Surviving Personality Tests


If you were under the impression that tests were only part of your University studies, I have news for you.

Personality testing is becoming ever more popular in the hiring process. Actually, it’s an integral part for companies that use them and are designed to shortlist candidates who will be most suitable for the company and role. As well as your telephone and face-to-face interview, you may be sent these tests via email in an attempt to really dig deep in to your values, successes and demeanour.

Rather than solely relying on interviews, advocates say these tests more accurately predict whether a candidate will be successful. With so many applicants per role, this is another way to find the most suitable candidate and most importantly, you can’t charm your way through a personality test.

Here are some tips to do well for a personality test:

  • Be totally honest. There is no right or wrong answer
  • You can’t cheat, so don’t try to play the system
  • Take mock tests online (SHL or eTest) for a sense of what to expect
  • If you find there is more than one answer accurate to you, try to select the one that puts you in the most positive light
  • Watch out for similar questions as they are catching inconsistencies
  • Most tests will ask you to what level you agree or disagree with a statement, with a 5 point scale: Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Neutral, Agree, Strongly Agree. There are other types including those where you answer True or False, or the Most or the Least.

Many of them ask similar questions and provide the same answer options. They are also free from bias and have an advantage over just an interview where the interviewer will take into consideration their “first impression” of you and the rapport you have with them. As such, personality tests put you on a level starting point with other applicants who have to go through the exact same test to get the interview or job.

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