Personality assessments are commonly used in career settings and can be used to identify a range of features such as an individual’s motivations, strengths, preferred learning style, behavioural preferences and leadership style. The most well-known and used assessments are those that explore a person’s preferences to identify an individuals personality ‘type’. These preferences relate to where you naturally direct your energy, how you take in information, how you prefer to make decisions and what kind of environment you feel most comfortable in. Based on your preferences across the four scales, you will be identified as having one of sixteen personality types.

So, how can this information about your personality type help you in your career?

1. Increased self-awareness
Firstly, these tools offer an insight into your personality that you might not have had prior to taking the assessment. Knowing how you prefer to work on tasks, take in information and communicate with others is critical when choosing or changing a career. This increase in self-awareness can help inform or confirm your career decisions (such as what subject to study or what types of jobs to explore) and provide you with increased confidence when talking about your strengths at a job interview. Having a strong understanding of your natural working preferences and motivators is essential for successful career planning and makes subsequent decisions about career choices and opportunities much easier.

2. Ability to make positive work improvements
Awareness of your key strengths and also potential areas for personal development can be particularly useful. Having an understanding of your strengths and natural tendencies can allow you to focus your efforts on work tasks that you’re inclined to enjoy and do well at. This can be particularly useful if you’re not 100% happy in your current role – using information from the assessment, you can identify areas of your work where you are not able to use your strengths or work on tasks in ways that you would naturally prefer. This can provide you with a great starting point for exploring ways in which you could adapt your role to better suit your preferences and work style. Using information from the assessment will also allow you to identify which (if any) areas of your behaviour you wish to improve which could then feed into a personal development plan. For example, if you’re an individual who likes sticking to tried and tested methods of doing things (‘If it works don’t fix it!’) then having an awareness of this, you could actively look to build in new ways of doing things and consult with others to learn about potential other ways of working.

3. Ability to work more effectively with others
Really importantly in a work setting, having an awareness of personality type preferences can help you work more effectively with others. For example, you will be able to recognise team members who share some of your preferences and also those who work in an opposite way to you. This understanding is crucial in moving away from being frustrated with others who perhaps struggle to accept your ways of working towards having a better appreciation of the differences in others. From this perspective you can begin to look at ways in which you could work with others more effectively, perhaps through amending your communication style, letting others know about your preferences, or actively involving people with a different personality preferences on tasks to ensure all perspectives and angles are covered.

4. Effective method of assessing personality
Lastly, personality assessments allow you to gain an insight into a number of personality dimensions more efficiently and effectively compared with other methods. The majority of assessments can now be completed online and take between 15-30 minutes to complete. Additionally, the feedback report and/or discussion will provide you with a comprehensive understanding of personality type as well as information tailored specifically towards your needs.

A Word of Caution!
It’s worth mentioning that there are many personality assessments available (just typing ‘online personality assessment’ into Google brings up 6,000,000 results!), some are free and others promise to be the best test available on the market. However these tests will vary dramatically in terms of their reliability (ability to provide consistent results) and validity (ability to measure what they say they’re measuring). One way to ensure you’re being offered a statistically sound personality assessment is to use an individual or company trained in the use of psychometrics and registered as a test user with the British Psychological Society (you can search the register here). Those on the register abide by a code of good practice in psychological testing so you can be confident the assessments offered will be selected based on sound knowledge of psychometric tests and your individual requirements.

Also, it’s important to note that personality type assessments highlight your preferences, and therefore are not an indicator of ability, skill or competency. Additionally, although an individual’s preferences are innate, they can change (for example, you may have a preference for writing with your right hand, but with awareness and training you could develop a preference for your left hand). As such, the tools are not a way of classifying or ‘boxing’ individuals, but of increasing awareness and helping people to change and grow.

**Career Zest offers a comprehensive personality assessment package that involves an initial discussion about the assessment and your current situation, an online assessment, a personalised feedback report plus a 1 hour online discussion and action-planning session. To find out more, please contact me on kirsty@careerzest.co.uk or 07624 317221.**