The Power of Personality Tests: Understanding Yourself and Others

//The Power of Personality Tests: Understanding Yourself and Others

“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” – Aristotle

You heard it from the big man himself. Knowing yourself is extremely important for your own personal happiness and career success.

Those who understand themselves:

  • Make better decisions
  • Communicate more effectively
  • Are more resilient to stress
  • Have improved overall wellbeing

Why is this?

Let’s take the C-Me Colour Profiling for example.

This test is based on the idea that individuals have a “colour” that represents their dominant personality traits. 🔴🔵🟡🟢

The four colours that the test identifies are: red, blue, yellow and green, each colour representing different characteristics (you can be a mixture of several!)

So in this example, you’ve taken the test and you understand yourself to be more of a Blue 🔵 – generally more analytical, logical, and methodical. You like to gather data and take time to make decisions.

You find yourself working on a project with a Red 🔴 – generally more action-oriented, competitive, and assertive. They tend to be decisive, and results-driven, but may be too quick to rush in.

Whilst you might think the best way to approach this project is to gather all possible data look at it from every angle and strategize the best course of action, your Red companion might prefer to drive straight in and get to work, regardless of the limited information you’re starting with.

This clash can be aggravating for you both.

Man shouting at phone because he's angry for not doing personality tests

Photo by Icons8 Team on Unsplash

The important thing is neither approach is right nor wrong. The best strategy for completing the task is usually a mixture of both.

Knowing the different ways you and your project partner approach things allows you to understand each other, have open communication, and put your strengths together.

You’ve minimised frustrations and made a pretty good team.

Knowing yourself is key to all relationships. It goes the same in work as in your personal relationships and has a major impact on your happiness.

Happy man after personality tests because he better understands himself

This is the first part of several articles which cover different personality tests and their benefits and drawbacks.

Today, we’re taking a general overview of them all.

Let’s dive in…

What are personality tests?

Personality tests are a fun way to gain insight into your own behaviour and characteristics. They’re a good thing to do purely for your own self self-knowledge, but can also be a valuable tool for navigating the job market.

There are many different formats that personality tests can take, including:

1.    Self-report questionnaires:

 These tests require individuals to answer a series of questions about themselves and their behaviour. They are typically administered online or in paper form and may take anywhere from a few minutes to several hours to complete.

Some examples of self-report questionnaires include the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and the Big Five Personality Traits.


2.    Projective tests:

These tests present individuals with ambiguous stimuli, such as images or stories, and ask them to interpret or respond to them in their own way.

Projective tests are designed to reveal unconscious thoughts, feelings, and motivations. Think of the Rorschach inkblot test.


3.    Behavioral assessments:

 These tests observe an individual’s behaviour in a specific situation or task and use the observations to infer personality traits.

Behavioural assessments may take place in the form of an interview, role play, or a simulated task.


4.    Physiological tests: 

These tests measure physiological responses, such as heart rate, skin conductance, or brain activity, in order to infer personality traits.


5.    Interviews: 

That’s right – your interview is a personality test in itself.

You’re being asked about your background, experiences, values, and interests, and your interviewer will use this information to infer your person’s personality traits.


What are some of the most common personality tests and what are they used for?

From the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) to the Big Five Personality Traits, these assessments are a favourite tool for employers and recruiters to get to know you better and see if you’re a good fit for the job.

But, before you roll your eyes and dismiss them as just another HR hoop to jump through, let’s dive in and see what these tests can reveal about you.




The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)

Image of the Myers Briggs personality tests

(Wikimedia Commons/Jake Beech)

Developed by a mother-daughter duo, the MBTI assesses individuals on four different dimensions:

  • extraversion vs. introversion,
  • sensing vs. intuition,
  • thinking vs. feeling,
  • judging vs. perceiving.

This test aims to identify your preferred way of thinking and behaving and assigns you a four-letter personality type, such as ENFJ (extroverted, intuitive, feeling, judging) or ISTP (introverted, sensing, thinking, perceiving).

Want to know more? Check out MBTI’s official website



The Big Five Personality Traits

This one helps you figure out whether you’re more of a lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo, or rhinoceros… just kidding.

It’s based on the idea that all human personalities can be reduced to five broad factors. Also known as the Five Factor Model, this test assesses which personality trait is dominant in you.

  • Openness
  • Conscientiousness
  • Extraversion
  • Agreeableness
  • Neuroticism.

It is considered to be a more scientifically valid approach to measuring personality than the MBTI. But don’t just take our word for it, find out more here



C-Me Colour Profiling

Image of the C-Me Colour Profiling personality tests

Photo credits Storm Consultancy

The test is based on the idea that people have natural tendencies and preferences that can be grouped into four basic colour categories.

Each colour represents a specific set of characteristics, such as

–     🔴 Red is assertive, competitive and results-oriented,

–     🔵 Blue is analytical, reserved and detail-oriented,

–     🟡 Yellow is sociable, outgoing and expressive,

–     🟢 Green is supportive, patient and easy-going.

The test is completed online and typically takes around 15-20 minutes to complete.

