Personality tests: Are they useful?

There has been a recent uptake of workplaces and offices asking MBTI questions to learn more about their employees and work out how best to utilize their skills. It may seem like a waste of time and a little bit out of the box, but it has been shown to aid in workplace productivity. 

Whilst personality tests are one of the internet’s favorite snackable diversions, they have been formally used in offices for decades albeit in a slightly different form. But are they useful? This article will hopefully give you some idea.


The theory behind the MBTI test is that there are more than two kinds of people. In particular, there are sixteen kinds of people. Each personality type reduces to a set of four elements taken from four either/ or binaries. Everyone is either introverted or extroverted, sensing or intuitive, thinking or feeling or judging or perceiving. 

The score that you receive on the test is a combination of four characteristics defined by your answers to the ninety-three questions. They range from things such as “In reading for pleasure do you A) enjoy odd or original ways of saying things or B) Writers to say what they mean? Upon receiving your results, you are scored with a 4-letter combination that indicates a characteristic of your personality. 

The four-letter combinations can help you to identify your strengths and weaknesses and help you to learn more about yourself. By doing this, you can become a more well-rounded worker and a true asset to any team that you choose to join. 

Rating the test

In selecting a personality assessment, one common mistake that employers make is to fail to focus on what they are trying to achieve. Some organizations choose an assessment based on what others are doing rather than what they need within their own company. 

To make the most out of personality tests for the hiring process you should look for ones that measure stable traits that won’t change over time. As well as this they should be normative that can put a comparison between applicants’ scores against others. It may sound simple but the test should be highly reliable so that they produce the same result if the same person takes it again and they should be able to show valid predictors of performance. 

Are they fair?

Some personality tests have come under criticism for being used to discriminate against individuals with mental illnesses. This is in violations of the disability acts. They can lead to complaints being filed against companies if they are not careful. 

Employers can be held liable if the tests that they use inadvertently exclude groups. This can include those that are protected by the civil rights act. All tests that are chosen should be validated and verified by an experienced HR department.

Traits and labels

These personality assessments spur strong debates among professions and job candidates. They are not infallible but can increase the chances of making a good hire. However, it can also mean that organizations miss out on individuals who do not have optimum personality traits for a position. Some very good people may not tick all of the boxes on the personality assessments but can still be very talented. 

Are they accurate?

Some research has shown that personality assessments are among the least effective in predicting job performance when they are used on their own. They should always be combined with the other measures such as those that test cognitive ability and integrity tests. 

This does not mean that they have no use. If used properly, personality tests can be useful and accurate to gauge if someone is a good fit for the job at hand. This is not easy as the tests are not created equal. Even the most sophisticated tools leave room for interpretation. You should base all of your decisions on only one factor. Adapting the tests to be more suitable can make the tests so much more effective. 

Personality Tests

Personality tests do have appropriate uses. Based on statistical research, however, they have been proven to not be the most reliable and accurate way of determining the ability of a person to work in different environments. Also, it can be impossible to characterize everyone’s unique personalities into a finite amount of defining groups. 

Having said that, they still have their uses. They can get people to wonder why they and others think and behave in the way that they do and open up conversations about their personality differences. This can bring teams together and help to divide up workloads as the team becomes more familiar with each other’s strengths and weaknesses. 

Always remember that people cannot be perfectly placed into boxes but that does not make the tests redundant. 

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