Whether it’s Myers-Briggs or Buzzfeed Quiz, personality tests have gone from the psychologist’s couch to internet famous.
With all the options out there, chances are you’ve taken the bait and completed at least one personality test. Taken more than one? It’s equally likely you’ve gotten different or conflicting results.
So, what gives?
Like a lot of assessment tools, these tests vary in quality and effectiveness. For job seekers, personality tests can be a valuable addition to your toolbox — provided you know how to use them.
How to use personality test results
First of all, forget the name. These are assessment tools, not “tests.” There are no right or wrong answers any more than there are right or wrong personality types.
Instead, view the whole activity as a way to think about your career goals and skills, especially the soft skills that are increasingly important to employers.
Try this step-by-step approach: · Take three to five assessments. Start with reputable free and online assessments, and answer the questions honestly. By taking multiple tests — some are as little as five minutes — you can compare results. Look for themes and toss out conclusions that don’t fit with the rest.
· Match results with potential career paths. If you consistently score as an extrovert, consider job opportunities that best match your outgoing personality. You may perform well in positions like sales and customer service, where you can use your people skills every day. You’ll be happier in roles that match your temperament and strengths.
· Use what you learn to create a professional development plan. Having a better understanding of yourself can help you identify skills you’d like to develop or strengths you can use more effectively. Flip the example above and imagine you’re an introvert who wants to work in sales. Your results could help you create strategies to improve your interpersonal skills in a way you’re comfortable.
How employers use personality tests
Forbes reports that businesses are increasingly using personality assessments in two areas: hiring and employee development. Being familiar with the format and the types of questions on these assessments can help you give accurate responses that tell an employer you’re a good fit for the position.
Even if you don’t encounter personality assessments in your job search, the three-step process outlined above can help you overcome another hiring hurdle: interviews. Interview questions often resemble personality assessments because they help determine similar things:
· How well do you collaborate?
· Are you a team player?
· What’s your communication style?
· How do you respond to feedback?
· Are you an extrovert or an introvert?
Being prepared to answer these questions in the often-stressful interview setting can work to your advantage. And knowing what your potential employer finds valuable can give you an idea of how you’ll fit into the workplace culture; after all, an interview is about what you want as much as what an employer wants.
Personality tests and contract work
Contract work provides an ideal way to test what you’ve learned from the assessment process.
Whatever your results indicate, finding a short-term assignment in an area that matches your identified strengths is a great way to test the waters. You’ll add to your resume and discover potential career paths at the same time.
And you don’t have to go it alone.
Good recruiters will go beyond your resume to discover what makes you a good fit for a position. Make a point to share the results of your assessments, which will let your recruiter know you’re serious about your job search — and committed to professional development.
Keep things in perspective
Personality assessments are just one tool to enhance your job search. Use them to help identify the career paths and employers that best fit who you are now and where you want to be in the future. And while you’re at it, maybe even uncover your inner Disney Princess or Spirit Animal.