The results are presented in the form of a colour report that provides a summary of an individual’s dominant colour and the associated characteristics. The results can be used for personal development, team building, and improving communication within an organization.

We run the C-Me personality test at Forward as well as the opportunity to go through your results with a coach and draw in-depth results – it’s great fun. Get in touch to take the test.



The DISC Personality Test

Image of the DISC personality tests

Image credit to United Partners

This test assesses individuals on four different dimensions:

  • Dominance,
  • Influence,
  • Steadiness,
  • Conscientiousness.

It aims to identify your natural behaviour and communication style and can be used to predict how you will respond to different situations and challenges in the workplace. Interested in learning more? DISC assessment website

Employer going through personality tests with a prospective hire

Why do employers ask for personality tests?

Getting asked to complete a personality test for an interview is pretty common these days. It helps your prospective employer get an idea of your personality, work style, and potential fit within the company culture.

  • Identify potential strengths and weaknesses in candidates
  • Gauge how well they may work with other members of the team.
  • Help employers make better decisions about whom to invite for an interview, whom to hire, and whom to promote.

Personality tests can also help employers identify candidates who may be more likely to experience burnout, turnover, or other job-related problems.

By understanding the candidate’s personality traits, employers can identify candidates who may be less likely to thrive in certain roles or environments and make more informed decisions about where to place them within the organization.

Finally, some of the tests can also identify mental health issues. They can help identify candidates who may be at risk for developing a mental health condition and can provide support for them.

Pen and paper personality tests

The benefits and drawbacks of personality tests

It’s not all diamonds, multiple-option fun, and roses. There are many different tests out there because none of them are perfect.

However, they can bring plenty of benefits, such as:

  • They can provide individuals with insight into their own personality traits and how they may affect their behaviour and interactions with others.
  • They can be useful for career coaching and job selection, as certain personality traits may be better suited for certain jobs or work environments.
  • They can be helpful for personal development and self-improvement by identifying areas for growth.
  • They provide a common language for individuals and teams to understand and communicate about each other’s personalities, which can lead to better collaboration and understanding.
  • They can be used to identify areas of strength and weakness within a team, allowing leaders to better allocate tasks and responsibilities.


But there are some drawbacks, including:

  • They may not be scientifically valid and reliable, and may not accurately reflect an individual’s true personality.
  • They may stereotype individuals based on their test results.
  • They may not take into account situational factors that can influence an individual’s behaviour
  • The results of personality tests can be used to discriminate against certain groups of people.
  • They can be easily manipulated by individuals who want to present a certain image or hide certain traits.
  • They can be biased towards certain groups of people, leading to unfair or inaccurate results for certain individuals.
  • They may not take into account changes in an individual’s personality over time.

It’s important to note that while personality tests can be a useful tool when it comes to the hiring process they should not be used in isolation. These tests should be combined with other methods of assessment such as interviews, reference checks, and work samples.

Additionally, it’s important to use scientifically validated tests that have been shown to be reliable and valid by experts in the field.

Women taking some personality tests

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio

Why should I take a personality test?


1.    To better understand yourself:

Personality tests can help you understand your strengths, weaknesses, and tendencies. By gaining a deeper understanding of yourself, you can make more informed decisions about your careers, relationships, and personal goals.


2.    To improve communication:

Understanding your personality can help you communicate more effectively with others. By knowing how to present yourself and understanding how others might perceive your actions, you can improve your ability to connect with others and build stronger relationships.


3.    For your Career Development:

Taking a personality test can help you identify careers that are a good match for your personality, work style, and values. This can help you make more informed decisions about your career path, and find jobs that are more satisfying and fulfilling.


4.    To identify potential issues:

Some personality tests can also identify potential issues such as mental health disorders, stress, and burnout. By identifying these potential issues, you can take steps to address them and improve your overall well-being.


5.    For Personal growth:

Understanding your personality can be an important step in personal growth and self-improvement. By identifying areas where you would like to change or improve, you can take steps to become the best version of yourself.

***It’s important to note that these tests should never be considered the be-all and end-all.

For individuals, they can give you a good idea of your strengths and weaknesses and preferred work and communication style but you are never boxed in by your results. Personalities change and you can decide to be whomever you want through your behaviour and decisions. ***



Final Thoughts on Personality Tests

So there you have it, folks, everything you ever wanted to know about personality tests (and this is just part one!)

Whether you’re a “red” who likes to take charge or a “blue” who prefers to work behind the scenes, these assessments can give you valuable insights into your behaviour and tendencies.

But don’t take the results too seriously, as these tests are just one part of the puzzle when it comes to understanding yourself.

Therefore, it is essential to take the results of these tests as a starting point and to use them in conjunction with other methods of self-reflection and self-improvement.

As poet Kahlil Gibran once said, “Knowledge of oneself is the mother of all knowledge.”

Whether you’re using a test for personal development, team building, or recruitment, taking the time to understand oneself can lead to greater self-awareness, improved relationships and ultimately a more fulfilling life.


Forward Career Coaching specialises in helping young professionals achieve the life they want to live. If you fancy taking a personality test, or you’re just looking to fast-track your career success, why not get in touch for a free consultation?