Personality Tests: A Job Seeker’s Secret Weapon?

Job seekers face a number of different challenges in navigating to a new role: lengthy interview processes, repeated rejections, and competitive markets can leave job seekers feeling stressed and even defeated. While many organizations use personality tests like DISC and Myers-Briggs with their employees, many job seekers are also turning to personality tests to get a leg up in their job search.

Key takeaways:

These tests can have many benefits in helping job seekers move to their next role, but they also have some drawbacks. In this article, we’ll review these pros and cons and give a breakdown of the most common personality tests job seekers can consider using.

Benefits of personality tests

There are many benefits to using personality tests in a job search.

Better self-awareness

Personality assessments can help people better understand their strengths, weaknesses, and interests. This self-awareness can be valuable in the job search process, giving them added insight in the types of roles and companies they might want to pursue. This insight can also help job seekers identify areas where they have room for growth and development.

Communicating strengths

This self-awareness can also help job seekers better articulate their strengths, skills, and communication styles in their job applications and interviews. This can help them better tell their story in interviews and even stand out from other candidates and demonstrate their self-awareness and willingness to grow.

Finding the best fit

One of the biggest benefits of personality tests for job seekers is that they can help applicants be more discerning during the application and interview process, taking care to identify a good match between their work style and the company’s work environment. By knowing their preferences, values, and work style, job seekers can make more informed decisions about which jobs and employers to target, leading to greater job satisfaction and career fulfillment.

Drawbacks of personality tests

While they can be useful as a tool to build self-awareness, personality tests do also have some important drawbacks.

Lack of scientific backing

One of the biggest downsides to many personality tests is their lack of accuracy and validity. Many of the personality tests that are most commonly used in industry don’t have the same scientific backing as those used in research. For example, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator was not developed by psychologists, lacks quality scientific evidence, and is generally regarded as pseudoscience.

Potential for employer discrimination

There is also a potential that employers may misuse these assessments in the hiring process, leading to potential discrimination or stereotyping. Research has shown that these tests are a poor measure of a job candidate’s ability to perform in the role, making them less useful in job screening.

Constrained thinking

When used appropriately, personality tests can expand a job seeker’s understanding of themselves. However, sometimes a personality test can have the opposite effect, creating a narrow or rigid view of one’s identity. Overly relying on the results of personality test to define or label a person can constrain thinking and limit the opportunities that someone pursues as a result.

Top personality tests for job seekers

Despite their limitations, when used appropriately, personality tests can help job seekers better understand their strengths, interests, and skills. The most common personality tests that job seekers can consider are described in further detail below.

DISC assessment

The DISC assessment is a widely used personality test that measures four key dimensions of personality: dominance, influence, steadiness, and conscientiousness. The DISC assessment can give job seekers insight into their communication and work style, helping them to identify the types of work environments and work cultures that are best suited for them.

StrengthsFinder

The StrengthsFinder test is designed to identify an individual's unique strengths and talents. The test measures 34 different strengths, including strategic thinking, empathy, and relationship building. The results of the StrengthsFinder test can give job seekers insight into the types of jobs and careers that they are best suited for, and can also help them to develop their strengths in the workplace.

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is a well-known personality test that categorizes individuals into 16 distinct personality types based on four dimensions: extraversion vs. introversion, sensing vs. intuition, thinking vs. feeling, and judging vs. perceiving. The MBTI can be used by job seekers to gain insight into their personal preferences, values, and tendencies, and to identify the types of work environments and careers that are best suited for them. As mentioned above, the MBTI lacks scientific backing, but it can still be a useful tool for introspection with an understanding of this limitation.

Enneagram

The Enneagram is a personality system that categorizes individuals into nine distinct types, each with its own unique set of traits and tendencies. Job seekers may consider taking the Enneagram test to gain insight into their personal motivations, values, and tendencies, which can help determine the types of work environments and careers that they would thrive best in. The Enneagram test can also help job seekers better understand their interpersonal dynamics and communication style, which can be valuable in both their personal and professional lives.

Personality tests can be a valuable resource for job seekers, but they should be used in conjunction with other tools and resources, such as career counseling, self-reflection, and ongoing exploration. By taking a holistic approach to career development, individuals can gain a comprehensive understanding of their unique strengths, motivations, and potential, and can find the career path that is right for them.



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Comments

LAB716
prefix 10 months ago
Employers are playing with fire when requiring personality tests. They're opening themselves to ADA discrimination lawsuits. If a person has a mental illness, personality tests will not work. They aren't categorically discriminatory, but they must pay *very* close attention to the questions that are asked. Even questions that seem very harmless can be found discriminatory, such as “I find it easy to make new friends" (social anxiety disorder); “I often experience mood changes" (bipolar disorder); “I’m consistently energized throughout the day" (also bipolar disorder); and “I’m not easily distracted while working" (ADHD).
The reason is because questions may not be influenced by your personality and moreso by the illness on any given day. As someone who indeed has mental illness, I can tell you that every single time I've taken the Meyers-Brigg test, I get a different answer. I strongly agree with a statement one day, yet strongly disagree on another. Simply put - we have no clue how to answer the question. Now, before anyone says that you could just explain to the employer why you do not want to take the test... keep in mind that people have the legal right not to disclose any illness or disorder. While an employer may not want to hire someone who has one of these disorders, the law is clear: too bad. It's not the employer's right to know.

If I were to be asked to do a personality test for a job, I will not take the test and end the interview I suppose. Then, I will find an employment attorney and the company can expect to be served with a big fat lawsuit. And it's not that difficult to acquire evidence - it's called a subpoena and witness testimony under oath.