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Personality Tests

Personality Tests Frequently Used in the Workplace


Personality tests are, for better or worse, being increasingly used among businesses and companies both in and out of the workforce. Personality tests are tests which are meant to examine and categorize personality traits of the individuals who are taking them; the results of a personality test are usually grouped into categories which list general descriptors that are the consequence of a certain combination of answers given to the questions on the personality test. Personality tests have become increasingly common in the workforce because companies are often looking for ways to take shortcuts when it comes to examining employees, categorizing them and making workplace decisions which must be made by examining the characteristics and personality traits of their employees. These decisions include but are not limited to: the hiring of new employees for a company or business, deciding which employees should or shouldn’t get an advancement within the company, choosing employees to promote to upper levels of employment in the company, choosing which employees should be given certain designated tasks, etc. etc.
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In short, personality tests are considered by many companies to be a shortcut in the decision making process. For example: Let’s say that a company is looking to hire 10 new employees who are confident, aggressive when it comes to making decisions, and reliable. They may require all applicants for these 10 positions to take a personality test which has 10 different personality category results. Because they are looking for employees who are confident and aggressive, they decide to only consider applicants who achieved category results in the personality test which correspond to those specific traits that they are looking for in their new employees. The other applicants who did not achieve those results are therefore not considered. Usually at this stage, the company would then finally schedule interviews for the applicants who met their initial criteria of being confident, aggressive, and so on. This process is generally not considered to be a fair or even an accurate one by psychologists. Personality tests are not necessarily reliable ways of determining the real personalities or attributes of individuals because they cannot possibly hope to describe someone when there are a limited—and usually small—number of result categories.

However, personality tests still remain a popular tool for companies because it is considered such a shortcut to more careful and therefore more time consuming analysis. The following are the most common types of personality tests which companies and employers use to test their employees or potential employees in a somewhat psychological manner.

Activity Vector Analysis; or AVA. The Activity Vector Analysis personality test is a questionnaire which is designed to measure four different personality tests, sometimes referred to as personality vectors. This questionnaire is most often used in the context of therapy and psychology; however some employees prefer to use this test for positions which involve a higher amount of social interactivity or interaction with customers and fellow employees. The Activity Vector Analysis measures the following personality factors: emotional control, social adaptability, aggressiveness and sociability.

The Keirsey temperament Sorter. The Keirsey Temperament Sorter is a personality test or questionnaire which is designed to give people a better understanding of their own temperament. IN this case, temperament refers to the temperaments as described by Plato and Hippocrates. These temperaments are then divided into two different categories which further describe someone's temperament or personality. The four temperaments are:
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artisans, guardians, idealists and rationals. Artisans are people who are pragmatic, who enjoy making tactical decisions, and who enjoy working with instruments and equipment. Guardians are people who are cooperative and who are chiefly concerned with a sense of reasonability and duty to others; they are also organized and supportive of others. Idealists are people who seek a sort of meaning and significance in work and life; they are excellent at inspiring others and bringing people together. Rationals are people who seek to control themselves and who are mostly concerned with creating strategies; they are excellent at creating theories, coordinating others and engineering.

The Myers-Brigg Type Indicator is possibly the most popular personality test in modern history. The Myers-Brigg Type Indicator, which was first published in 1921, categorizes people into 16 different types of personalities. This is achieved by combining four different dichotomies, which have two possibilities each. The four dichotomies are: attitudes, two types of functions, and finally lifestyle.

Attitudes refer to whether people are extroverted or introverted. According to the Myers-Brigg model, extroverted people prefer action oriented behavior, while introverted people prefer thought oriented behavior. People who are extroverted prefer social interaction on a more frequent basis, while people who are introverted prefer less social interaction or social interaction with is more quality than quantity. In short, when an employee's result for this test contains an "E," they are usually considered to be better for customer service positions or positions which otherwise require someone who excels at frequent action oriented social interaction.
The first of the two functions refers to whether people are sensing or intuition. Someone who prefers "sensing" is more likely to prefer and trust knowledge and information that is concrete or, put more simply, something that can be perceived and understood by their own senses and something which has concrete data to back it up. On the other hand, people who prefer intuition are more likely to rely in hunches, feelings and theoretical data rather than concrete information.
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The second function is meant to determine whether or not something is more "thinking" or more "feeling" when it comes to making decisions and judgments. Someone who prefers thinking will prefer to make decisions from a neutral or detached point of view after having measured all the information from what they feel is a logical standpoint. Someone who prefers feeling will prefer to make decisions using their emotions and by measuring information from the inside of the situation.

Finally, lifestyle is meant to determine whether someone fits the judging or perception descriptor. Someone who has preference for judging will prefer to show their preferred judging function--that is, thinking or feeling--while people who prefer perception will show the world their preferred perceiving function--that is, sensing or intuition.

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