Are you an ENTJ? A Loyalist? Stronger in Activation, Command, or Ideation? Perhaps you’re an Advocate, a Maestro, an Inquisitive Innovator, or an Architect. Each of these labels comes from a different corporate personality test used to segment applicants and employees. The ultimate goal is to find the right person for the right job. But with dozens of personality tests out there, how do you find the best corporate personality test?
We turn to the science of psychology for the answers. The division of personalities into ‘types’ originated with Hippocrates in ancient Greece. The five-factor model of personality grew to its current form in the early 1960s. It is also called the OCEAN model, the Big Five, and the Five-Factor Model (FFM). Each outlines a person’s place on a spectrum of five traits.
The Big Five
There are several tests available to measure these traits. Some involve hundreds of questions, although one corporate personality test claims to need just five questions. This corporate personality test presents a list of statements, such as “I pay attention to details.” Applicants note how strongly they agree with each statement. The final tally places the individual on the spectrum of each trait.
Openness describes how receptive someone is to new experiences. An open person is inventive and curious. A less open person is more consistent and cautious. There is no “right” or “wrong” place to be. People who are more open to experience would be good at creative careers and jobs in which they have higher autonomy. They are self-motivated, always looking for new ways to improve methods. Want someone who will shake things up and think outside of the box? Find an open candidate.
A less open person is methodical, data-driven, and motivated to work through a difficult task. He or she is practical and likes daily routine and clear job duties. Jobs in finance or technology can be good for those who are low in openness.
Is your candidate efficient and organized? Does he or she seem more easygoing and relaxed? The best candidates fall somewhere in the middle. An overly conscientious person may have a hard time making decisions. He or she might focus on minute details in pursuit of perfection. On the other hand, spontaneity can lead to carelessness. A highly conscientious individual is self-disciplined and reliable. Research has found that conscientious people are more empathetic, as they think about how their actions influence others. They set goals and reach them, making them good at sales.
People who score low in conscientiousness might be better suited for creative jobs or careers with mutable duties. They roll with the punches and won’t miss a beat if something changes at the last minute. Jobs in social work can be good for those with this trait.
Extroverted people are energetic and enjoy attention. They like a wide breadth of activities and are quick to make connections with others. Extroverts crave stimulation through interaction. Introverts prefer to spend time alone and may be seen as reserved or shy. They are energized through calm, peaceful moments rather than social engagements. Extroversion is often seen as the preferred side of the spectrum, but introverts have strengths, too. While extroverts might be a better choice for careers requiring teamwork or daily contact with others, introverts are well suited for careers in which success depends upon their own actions. They are observant and think before they speak. An introvert might make a good writer, mechanic, or pilot.
Most people aren’t one or the other. Instead, they’re ambiverts. Candidates in the middle of the spectrum know when to assert themselves, but are also able to observe, listen, and work on their own.
This measure is a reflection of how much social harmony means to someone. Will he or she compromise for the sake of peace? Again, this is an asset in some careers but can be a liability in others. Agreeable people are team players. They are altruistic, willing to sacrifice for the greater good. Less agreeable people put their own interests first. This might be an asset for entrepreneurs or start-up CEOs. These leaders tend to be more transactional rather than transformational. A disagreeable person will stand up for his or her own opinions. He or she might be more willing to take chances on a long shot, despite discouragement. An agreeable person is easier to work with, but may not fight for an idea if it causes conflict.
Neuroticism is often thought of by its inverse, emotional stability. Neurotics are prone to negative emotions like anger, fear, and depression. At face value, it seems like this should always be a negative. Who wants a pessimistic person on the team? People who are not neurotic are calmer, less stressed, and more stable. So, are there any jobs out there for the more neurotic applicants? When paired with a conscientious attitude, neurotic people channel their worries into hard work. They do well in the academic world. A neurotic person has a tendency to brood, so they’re good at spotting potential problems. Don’t just reject a candidate who scores highly in neuroticism. That person is actually well suited to certain kinds of work.
One criticism of The Big Five is the self-reported nature of the questionnaire. Participants may skew their answers to get a “better” score. Remind your candidate that there are no right answers. Traits that are an asset in one job may be a liability in others. Throughout the interview process, use your candidate’s responses to validate results. Learn more about how to recruit the best employees!