On Personality Assessments

Many businesses regularly use personality tests and behavioral assessments to better determine which candidates to interview, to enable more successful job placement, to further develop existing employees, to assess and enhance listening and communication skills, and to screen for conscientiousness and emotional reactions. However, most personality assessments need to be taken with a pinch of salt.

“The psychology of personality promises to help people better understand themselves and those they know in relation to others. Personality tests, which typically take the form of questionnaires, are the tools for doing that. These measures of personality are also used in scientific research to explore how individual differences in various traits correspond with other aspects of people’s lives.

Personality tests are only “tests” in a loose sense: There is no right or wrong answer to their questions. And the best personality measures are not “pass/fail”—they don’t sort individuals into one category or another, but instead, place them on a series of trait continuums depending on how they compare to other people.”