On the other hand, if a business decides to hire an executive or CEO, they’ll probably want to find someone who’s a little bit lower in agreeableness. People who are highly agreeable tend to be cooperative and will go out of their way to help others with their problems.

An executive, however, needs to know how to give orders, set standards, and negotiate with other professionals. A CEO shouldn’t be overly concerned with pleasing everyone around him. If he’s a pushover, he won’t be able to make any progress.

It’s difficult to tell much about someone’s personality from a five-minute interview, and even more difficult from a resume. So large companies with many positions to fill use personality tests to more easily identify candidates whose personalities more closely align with what is established as the ideal.

 

How Do I Prepare for a Personality Test?

So we know personality tests are important, but we still don’t know how to prepare for them. While personality tests do seem somewhat abstruse, they have a logic of their own. If you can make yourself more cognizant of the general philosophy used to write these tests, you’ll be more prepared to take them.

Personality tests, for the most part, are based off of trait theory. Trait theory assumes that personalities are made up of many singular traits. It goes on to state that you can analyze an individual’s personality by identifying the traits he exhibits or lacks.

These tests will ask you personality assessment questions designed to identify your strongest and weakest character traits and display that information graphically so that employers can easily compare different candidates. By presenting you with a situation and asking you to give your response or rate the intensity of your reaction, these assessments can ascribe quantitative values to various aspects of your personality.

The goal is to create an attractive, yet accurate personality profile. You’ll want to show prospective employers your assets without exaggerating your shortcomings. You’ll also need to convey a sense of stability without making it seem as if you’re hesitant or insecure.

The work personality test, in short, is a balancing act.

That is to say that you’ll want to take some time to evaluate your prominent character traits ahead of time, so you’ll know where to focus your efforts on the test itself.

If you are particularly extroverted, for example, then make that very clear. Essentially, you should make sure that you’re answering questions consistently. There are no wrong answers on a personality test, but you can sabotage your efforts if your results are incoherent.

 

So What Exactly Should I Do?

Sit down and write a list identifying three or four of your most prominent character traits. Then take some time to think of situations in which each of those qualities might express itself whether in a positive or negative way.

When you go on to answer practice questions, consider working on a single trait at a time. If you isolate character traits and work on them separately, you’ll start to understand better how the questions are written. Plus, you’ll be able to focus on perfecting your responses so your end results are more accurate.

Though you might be able to make a good guess, you cannot necessarily identify which traits a specific company will value. Plus, you won’t want to tailor your answers to fit what you assume is the ideal because your responses will likely seem disjointed. Besides, businesses have a genuine interest in learning about you and your unique character traits. They don’t want you to pretend you’re someone you’re not.

 

Do Personality Tests Actually Work?

Personality tests are not perfect, of course. You cannot expect to fully appreciate the complexity and subtlety of someone’s identity through a 30-minute evaluation. That being said, companies aren’t necessarily as invested in fully understanding your character as they are in assessing you professionally.

In other words, prospective employers know that while you’re at home or with your friends you’re often inconsistent, contradictory, and emotionally vulnerable. They also know that you don’t hold the same standards for yourself at home that you do while at work.

That’s okay.

These tests are in place for a few key reasons, and in these ways, they do provide hiring managers with very useful information.

