No, You Can't Beat a Personality Assessment

Posted: February 1, 2021

During your job search, you may have encountered an invitation to complete a personality assessment with one of the companies you are applying to. According to the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, 13% of employers in the United States utilize some form of these assessments. You’ve probably wondered what these tests actually measure and how companies use that information. Businesses may see these assessments as a way to gauge your behavior in work settings, predict how successful you would be in a particular role, or how satisfied you might be with different aspects of the work. No matter the reason, there are a few things to keep in mind before you complete the assessment.

Know the Assessment Format

Before taking the test, look into the type of assessment you will be completing. Common tests or platforms that you may encounter include Predictive Index, Plum, or the companies’ own assessment created in-house. These tests can induce a lot of anxiety in some job seekers, since you know that you are being evaluated on a fundamental part of who you are: your personality and how you behave. To calm some of this anxiety, it can help to familiarize yourself with the process and know what is expected of you before you push the “start test” button. Are you being asked to complete an assessment that requires you to rank sentences discussing how you feel about certain scenarios, or describe yourself and your work style using various adjectives? Can you take your time to complete it, or is there a limit? Finding out this information beforehand will help ease any anxiety you may have with the process.

Be Truthful

While taking the test, know that it is important to stay true to yourself and answer honestly. A lot of job seekers have the perception that personality assessments can be “beat”. Not only is this false, but completing the test in a manner which reflects this belief can only hurt you in your job search. First, answering based off of how you think the company would want you to may result in inconsistent responses and can raise some red flags for the employer. Some employers can tell if the candidate is answering in a socially desirable manner or attempting to “manage their impression”. The platform itself may even alert them to dodgy answers. Answering each question to the best of your ability and truthfully can help you avoid this personality assessment pitfall.

The other reason why it is important to take these tests seriously is that by answering in a way that might go against your own beliefs, personality, or work style, you run the risk of landing a position you don’t truly match with. Most of these assessments have a component that measures your fit for the position and your potential success. You wouldn’t want to secure a role just to end up disliking your work and feeling disengaged, missing out on other opportunities where you might have matched better.

As you come across these assessments in your job search, know the importance of answering honestly and truthfully. There is no such thing as beating a personality test, and you can only benefit from being authentic and yourself.

To shine your brightest light is to be who you truly are. - Roy T. Bennett