Preparing for a job interview is tough enough, with time spent honing your answers to common questions, learning about the company where you are interviewing and taking the time to look the part of a great hire.
Of course, there’s still another area. The dreaded personality test.
Not every company puts you through this exercise, but an increasing number are doing so, according to Forbes. In a competitive job market, personality tests are another way for hiring managers to pick from candidates who have similar skills, experience and education.
Their goal is to get the right person for the job. Your goal is to be that person.
The Purpose of Personality Tests
While offering a way to differentiate candidates, the personality test also allows hiring managers to be able to see how different people perform with the same set of questions. Some also note, according to Forbes, that candidates “can’t charm a personality test.”
Test makers also claims it’s impossible to cheat, as there are no right or wrong answers. Additionally, job candidates often have no idea what type of personality the company is looking to add to the ranks.
This makes it a good tool for hiring managers, but a potential stressful situation for job candidates
How to Take On the Personality Test
One approach is the most straightforward: relax and just be honest.
There may be no way to fake your way into a good score. The tests are designed to weed out people who are not answering consistently and are simply looking to give the answer they think the hiring manager wants to hear.
“If people try to game the system, we jokingly say the person faked their way out of a job,” John Weiner, president of testing firm PSI, told Forbes. “It’s possible to distort your answers but not create a profile (employers) want.”
Naturally, not everyone agrees.
Help On Personality Tests
There are now companies that offer “practice” personality tests that they say will help your perform better on the personality tests taken during job interviews.
The Institute of Psychometric Coaching, for example, offers a free personality test online that allows you to see how you would score on some basic personality test questions. Typically, these questions are statements to which you are asked to answer from these choices: strongly disagree, disagree, neutral, agree or strongly agree.
- My goals in life are clear
- I prefer working in a stable rather than flexible environment
- I tend to take on others problems
- I feel like a failure compared to my friends and co-workers
The test does not offer any definitive conclusions, but gives you an idea of the sort of questions you might see on a personality test. You can also expect questions on topics such as your work ethic, how you see yourself physically and in eyes of others, as well as your creativity.
Other Ways to Ace Personality Tests
Others, such as Dice, which specializes in websites for many different professional communities, offer advice on how to approach the tests. They suggest the place to start is determining what sort of traits an employer would want for a position. Do they want someone who likes to follow a rigid schedule or a more creative, flexible person? Does the job require attention to detail or looking at the big picture?
Thinking ahead and taking practice tests can help you determine how to make the right answers. Dice also notes that some tests have control questions designed to find people who are faking the test. Many of these take the form of questions that require honesty, such as admitting you have told a lie before to spare someone’s feelings.
So while there are ways to try and game a personality test, the best approach might remain being honest and determining ahead of time whether you even have the right personality for the job in the first place.
Perhaps the most important personality test is the one you give to yourself before the interview process even begins.
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