  1. Are You Too Intense?
    Violently emotional employees with extreme tendencies often prove to be destructive in an office setting. Whether they’re overly fastidious or always find themselves at the heart of office dramas, these individuals cause their supervisors unneeded stress.
    Those who live on the extremes tend to disturb the delicate scheme of truces and compromises that unite various departments of successfully run organizations.
    While those with intense personalities may contain the conviction and drive to accomplish great things, they’re typically too unpredictable and uncooperative to contribute in any consistent, productive way. There are always exceptions, but employers usually try their best to avoid these individuals because the risk they pose to the company is just too high.
  2. Are You Too Boring?
    Ironically, middling results can be just as alarming as dramatic ones. To an exceptionally passionate, invested employer, someone who is unusually uninteresting presents just as great a hazard as someone intense.
    In other words, someone drab, lifeless, unengaged, and uninterested, probably won’t be productive and certainly won’t be proactive. Though they’ll complete their assignments without too many complaints, they won’t go out of their way to impress their superiors, and they won’t actively search for ways to contribute to company initiatives. Not only do they rely on their supervisor’s approval to take action, but they also doubt their own abilities.
    Businesses pour an enormous amount of resources into hiring, training, and sustaining their staff members. Hard-working, dedicated employees, can make an enormous difference to a company’s bottom line. In fact, unproductive employees can cost large organizations hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years.
    Though apathetic employees may not actively go out of their way to stir up trouble, they’ll gradually help to erode the company’s culture and reduce productivity levels.
  3. Are You Who You Say You Are?
    Even if they don’t intentionally exaggerate or completely invent sections of their cover letters, most job-seekers will leave out relevant information and downplay unflattering details. Unfortunately, even honest applicants will conceal behaviors and hide their motivations especially in today’s world in which resumes are littered with cliches and buzzwords, which are more and more common and less and less meaningful.
    Personality aptitude tests help to reveal inconsistencies and infelicities that employers may not notice in an interview, particularly if the applicant is socially adept. While the questions on a personality test may not expose sensitive details, the information may nonetheless be significant to an employer.
    It’s much more difficult to lie on a personality test because the questions are far more subtle. Though some personality exam questions are quite obviously written to evaluate whether or not you’ll adhere to basic moral guidelines, the majority are rather sophisticated.
  4. What Is Your Dark Side?
    The dark side refers to the character traits that, while typically beneficial, can prove extremely destructive if left unchecked. These qualities help strong personalities to pull ahead, affect positive growth, and implement structural changes.
    However, these qualities also embolden leaders to exploit their power, abuse their employees, and jealously guard their authority. Ambition, aggression, confidence, cunning, and determination, while crucial to any supervisor, might nonetheless turn an inspirational leader into a spiteful dictator.
    Personality tests are often given to individuals applying to high-level executive positions. Senior advisors and managers can have an enormous impact on an organization, and it’s crucial that they know how to behave themselves properly, check their negative emotions, and hold themselves to high professional standards.
    However, as the saying goes, “Absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Power can quickly go to your head regardless of how scrupulous you are. In testing for these potentially dangerous characteristics, businesses hope to minimize power struggles across the board.

 

Personality Test Tips:

Personality tests for jobs may not be a perfect science, but you can take proactive steps to improve your chances of success. The more you know about the methodology, the better you’ll be able to control your results.

Here are some of our best tips for taking pre-employment personality assessments.

  1. Practice Identifying Traits and Classifying Personality Questions:
    If you scroll through the questions absentmindedly responding to one after another, you’ll have a harder time tailoring your answers to fit a specific profile. The first step in preparing for a personality exam is to force yourself to pay careful attention to the way the questions are worded.
    Practice classifying each of the questions as you answer them. The more precisely you can categorize each question, the more accurately you can respond to it.
  2. Focus On Fewer Traits:
    There is no one alive who has every personality trait. Even an exceptional individual will demonstrate certain qualities at the expense of others. Not necessarily because he lacks certain values or abilities, but simply because he chose to focus on specific aspects of his character rather than others.
    Personalities are defined not only by the traits they do contain but also by the ones they do not. If someone’s extroverted, they won’t be introverted, for example. If someone’s emotional, creative, and spontaneous, chances are they’ll be somewhat less regimented, methodical, and orderly.
    As you attempt to build a particular profile, try to focus on a few strengths rather than a slew of semi-related attributes. Remember, the more clearly you can communicate what you can offer a company, the easier the manager’s decision will be.
  3. Some Questions are Not Up For Interpretation:
    While technically there are no wrong answers on a personality test for recruitment–after all, there’s no answer key–not every question can be interpreted freely. If you receive questions like the ones below, you should always answer “Strongly Agree.” Most of these should be self-evident, but in case you were unsure, you should take note.

    • People are naturally honest.
    • People rarely steal at work.
    • I hardly ever wonder whether I’m performing my job well.
    • The majority of people can be trusted.
    • I don’t remember ever losing my temper during working hours.

    On the other hand, if you spot questions like these, you should quickly mark down “Strongly Disagree.”

