One of the components of an assessment is the personality questionnaire. On the basis of a personality questionnaire, the assessment client gains insight into who you are and whether you could perform well in a position. A client wants to have a good feel for your personality, partly because they want to know you better, but also to compare you with fellow applicants, of course. In fact, they are looking for evidence that there is a significant chance you will exhibit certain behaviors on the work floor (often asked in competency language). Behavior from your recent past is the best predictor of future behavior.
You take a personality test in an online environment and it usually consists of a long questionnaire that contains an average of 200 statements. In contrast to the questions you get with an intelligence test, there are no right or wrong answers for a personality test. There’s really no way to practice for them. However, you can take a sample test so that you know what to expect. It can put your mind at ease, because you already know what is coming and it won’t be all new to you.
With a little common sense, it is possible to figure out how certain personality traits affect a competency. What do you think?
- Do you have to be somewhat social to score well on the “Client orientation” competency?
- Is enthusiasm important if you have to be able to “Persuade” people for a certain position?
You already know that they want to get a good feel for your personality, partly because they want to know you better, but also to compare you with fellow applicants, of course. In fact, they are looking for evidence that there is a significant chance you will exhibit certain behaviors on the work floor (often asked in competency language).
Tips for completing a personality questionnaire
- Do not pretend to be dramatically different than you are. Honestly answering the statements is not only in the interest of the company, but also in your own interest: you want to work in a position that really suits you, right?
- Be honest but not too modest. You are being compared to a norm group and because a job application is important for many people, everyone wants to put their best foot forward. If you are compared to the norm group (in which no one is modest), your scores may come across as strange. It is worth knowing that a sincerity scale is often included. The score on this indicates how sincerely you have completed the questionnaire. Have you been completely honest or did you try to present yourself more positively than you really are?
- Read the question carefully, but do not rack your brain about it. Going with your gut is often best.
- Run through a wide range of situations. Preferably work situations.
- Use recent situations as examples to answer the questions. For example, use situations from the past two years.
- Do not let any negative incidents and periods from the distant past, or recent unpleasant events from the recent past come across to strongly in your answers. You may end up shooting yourself in the foot this way.
What is personality?
The concept of personality involves what you can say about someone’s characteristics. Someone can be nice, enthusiastic, sullen, withdrawn, etc. The term personality is derived from the Latin “persona” meaning mask. Behind the mask is your true nature and this personality is the result of nature and nurture. Personality has a certain degree of stability throughout situations and time, but changes within a certain period are possible. For example, very traumatic events can make someone more emotionally unstable and sensitive. Bear in mind, this is not the only possible outcome. Some people actually become more practical and rational. Personality research is an important part of an assessment because it can be used to make predictions. Behavior from the past is the best predictor of future behavior. In short, personality is the way someone deals with different situations or the characteristic behavioral pattern that someone exhibits in different situations.
Why is personality almost always part of the assessment?
You need more than intelligence to see how someone fares with the competencies for the job profile. Intelligence is the most important and strongest predictor of work success, but it is only one piece of the puzzle. Are intelligent people more client-oriented than less intelligent people? Do you need above-average intelligence to deal with stress well? As you can see, you need to look into personality to answer those questions. During your assessment, you will encounter different questionnaires that often have to do with your personality.
What type of personality questionnaire is used the most?
There are a lot of different personality questionnaires. The majority of the questionnaires are based on the Big Five model. The most research has been done for this model and these five factors appear over and over again. These are the factors: Extraversion, Friendliness, Conscientiousness, Emotional Stability, Autonomy. Many agencies work off of this model and add more factors and scales. However, that is not relevant to your preparation, because the method does not differ.
How is a personality questionnaire constructed?
In a personality questionnaire, you are presented with statements that you have to respond to. It often involves how much a certain concept applies to you. These statements are created by test engineers and each item is associated with a certain factor, e.g. extraversion. Since extraversion is too broad a concept, there are specific scales, such as dominance.
Do you have to answer honestly?
Yes, that is recommended. In contrast to an intelligence test, there is no right or wrong answer in a personality test. There is no such thing as a “minimum” personality profile. Of course, from the perspective of a job profile, there are people who are more suited or less suited to a position. Imagine participating in an assessment for a management position, but honestly stating that the following does not apply to you. I am able to motivate people to get things done. It might be honest, but chances are that it is important to get people motivated in a management position. It’s also possible to answer a questionnaire according to what you think is right. However, remember that, if you present yourself differently than you actually are, you may end up finding the job unpleasant and difficult. Some people are very critical of themselves. For example, if you have to indicate to what extent you are able to get others to accomplish things, it is not realistic to say “not at all” just because you could think of one time when it did not work. The other six times that it worked out certainly warrant a slightly more positive answer. Remember that you are being compared to a norm group and that you are really convinced that you are right for the job. Too much nuance in your answers could backfire on you.