Dear Sam: Hi Sam, I’ve been fortunate enough to land a few interviews as I explore new opportunities in marketing. I have had more than one hiring manager ask about my personality type using words like disk, strengths, MBTI, Hogan, etc. What on earth are they talking about, and how do I know what mine are? And is there one that “rules” over all others? Thanks so much! — Confused Jillian
Dear Jillian: I’m not surprised you have had hiring managers ask you about personality tests as part of their pre-employment assessment, given that more than 65% of hiring managers—according to a survey by the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM)—leverage them to better understand the potential fit of the candidate. With an increased focus on company culture and team member engagement, personality assessments help ensure the candidate will fit well not only in the company, but also in the team he/she will be working with, and perhaps even the supervisor overseeing the role.
There are many personality assessment tools, but the ones I hear of the most being involved in the hiring process are the Hogan Personality Inventory (HPI), the DiSC Behavior Inventory, and the Gallup Clifton StrengthsFinder 2.0. These assessments, at their core, provide insight into a candidate’s strengths, behaviors, personality, and temperament. There are no “correct” or “incorrect” answers for the questions on each assessment, and candidates should answer truthfully to ensure they engage with a company that would be a strong cultural and vocational fit. You can even take these assessments independently if you are interested in your results.
The test I like the most, at least in terms of reinforcing a candidate’s brand, is the StrengthsFinder tool. I actually ask all clients I work with if they have completed this assessment, as seeing a candidate’s top 5 themes can reinforce a vocational fit. For instance, if I am working with, let’s say, a Sales Representative, and his/her top 5 themes include Strategic, Winning Others Over (Woo), Competition, Maximizer, and Achiever, I may choose to highlight those directly on his/her resume as a reflection that the candidate is absolutely in the correct vocational domain. In brief, it provides a little additional insight into the candidate’s personality DNA. If you are interested in looking further into this assessment, you can take the test online and understand your top 5 themes for less than $20.
If you are seeking additional insight to help define potential career fields that are a strong fit for you, I would recommend the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). Through completion of a multiple-choice questionnaire, you will learn about your preferences: Do you prefer the outer world or your inner world? This is called Extraversion (E) or Introversion (I). Do you focus on basic information or prefer to interpret and add meaning? This is called Sensing (S) or Intuition (N). Do you look at decisions from a logical standpoint or prefer to look at the people and circumstances? This is called Thinking (T) or Feeling (F). Lastly, do you like to get things finished or prefer to seek new information and options? This would be called Judging (J) or Perceiving (P). What results is your MBTI personality type. If taking this assessment, there are trained interpreters who can help you understand your results. By understanding your type, you can really dig deep to understand in what environment you prefer to work, what kind of team you lean toward, and what settings you will want to avoid. Again, there are no correct or incorrect answers or types—there are types that are rarer than others—and an employer can leverage this information to ensure you will work well with the other types already in the workplace.
I hope this sheds some light on how personality assessments can be beneficial for both you and a potential employer.