    • The majority of people should not be trusted.
    • I am occasionally concerned that office politics might cause me to lose my job.
    • I am sometimes annoyed by my co-workers.
    • It’s part of human nature to steal from others.
    • Sometimes I’m overwhelmed by my work responsibilities.
  4. Don’t Take It Too Personally:
    Be careful not to take the test too personally. After all, it’s still a test, and you’ll still receive an official score. You’re not encouraged to reveal strange habits and personality quirks. Instead, try to remove yourself from the equation and see the entire ordeal more objectively.
    Make sure to keep the psychometric test for employment in perspective. This is less of an in-depth psychological evaluation and more of a behavioral assessment. Remember, just because you may get irritated with your co-workers, or at least certain co-workers, on a somewhat regular basis, you don’t necessarily have to act out of that frustration.
    While you can’t always control your emotions, you are responsible for regulating your reactions. Thankfully, your behavior defines who you are much more profoundly than your emotions or even your thoughts. You’ll want to portray yourself as measured, conscientious, and self-aware as you are when you’re on your best behavior.
  5. Make Sure You Can Justify Each of Your Responses:
    In many cases, the software that generates the test results will print interview questions at the bottom of each score report. The program will select personality profile test questions whose answers either seemed bizarre or somehow compelling, and print those on the bottom for hiring managers to ask about during interviews.
    So, pay careful attention as you answer each question and make sure you have a good reason for choosing your answer and ideally a story or example to support it.

 

Here Is a List of Common Job Personality Tests:

Big Five Personality Tests:

Based on the Five-Factor Personality Model, the Big Five personality tests include the NEO, 16PF, Big Five Inventory, Wonderlic, Hogan HDS, and Caliper Personality Inventory (CPI) among others. They measure openness, conscientiousness, eagerness, agreeableness, and neuroticism.

16 Personality Factor Test:

The 16 Personality Factor Test is based of the Big Five Model but uses 16 character traits to evaluate problem-solving skills, stress management, work style, productivity, interpersonal skills, and learning methods. This psychometric test will also suggest suitable careers that correspond with your test results.

California Psychological Inventory Test:

The California Psychological Inventory, abbreviated as CPI, helps employers to better recruit individuals who can take on leadership roles within the company.

Culture Fit Test

This test is designed to help businesses determine whether a specific applicant will contribute positively to the company’s culture. By assessing candidates’ beliefs, opinions, and values, the exam determines whether they’re suitable or not.

DiSC Personality Inventory

This online assessment ranges between 12 and 30 questions and helps to develop a profile for each candidate based on four main traits: dominant, influential, steady, and compliant. The DiSC Personality Inventory will ascribe one of these personality types to each candidate and use those results to determine how well suited they are for a particular job.

Gallup’s StrengthsFinder Personality Test:

This exam helps to identify five of an individual’s strongest character traits out of a total 34 qualities by asking them to match up a series of sentence pairs. Read more about the Gallup StengthsFinder Test.

Integrity Test:

This test evaluates how honest, trustworthy, and reliable applicants are. With a series of rather subtle questions, the Integrity Test helps employers assess an individual’s attitude toward dishonesty and theft, especially in the workplace.

Kolbe Personality Test:

The Kolbe Personality Test is a unique test that allows for customization. Supervisors will take one test and applicants will take another. The candidates whose scores most closely match up with those of the position’s supervisor will move on to the next round of interviews.

Leadership Assessment Test:

There are a variety of different leadership assessments designed to help companies identify strong managers and supervisors. These tests will evaluate how well you manage your emotions, communicate with other staff members, make decisions with or without a great deal of information, and direct other individuals.

Management Personality Tests:

You’ll take a management personality test when you’re moving into a supervisory position. These tests will measure your naivete, adaptability, decisiveness, empathy, and ambition among other qualities.

Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory:

The MMPI is used to detect abnormal behavior and psychological issues among individuals applying for high-risk jobs, such as in aviation or the police force.

NEO Personality Inventory:

The NEO Personality Inventory measures the Big Five personality traits and their six sub-categories. Designed by Paul Costa and Robert McCrae, the theory’s inventors, this test is one of the oldest psychometric exams based on the Five-Factor Model.

PAPI 3:

The Personality and Preference Inventory was created by Cubik’s and is used to measure 22 facets of personality in seven fundamental areas, all of which are linked to the Big Five.

Predictive Index Behavioral Assessment:

The Predictive Index measures workplace performance according to six different metrics including dominance, patience, formality, extraversion, decision-making, and stamina level.

