Are they accurate? Do factors like age, occupation and what activities you have been doing earlier in the day affect your results? Are they actually helpful or are they just for fun?
First, let me start by reminding everyone that when I am talking about “personality tests” I am NOT referring to the “What animal would you be?” or “Which type of a friend are you?” quizzes that I see all over Facebook. I am talking about honest-to-goodness, well-researched, genuine assessment tools like DISC, Myers-Briggs, or, my personal favorite, Wired That Way.
The next thing to really think about is that no matter how well a test or assessment tool is designed, the results will only be as accurate as the responses that are given. Here are my tips for giving the best responses that will give you the best results:
1. Take your time. Read the instructions! The assessment tool I recommend has definitions in the back that will help people understand better the traits being identified. If you take the test before realizing that is there, it could affect quite a few of your answers…which in turn could affect the outcome of the test.
2. Differentiate between natural behavior patterns and learned traits. Answer each question based on your NATURAL behavior and NOT the way you would respond based on years of working in a certain field or taking on a certain role. There is nothing wrong with possessing learned skills, but they are not good indicators of your natural personality type.
3. Have someone else take the test for you. Unlike cheating on a test in school, having someone you live with or work with can often give you the most honest answers. While it is tempting to answer the way we WANT to be seen, those who know us well and have seen us at our best, and at our worst, may be able to give the most accurate answers.
I do believe that personality tests can be a great tool for self-assessment and personal growth. Just don’t get too hung up on specific scores. Focus on understanding patterns, motivations, and natural strengths and weakness. Strive to be the best “you” that you can be and practice learning the positive traits of the other personalities while remembering that doing that won’t change who you are.