Chartered Industrial Psychologists

Personality Assessments

Personality assessments, sometimes also called personality questionnaires, personality inventories and personality profiling, all measure information about the individual personality preferences and personal qualities.

Good personality assessments can uncover many aspects of a person's personality and preferences which can then predict their likely behaviour on the job.

Personality assessments combined with ability tests, leadership assessments, and/or motivation and values questionnaires are referred together as psychometric assessments.

What do personality assessments measure?

For Selection
  • “How are they going to go about doing the job?” 
  • “Do they have the right attitude and preferences to fit in?” 
  • “Are they detailed and hard working?” 
  • “Can they lead a team effectively?” 
  • “Do they have the competencies required for the role?” 
  • “Are they highly motivated to achieve?” 
  •  And many more aspects of their personality fit with the role.
Personality Questionnaires measure personal preferences and traits
Personality Questionnaires measure personal preferences and traits
For Development
  • “What types of roles are their preferences best suited to?” 
  • “What type of organisation and industry would they fit into well?” 
  • “What type of leader do they like and need?” 
  • "What different careers might suit their personality strengths and interests" 
  • And many other career questions.

Tests of normal personality measure preferences of individuals that are exhibited in everyday life. Personality assessment developers usually determine the number of scale in three ways:

  1. Based on theory - e.g. Type theory by Carl Jung there are 4 preferences leading to the MBTI
  2. Statistically based - e.g. Factor analysis of the items to create dimensions 16PF (16 Personality Factors)
  3. Empirically based - e.g. grouping the answers given by people known to possess certain characteristics MMPI and CPI. Read more about the CPI
Understanding personality and how it will display on the job is like solving a puzzle

There are many personality assessments available although academics have studied and refined the number of traits into five broad personality dimensions known as the “Big Five”:

  1. Emotional Stability (not anxious or neurotic)
  2. Extroversion (outgoing, assertive)
  3. Openness to experience (inquisitive and open to new things)
  4. Agreeableness (works well with others, accommodating)
  5. Conscientiousness (disciplined, dependable)

More recently researchers and practitioners have debated whether these five factors are too broad and therefore more sub-dimensions or sub-scale may be better at predicting actual workplace behaviours and preferences.

It is the opinion of Niche Consulting’s Psychologists that this is certainly the case, people are much more complex than 5 dimensions and when trying to analyse whether a person will be suitable for a role, more scales is advantageous over fewer scales to predict behaviour.

Most academics and combined research (meta-analyses) agree that:
  • Personality assessments can predict on-the-job performance but at low but statistically significant levels.
  • Personality assessments can add incremental validity to other selection methods and tests.
  • Of the big 5, Conscientiousness is the strongest predictor in most occupations and for most outcomes.
  • The validity of other personality dimensions is somewhat dependent on the type of role and the outcome for which the test is being validated.

Personality assessments have been criticised by some in that some are easy to fake - Read more about faking

At Niche we have the following personality assessments:
  • California Psychological Inventory (CPI434) Read more about the CPI
  • California Psychological Inventory – short form (CPI260) Read more about the CPI
  • Hogan Personality Inventory (HPI)
  • Hogan Development Survey (HDS)
  • 15 Factor Questionnaire (15FQ)
  • Occupational Personality Questionnaire (OPQ32)
  • Occupational Personality Profile (OPP)
  • NEO PI-R™ and NEO-FFI
  • Myers Briggs Team Inventory (MBTI)
Personality can be assessed and used for many HRM purposes