Personality Tests – Yes or Stress?

Posted March 27, 2012 by Marcy Twete in Career Moves

“Know thyself,” an ancient Greek proverb reminding us all that the most important opinion is our own, and the clearest path to success is to honor ourselves first. In a job interview, knowing yourself can mean the difference between true authenticity and nervous, canned answers. The difficulty lies, then, in getting to know yourself. It isn’t as simple as looking in the mirror. To truly “know thyself”, you must be able to recognize your strengths and weaknesses and communicate clearly your own preferences and desires.

One phenomenal way to “know thyself” is to test your personality objectively. A simple search for “personality test/business” on Google will show hundreds of tests to help you become a better leader by identifying your personality type and the strengths and weaknesses associated with it.

The granddaddy of all personality tests is the Myers Briggs Type Indicator Instrument (MBTI). The MBTI has become the first and most recommended personality test by career centers, therapists, coaches, and bosses around the world. The Myers & Briggs Foundation requires anyone who administer the MBTI be certified in the process, therefore you’ll need to reach out to a certified coach to take the test and get your results, which can be a barrier to taking the test. It’s worth it to explore MBTI as an option, but if you’re more interested in an “at home” option, here are a few personality tests I’d recommend pursuing in your quest toward self awareness:

  • Strengths Finder can be a phenomenal team builder. The Strengths Finder surmises there are 34 unique strengths, and every individual possesses some combination of these 34. The Strengths Finder assessment provides to you a list of your top five strengths, and the book further explains ways to utilize these strengths to your advantage and work with individuals who have certain strengths on their lists. You can purchase the Strengths Finder 2.0 book in any bookstore or online by clicking here. With the purchase of the book, you’ll receive a code for the online assessment.
  • The StandOut Assessment is the brain-child of business expert Marcus Buckingham. The assessment is quick and easy and can be purchased directly from Buckingham’s website by clicking here. This assessment can be taken singularly, or for a stronger impact, in concert with the Strengths Finder. The StandOut moves further than the Strengths Finder, not just telling who you are or what your strengths are, but how to most effectively utilize your strengths in the workplace.
  • Kolbe – the great thing about the Kolbe tests is that their tests vary in delivery. Though the Kolbe Index is the same, Kolbe offers products for entrepreneurs, parents, spouses, etc. to best interpret their results for the individual needs in your life. As an entrepreneur, I found Kolbe critical to learning my own tendencies and identifying what challenges my personality might pose in my business. Kolbe is the most expensive of the self-assessments I’m recognizing, beginning at about $50, and increasing if you purchase add-ons. Visit now to learn more about this assessment.

If you can, absolutely consider hiring a coach or going to an employment services center to take the MBTI or the Strong Interest Inventory. But if coaching isn’t for you, think carefully about taking one of the self-assessments I’ve recommended here today. You’ll find that any or all of these assessments will help you to better “know thyself” and consequently be able to communicate your strengths and weaknesses more effectively in all areas of your life.

About the Author

Marcy Twete

Marcy Twete is a career fundraiser turned corporate responsibility executive, a career and networking expert and the author of the book "You Know Everybody! A Career Girl’s Guide to Building a Network That Works."