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What are personality tests and what are they used for?

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A personality test is a tool used to identify a person’s personality. These tests refer to methods designed to measure the characteristic items of the traits exhibited by people in different situations. Personality tests can be used to clarify clinical diagnoses, guide therapeutic interventions, and help define how people may act in different situations, an indispensable factor in personnel selection processes.

Personality is something that is present in our daily lives, when we talk about ourselves and others, we are referring to characteristics of a person’s character and way of being, so it is personality that guides human behavior in an environment and makes it so important in getting to know the suitability of a candidate in detail.

What is a personality test?

A personality test is a tool commonly used by organizations to better understand an employee’s personality, character, way of thinking, etc. It is also an excellent predictor in recruitment processes and is very useful for obtaining relevant information for hiring a candidate. The most suitable personality tests for hiring processes are:

In addition to measuring the personality of each candidate, these tests seek to relate their behavior in different work environments that may arise and also provide information on a person’s interpersonal, communication and cognitive skills.”

Types of personality tests.

There are two types of personality tests: self-report inventories and projective tests.

Self-report inventories involve the evaluated individuals reading the questions and then rating to what extent the questions or statements apply to them. A common example of a self-report inventory is the Full Personality Inventory.

Projective tests present the evaluated individuals with certain scenes, sample environments or situations and ask them to give an interpretation of them to understand how each candidate would act.

The main advantage of self-report inventories is the ability to standardize and use established norms. Self-report is also relatively easy to administer and has greater reliability and validity than projective tests.

How to implement personality tests?

Personality tests measure factors such as motivation, temperament traits, emotional stability, social skills, and more. There are many types of tests, but one of the most widely used in the human resources field is the Personality Factor Survey, or 16 PF personality test, created in 1993 by British psychologist Raymond Cattell.

Once a test has been selected for application, it is presented to the candidate on paper or through a digital device. The test includes questions or statements that must be answered with options A, B, or C. For example, some of the items you may encounter may be:

  • Sometimes I don’t get along with people because my way of thinking is inappropriate and unusual.
  • I usually go to bed satisfied with my day.
  • When it comes to building or doing something, I prefer to work.

These alternatives are answered with true or false or other specific responses such as “almost never”, “often”, “always”, etc. Once the responses are collected, the results must be evaluated and analyzed to determine in which general dimension of personality the candidate falls. Evaluators can even score responses automatically. Then, the score for each item must be calculated to obtain the final report of the test. This analysis allows determining whether a person is suitable for a specific position and if they are able to perform the functions of the position.

In conclusion, knowing a candidate’s personality is essential for optimizing personnel selection decisions and not just focusing on academic or professional aspects. Being immersed in an organization involves more than that, so it is essential to know and use this type of evaluation in hiring processes.