Personality Test Results: General Statement or True Reflection of You?

Personality tests, or rather personality assessments since there are no wrong answers, are a big part of life no matter where you look. At school, we do tests to find out what fields suit our personality and preferences. In the job world, our applications to new jobs are often accompanied by our personality test results after a small testing session. While at home we are inundated with Buzzfeed quizzes that claim to tell us what cake we are most like, what movie character we should be, and what colour represents us.

Go beyond what colour are you with your personality test results

But what is a personality test and can it really capture who we are?

First off, we are NOT talking about Buzzfeed quizzes here. While good for killing time and having a laugh, they are not built with the amount of intention and psychological reasoning as traditional tests. So, stop trying to figure out what Powerpuff girl you are and try a real assessment.

What is a personality assessment?

A personality assessment is a means of measuring the characteristics and basal behaviours of a person. The intent of the assessment is to provide understanding into how a person interacts with the world around them which gives insight into areas of growth such as personal life, romance, work, and education.

While a part of psychology, not all personality assessments can be considered scientifically sound. Even the more well-known assessments like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator can fail tests of scientific soundness. For instance, a person should theoretically score the same or similar on two tests that are taken within 5 weeks of each other in order to pass test-retest reliability measures and this is often not the case as external factors like mood can greatly influence the personality test results.

Are you really what your personality test results say - learn more here

Why take a personality assessment?

There are three main areas that can benefit from self-exploration through a personality test: work, relationships, and self-understanding. In the work world, assessments can help you narrow down career options by honing in on traits and characteristics you have and determining what careers may be suited to those traits. In essence, you can go from having no career goals at all, to having a basic list of possible jobs.

To understand others, you first must know yourself. Personality assessments can help with that by exposing how you tend to interact with other people. Whether it is your family, your colleagues or your superiors, knowing how your actions and character is perceived can help you leverage your existing traits to improve those relationships. If you really want to benefit in this area, read some of the other possible results. Doing so will help you learn how to communicate and interact better with people who are not in a similar personality cluster as you.

Finally, understanding yourself is a big reason for taking a personality assessment. Many of the questions in these tests are situational which allows you to explore how you would react in a variety of situations. These “what if” type questions challenge to you evaluate not only the situation being presented, but your own character and past actions. While something may seem like the better answer, is it really what you would do? Did you do something different in the past? Why? You can expect all these questions to rattle around your head while completing the assessment. Take some time to really think the situations through to give yourself the greatest chance to learn about yourself.

Consider who you are before accepting personality test results as fact

What do personality test results tell you?

Personality tests are not personalized, rather they group you into personality clusters. These clusters represent a generic set of traits that seem to apply to you based on your answers. Such as the INFJs from Myers-Briggs who are considered introverted, intuitive, feeling and judging.

While the results may list traits you see in yourself or others see in you, there is more to consider. Personality assessments are a starting point, not the be all and end all. You need to take those results and give them a reality check. Take a look at your experiences in life, work and school. Think of your skills, abilities, weaknesses and limitations. Draw on your desires and passions. How do they fit into this personality cluster? Do they fit at all?

Let’s take the INFJ as an example. You get the INFJ result to find that you should be introverted, intuitive, feeling and judging. Upon further reflection, you realize that you actually shun your introverted spirit in public settings because you were sick of being called shy as a child. So while your default answers may have been introverted, your actions are anything but.

Similar examples can be applied to any personality trait in any cluster. Only you can truly know what your personality is and it cannot truly be grouped into a standard type. Personality test results are generalisations and you need to take that into account when using the results whether it be to find job ideas or determine how you best interact with others. Always consider your experiences, abilities, and desires.

Do you know who you are - then why take a test to tell you

Feel a bit lost?

That is okay and frankly is a normal reaction to being told that the personality test results you were hoping would tell you how to live your life will not do it. If you are struggling to make sense of results from a personality assessment or feel like you need a more personalized view of it as mentioned above, there are ways to get help.

Perhaps the best way is to speak with a professional. Career coaches and life coaches often employ personality assessments in their client sessions; however, they also have the expertise to go beyond the test and work with you to really explore who you are.

If coaching is not possible for you right now, you can still get more insight into yourself through other methods. Our next favourite is talking to a mentor. A workplace, network, or school-based mentor can be a great resource when trying to do self-reflection. Often when we have trouble identifying who we are or how we tend to act, others can fill in the gaps. A mentor is someone you should feel comfortable speaking with and who has some idea of how you act in your day-to-day. Find someone to fit that description and talk about your personality assessment results and discuss where you (or your mentor) feel that it doesn’t quite fit you.

All this to say, don’t let personality test results determine who you are. The results are general and you need to add some personalization in order to get any meaningful guidance from them.

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