Do Yourself a Favour and Identify Your Personal Traits

Understanding yourself and your personal traits is the key to finding a job that matches your preferences. It can also help identify areas in which you are more effective relative to others. This article offers insight into assessment tests for understanding your personal traits.

Preparation is very important for a successful job hunt. Before even starting your CV or updating it, take the time to look inwards and try to understand what defines you as a person and a professional.

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This particular post is about identifying your personal traits. In my last post I talked about a test that ranks your character strengths. In this post, we will look more broadly at some of the tests out there that can give you insightful knowledge about your personality which can come in handy for writing your résumé, at your next interview, or at work.

Personal traits are very important to understand as they partly determine how you like to work. And when you become comfortable with the profiles you can learn how to read other’s personality profile and in turn use advanced influence tactics on them. But I’m getting off track – that’s a subject for another discussion.

Personality tests are routinely used for recruiting in most large companies. They use it to quickly get a better understanding of the personality of the candidate. Usually, the HR department asks the manager hiring to list the traits they are looking for in the perfect candidate. So, they know very specifically what they are looking for.

Indeed, this makes it even more relevant for you to understand the ins and outs of personality tests. Through recruiting processes, personal development at work and other situations, I have tried several different tests. But every time I have been amazed of how accurately they have described my personality. I find them very helpful, because it’s like being at a wine tasting. Oftentimes you find that you know the smell or taste but just can’t quite put your finger on exactly what. As soon as the sommelier says something like “You can really taste the notes of apricot” and suddenly you realize it. The same thing happens when I have taken the tests – it provides the vocabulary to describe oneself.

I can already hear some of you protesting “Yeah, it’s exactly the same as horoscopes – all their predictions fit more or less everybody and becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy!” A valid point, however, I find that many of the traits can be directly linked to experiences I have had and are oftentimes pretty radical and would never fit as well to any other person I know.

Long story short, the tests have high validity and reliability, and they have been devised by psychologists and tested empirically. Let me introduce you to three of my favourite tests.

Myers–Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)
My personal favourite, because I find its few parameters very intuitive and easy to understand. According to CPP, 89 of America’s Fortune 100 companies use MBTI in efforts to optimise employee, team and management effectiveness.

In a nutshell, the MBTI test provides insight into your preferences on four parameters. 1) Where you derive energy (introversion vs. extroversion). 2) How you perceive information (sensing vs. intuition). 3) How you make decisions (thinking vs. feeling). 4) How you deal with the world (judging vs. perceiving). Find more information at Wikipedia.

You can take a test for free here:

This is an assessment of behaviour under different circumstances. This test also maps your traits across four parameters. These are Dominance/Dominant (D), Inducement/Inspiring (I), Submission/Supportive (S), and Compliance/Cautious (C).

The DiSC Personality Testing home page offers a free test and further information about the DiSC assessment in their blog.

Insights Discovery
This test orders four personality architypes according to your preferences at work and at home which allows you to understanding the difference in behaviour in the two different environments. The Colour Works offer further information and also a free test and profile if you register at their website.

Whichever test you decide to take; you will definitely get a deeper understanding of your work preferences. These tests can be a great source of information for what types of work fit your personality and in which areas you might be able to contribute most effectively. The insights you get will come in handy at your next interview where you now are able to convey varied reflections on your own personality. This is something that I have found most HR persons appreciate.

This post is part of a series about the recruiting process seen from the perspective of the candidate. See the first post HERE to understand the context.

Please be aware that I have no affiliation with the providers the tests or content mentioned above.


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