Wednesday, March 07, 2007

What do personality test results look like?

You may have taken a personality test before, but do you know what the results look like? Do you know what decision-makers are looking at when trying to determine if a candidate would be a good fit?

I decided to show you what the results could look like by taking a personality inventory myself. The instrument in question, the IPIP NEO-IP, is related, but not identical to, the well-known NEO PI-R instrument that is used to assess the Big 5 personality factors.

The big thing about the IPIP NEO-IP's free. And in the public domain. That's right, you can take it whenever you want, just to satisfy your curiosity. More details about the IPIP (International Personality Item Pool) can be found here.

That's what I did, and I'm sharing the results with you.

Some notes on the test and the results: I tried to be as accurate as possible in my responses, but struggled with how to interpret some items. Again, this is not a commercially viable test, it's primarily a way of educating folks about personality. If you were to purchase a commercial test, the questions would likely be different, and the results would no doubt look very different, with lots of pretty colored bar charts and comparisons to the traits you're looking for based on an analysis of the position and high-performers.

What do I think?

Well, the results are what they are. It feels pretty accurate in many ways, not so much in others. I come off as sounding pretty Machiavellian. "Morality" is low, which looks bad until you read the description (which I didn't include), which clarifies it has more to do with how strictly you adhere to rules.

I'm also not so sure about the "Openness" description. I don't consider myself to be particularly conservative. I also resent having zero imagination, which no doubt has to do with the way it's defined (I don't daydream a lot, but I have a lot of creative ideas!).

And I'd take issue with me being unwilling to sacrifice myself for others (under Agreeableness). I'm more than willing to sacrifice for someone long as it gets me something in return (kidding!).

If you have time, have a go at it. The shorter version has 120 items and took me probably 10-15 minutes.

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