What’s in a name? Test – psychometric test – inventory – questionnaire – psychological survey – instrument.
All of these terms are used to describe a series of questions to designed to help measure knowledge, skills, aptitudes, behaviours, attitudes and personality traits.
Lay people often use the word ‘test’ when referring to personality assessments, however they are more likely to be called ‘questionnaires’ or ‘inventories’
The procedure for personality questionnaires is quite straightforward. You will be presented with a series of questions, often in batches of four or eight. The objective is to answer them as truthfully and realistically as possible.
Try not to answer them according to how you want to be seen, but rather how you really are. Many tests have built-in mechanisms to spot inconsistencies in your answers and any confusion and misrepresentation is likely to be to your disadvantage.
Typically, responses to such questionnaires result in a ‘profile’ being created which provides an overview of the responses in the particular areas examined by the questionnaire. This includes areas such as problem solving, relationships with others, decision-making style etc. Consequently, there are no right or wrong answers or profiles when style is considered although certain styles may be more or less appropriate to certain situations. Personality questionnaires are used in both selection and development.
Below are some descriptions of the most common personality assessments used for selection, recruitment, team development, personal development, career coaching and more.
The 16PF Questionnaire is a self-report assessment instrument that measures the sixteen normal adult personality dimensions discovered by Dr. Cattell in his landmark research. From client responses to the questionnaire, standardised scores (stens) are derived for each of the sixteen personality factors and scores for five Global Factors (the original Five-Factor Model). These scores enable interpreters to formulate personality models useful in industrial/organisational applications, clinical settings, counselling, and research for predicting human behaviour.
Occupational Personality Questionnaire (OPQ)
SHL’s Occupational Personality Questionnaire (OPQ) is one of the world’s leading personality questionnaires and one of the first to be developed specifically for the occupational market. Before this questionnaire, personality questionnaires were taken from the clinical psychology arena and used within occupational settings. With over 20 years of research, OPQ has established itself as an integral, valuable tool in both recruitment and development situations. OPQ can be used across a range of job levels and types through the development of a number of more specific style questionnaires (WSQ, CCSQ) allowing items or statements more applicable to production or manufacturing and customer service personnel to be used
Hogan Personality Inventory (HPI)
The ‘Bright Side’ of personality – the you that other people know
The Hogan Personality Inventory (HPI) is the first of a distinctive new generation of personality questionnaires shaped by job performance research. The HPI raises the aspirations for personality assessment from mere description of candidates to prediction of their job performance.
Over more than 25 years, the HPI was refined on the basis of performance related validity research as the authors sought to “capture excellence” across a wide range of jobs; identifying the facets of personality that distinguish the best from the rest. In addition to the more traditional construct validation processes, this edition of the HPI is supported by more than 250,000 administrations for which job performance data was also collected – and the archive continues to grow. With no distractions from a single-minded focus on job performance, the HPI has discarded items that fail to pull their predictive weight.
The result is a 206 item questionnaire which identifies the individuals most likely to be effective in any role, and the roles in which individuals are likely to be most effective. It is the first normal range personality questionnaire based on the five-factor model of personality designed specifically for occupational assessment.
Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)
The Myers-Briggs system was created in the 1940’s by a mother and daughter, Katherine Briggs, and Isabel Briggs-Myers, respectively. It was based upon the work of the legendary and pioneering psychologist Dr. Carl Jung, who published Psychological Types in 1920. Jung is responsible for introducing words such as introvert, extravert, persona, complex (as in inferior complex) and synchronicity into our vocabulary. The Myers-Briggs system measures people in four areas: how a person relates with others, how a person takes in information, how a person makes decisions, and how a person orders their life. It is the most widely used of all personality systems, seeing it’s way into the world of business, education, and personal use.
The Enneagram is a personality measuring system which classifies people as belonging to nine basic types. The word’s etymology stems from Greek, where “ennea” means “nine” and “grammos” means “writing”, hence “enneagram”. The symbol that modern enneagram theory is based upon goes back to ancient times, but the personality system was created in the 1970’s by Oscar Ichazo, who synthesized ancient thinking from Pythagoras to the Sufis to Jewish mysticism, with important contributions later on from Claudio Naranjo, Don Richard Riso, Helen Palmer, and others. Each type is centered around a certain motivation. Some people’s lives are centered around wanting to succeed, while others seek support from others. Personality traits tend to go along with a motivation, so people with the same motivations may have many of the same traits. This is how a person’s type is determined. Whereas the Myers-Briggs measures the “surface” of a person, i.e., observable behaviour, the enneagram is mostly concerned with what drives the person. However, it may be an injustice to simply assign the label of “personality system” to the Enneagram, since its use extends much deeper into the mental and spiritual health realm. By identifying your core motivations (and problems), it is easier to overcome them. Instead of fighting a monster hidden in the dark, you are able to examine your weaknesses up close and then what you do with them, is up to you.
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