Sales Personality Test:

On a sales personality test like the StrengthsFinder or the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, you’ll be asked a series of multiple-choice, scaled, and true/false questions. According to research, successful salesmen are typically conscientious, goal-oriented, modest, competitive, unselfconscious, optimistic, modest, and somewhat restrained.

Sigma Personality Assessment Test:

Sigma Assessment Systems is a test company that administers a series of psychometric exams based on the Five-Factor Model including NEO, MEIA, and Jackson, among others.

SHL OPQ Personality Test:

The Occupational Personality Questionnaire, also known as the OPQ32, is distributed by CEB SHL Talent Management and is designed to assess how someone’s personality will affect his performance at work. This highly complex exam contains 104 questions that measure 32 specific character traits.

TTI Success Insights Personality Test:

TTI Success Insights offers a few different personality assessments created to help companies identify top talent. These exams evaluate everything from leadership skills to teamwork, salesmanship, motivation, and stress management.

Winslow Personality Test:

The Winslow Personality Test focuses on 24 different character traits divided into four categories: sociability, dedication, organization, and self-control. Used to screen applicants, give promotions, and assess employee performance, this exam helps employers to assess applicants holistically.

Birkman Method Personality Test:

The Birkman Method Personality Test is a self-assessment tool, that helps provide insight into the strengths, weaknesses, and motivations of an individual. Developed by Roger Birkman, a pioneer in the field of organizational psychology, this test is widely used in many industries.

Prevue Personality Assessment:

The Preview Personality Assessment uses personality traits to compare job candidates to a benchmark model. This test is used to predict future success and compatibility with the role, resulting in better employee retention and a more positive work environment.

Bell Personality Profile:

Bell provides a 360-degree personality profile based on the 6 major personality traits, and the 8 dimensions of leadership. It also takes into account the viewpoint of your friends and acquaintances in building a profile.

Mcquaig Word Survey:

The Mcquaig Word Survey predicts how you will behave in the future based on your current behavior. It measures six personality traits to develop a profile to predict job success, and help employers prepare for interviews.

Talent-Q’s Dimensions Personality assessment:

The Talent Q Dimensions test by Korn Ferry uses 3 dimensions made up of 5 separate qualities to measure your personality. They also use 45 sub-indicators to provide further detail.

 

Our Personality Guide:

Below you’ll find a chart showing the Big Five personality traits. Because the Five-Factor Model is so prevalent in psychometric testing, we thought we’d take a second to lay out each of the character traits in a way that’s easy to understand. Make sure to keep this in mind when taking our free personality psychometric test.

 

Openness:

High Low
Creative Predictable
Imaginative Deliberate
Adventurous Organized
Spontaneous Practical

 

Conscientious:

High Low
Goal-Oriented Carefree
Diligent Relaxed
Detail-Oriented Laid-Back
Meticulous Flexible
Ambitious Informal
Hard-Working
Dependable

 

Extraversion:

High Low
Sociable Quiet
Outgoing Independent
Talkative Thoughtful
Friendly Introspective
Restrained

 

Agreeable:

High Low
Considerate Assertive
Helpful Demanding
Kind Stubborn
Giving Self-Assured
Willing to compromise Emphatic

 

Neurotic:

High Low
Easily Stressed Easy-Going
Anxious Optimistic
Pessimistic Carefree
Emotional Calm

 

5 Personality Profile Sample Questions:

Select 1-5 to mark your choice according to the options below:

  1. Strongly Agree
  2. Agree
  3. Neutral
  4. Disagree
  5. Strongly Disagree
  1. I prefer to always stick to a familiar routine.
  2. I set clear goals and work toward them diligently until I achieve them.
  3. I love meeting new people, and I make friends easily.
  4. I can become easily flustered or overwhelmed.
  5. I’m always willing to compromise to make someone happy.

 

Answers:

  1. This question refers to how open you are. Are you creative and free-spirited, or are you practical and conservative? Do you spend your time exploring new ideas, or do you stick with what you know?
  2. How conscientious are you? Do you set very high standards for yourself, or are you more carefree?
  3. Are you extroverted or introverted?
  4. Do you allow your negative emotions to get the best of you? How often do you suffer from stress and anxiety? This question is related to neuroticism.
  5. How agreeable are you? Do you tend to look for compromises right away, or do you stick up for yourself and fight for your opinions?

 

For more practice download our free personality PDF test.

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