Creating a solid resume and attending a job interview aren’t the only hoops job seekers have to jump through before they land a job these days. Before you’re hired, a prospective employer might also ask you to take a personality test. Employers might use the test to ensure you have the right personality to succeed in the position, or they may be using it to try to understand you better and figure out the best way to train you and deliver information. Tests run the gamut; they might measure your level of extraversion or introversion, for example, as well as your level of self-control, negativity, or anxiety level, all in an effort to understand what makes you tick.
If an employer asks you to take a personality test, don’t freak out; just follow some simple steps to ensure a positive outcome.
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1. Ask for information about the test.
Ask the employer to tell you which tests you’ll be taking and the purpose of the tests. In the best-case scenario, the employer will give you the exact name of the test, so you can take online practice tests ahead of the big day and help you calm your nerves about what’s ahead.
2. Research the qualities necessary for the job.
Your mission throughout the hiring process is to make yourself appear to be the most well-qualified candidate possible, and to highlight all the skills and traits you possess that make you that way. Part of that process, then, involves knowing just what the employer is looking for. Read over the job posting and any notes you might have taken during the job interview, to review the key things the employer is looking for. Making a list also helps.
When you take the personality test, remembering this list can help you shape your answers to match the employer’s needs. You don’t want to make stuff up or to lie about what skills you have just to fit what the employer wants. But at the same time, you can learn to frame your responses to highlight a certain qualification over another.
3. Relax and do your best.
You might be able to steer your responses toward what the employer wants, but in the end, there’s no real way to "fake" a personality test. Thus, don’t enter the testing room filled with dread. Relax and answer the questions to the best of your abilities.
4. If you "fail," it's because you're not a good fit.
Unlike the exams you took in school, there is no pass/fail on a personality test. If your results reveal that you don’t have the correct personality for a certain job, take it as a sign that you weren’t the right person for that job. Trying to fit into a position for which you weren’t well-suited is a recipe for failure, or a way to find yourself quite unsatisfied in your career.
It can be nerve-wracking anytime an employer asks you to do a test -- but try to keep your stress levels to a minimum. And now that you know what a personality test is and what it’s used for, you might go try a few for yourself, in order to learn a bit more about what makes you tick.
Have you taken many personality tests? Did you find them helpful or did they always get in the way of you landing a job?