Businesses and organizations today have countless tools available to help them in hiring, training, and managing their employees. One of the most popular tools is the personality test. These tests can be extremely useful in helping leaders and managers understand how their employees think and act and how to keep them motivated in the workplace.
What is a personality test
A personality test is a standardized set of questions or scenarios presented to a person to help determine various aspects of that person’s personality and emotional status. The results of a personality test are generally collated into a persona or personality type that informs you about a person’s general traits, emotions, likes, and dislikes.
Should you use personality tests in the workplace
A lot of businesses and organizations have gleaned value from using personality tests. The core value is these tests can help you better understand a person and what makes them tick, which is extremely useful for employers and employees alike. However, there can also be cons to using personality tests in the workplace, and each organization should carefully consider both the pros and cons.
Pros of personality tests:
- Personality tests help recruiters determine in the hiring process if a candidate has the right personality type for a particular position (for example, a more extroverted personality type may be desired for a person in sales).
- Managers can use personality tests to better understand their current employees and what motivates them in the day-to-day.
- These tests can also provide a quantifiable benchmark for comparing candidates and employees for hire or promotion.
- Personality tests can help employees understand themselves and others better, which is always a win-win.
Cons of personality tests:
- Personality types do not necessarily inform you about a person’s job performance.
- These tests can be expensive (both from a dollar and time standpoint).
- Personality tests can be manipulated by the test taker.
Comparison of different personality tests
There are dozens of different personality tests on the market today. We have chosen four popular ones (Myers-Briggs, DiSC, Enneagram, and 16 Personalities) to compare for this particular article, though you may want to explore other available options as well.
What is the Myers Briggs personality test
The Myers-Briggs personality test is a very popular test introduced in the 1940s and measures personalities using four characteristics: sensation, intuition, feeling and thinking. The results are one of the 16 personality types that describe a person’s nature. Each personality type is represented by 4 letters (e.g. INFJ). There are 93 questions in the North American Myers-Briggs test, and it takes approximately 30 minutes to complete.
What is the DiSC personality test
The DiSC personality test was developed by Walter Clark in 1940 and measures personalities based on four types: dominance, influence, steadiness, and conscientiousness. This is also a very popular personality test and was specifically designed for use within businesses and organizations to help understand people’s preferences. This test has approximately 90 questions and takes 30 minutes to complete.
What is the Enneagram personality test
The Enneagram personality test dissects a person’s motivations and character structure to measure them as one of nine personality types characterized by their primary motivator. These nine personality types are further segmented into three groups of three shared trait types: mind, heart, and head. There are two versions of the test (a short and a long), which range from approximately 36 questions on the short version and up to nearly 150 questions on the long version.
What is the 16 Personalities personality test
The 16 Personalities test combines elements of the Myers-Briggs personality types with trait- and type-based models to measure people as one of the 16 personality types. Available online, this is a popular personality test that is free and takes only 12 minutes to complete.
Choosing the best personality test for your workplace
Businesses have numerous options for personality tests for the workplace, including the Myers-Briggs, DiSC, Enneagram, or 16 Personalities tests. Each test has its own strengths and weaknesses, but generally speaking here is the particular focus of each test to help you navigate to the correct one for your particular use case.
- Myers-Briggs focuses on understanding who you are by nature (for example, who you are as a person at home). It also costs $15-40 depending on the type of test.
- DiSC focuses on understanding in-depth who you are by nature and your adapted behavior (for example, to help understand how you would manage stress). It costs $24-100 generally.
- Enneagram focuses more on who are as a nurtured individual (for example, what you fear and desire in the day-to-day). It costs $12-24.
- 16 Personalities focuses on giving you a popular-level understanding of your nature and trait type. It is free online at 16personalities.com.
Using personality tests for team building
If you’re a manager or leader, you can help set the tone for a positive workplace culture simply by improving everyone’s understanding of each other. Personality tests are a key tool for accomplishing this.
The first step is to better understand yourself and how you best interact with other people. Then, it extends to your teams as you all seek to understand each other. You can then use personality tests to create tailored learning and mentoring programs for your employees to help keep them motivated and engaged in the workplace. Strategically used, personality tests can help your business or organization achieve a more harmonious and effective workplace culture.