The Assessment With No Right Answer: Let’s Talk Personality
If you’ve never done a personality questionnaire before, taking an assessment for the first time can definitely feel daunting. Is there a correct answer? What happens if you tick all the ‘wrong’ boxes? And will the results even be accurate?
If you’re about to take a personality questionnaire and are having these thoughts, you are almost certainly not alone! As someone who has been through this process, I’d like to provide you with some of the insights I have gleaned to help put your mind at rest.
Whilst it may seem intimidating, taking a personality questionnaire is an extremely interesting process. When it comes to personality, there is no such thing as a ‘right answer’, as each of us is delightfully different (and rightfully so!). Therefore, as long as you select your answers truthfully, there is no need to worry about making any mistakes.
When I took Criterion’s Enhanced Personality Questionnaire, on top of a report to take home I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to sit with a member of the Criterion team (Lily), who talked me through my feedback. Firstly, Lily started by explaining some key points; for example, reminding me that everything is on a spectrum, and that there are no right or wrongs when it comes to answering the questions. We then walked through my responses on each dimension, discussing how I felt about the answers as we went. Lily was also able to draw parallels between my different scores, and form some conclusions on what these may show about the ways I think and act (something I definitely would not have been able to do if reading the report unassisted!). I was also able to see how I scored on these in comparison to the average. For example, was I more competitive than most respondents, or did I favour a more collaborative approach?
The next section of the report was slightly more directive, and provided some extremely interesting advice in three different areas: 1. my personal development; 2. my career choices; and 3. my working style. Suggestions for my personal development and career choices (detailing careers I may thrive in, and careers that may require a little more effort to sustain based on my natural tendencies) were based on my five strongest personality attributes. My strongest three attributes were then selected to give some suggestions on how to adapt my working style. To be clear, these were not suggestions on how to change my personality, but instead were little hints and tips about specific areas that I could make changes to in order to appear more well-rounded.
Lastly, there was a section for reflection, where Lily and I discussed my key strengths and areas for personal development. This assisted with the generation of a clear take home message, and helped me to walk away with some very clear points on how my personality both affects and supports my professional life.
After taking part in this process, there is one final point that I would like to drive home for anyone taking a personality questionnaire as part of an application: this stage is also extremely important for determining whether an organisation is right for you. Unlike professional skills that you can develop and change over time, your personality is something unique, and not something that you should feel the need to compromise on. Therefore, do not feel disheartened if you learn that you and your chosen organisation are not a match; this is likely to mean you have avoided filling a role that doesn’t allow you to be your best self.