How to use personality tests to find your career path

How to use personality tests to find your career path

Personality tests are frequently utilized by companies and individuals to improve career success rates. Most often designed by psychologists, psychiatrists and other mental health professionals, personality tests take into account human characteristics and interpersonal relationship dynamics. Whether you’re a recent college grad, a mom re-entering the workforce or a just someone unhappy with your present career, taking a personality test can help you direct your career trajectory toward a fulfilling destination.

Potential downsides of personality tests

Before taking a personality test, be aware of the potential downsides. Critics of personality tests cite cultural and age bias. They claim that the questions assume a certain type and number of years of life experience. Many test makers have attempted to overcome these bias challenges, but no test may be completely unbiased. If you decide to take a personality test, these criticisms are worth considering when you review your results.

Another potential downside to personality tests is the inherent tedium. Some tests may have an exorbitant number of questions that can lead to the tester hurrying along during the last half in order to finish quicker. Before choosing one personality test over another, consider the number of questions involved to be sure you’re willing to make the necessary commitment to give thoughtful answers to each one.

How to take a personality test

Taking a personality test is different than taking an academic test, so you need to approach it in a slightly different manner. Here are some tips for successfully taking a personality test.

  1. Take your time

    Personality tests aren’t timed, and you should avoid watching the clock as you take the test so you don’t unnecessarily put pressure yourself. Your score is based solely on your answers, not on how long it took you to answer.

  2. Answer truthfully

    There’s no right or wrong answer on a personality test; every answer is valid. Carefully deliberate on your answers to ensure they align with your true beliefs and opinions, not on what you think you should answer.

  3. Don’t skip ahead

    Some personality tests are designed with a purposeful succession of questions intended to manage your thought process. Skipping ahead could skew the results.

  4. Answer every question

    Every single answer contributes to forming the overall picture of your personality. Don’t leave any questions unanswered.

  5. Don’t read into the questions

    Take the questions at face value. Try not to start wondering why a certain question is there, or getting into a “what are they trying to find out?” mentality.

  6. Don’t go back and change answers

    Focus on the current question. Avoid second guessing yourself. Assuming you gave careful thought to the last question, leave it as it is.

  7. Answer “repeat” questions

    Sometimes you’ll encounter questions that are similar to a previous question, only phrased in a different way. This is all part of the design of the test, so don’t worry about what you think is a “repeat” question. Simply answer honestly, as you see it right now.

Personality tests to try

There are multiple respected personality tests for you to try in order to find your career path. Each of the ones listed here are backed by scientific research and were developed by professionals.

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator®

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®) is based upon the work of psychologist Carl Jung. This test measures the tester according to 16 distinctive personality types as defined by Jung. When you finish, your personality is categorized with a set of four initials called a “type code” that break down your personality into:

  • Introvert/Extrovert
  • Sensing/Intuition
  • Thinking/Feeling
  • Judging/Perceiving

To take the MBTI®test online, go to, scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on “Take Assessment.”

Riso-Hudson Enneagram Type Indicator®

The Riso-Hudson Enneagram Type Indicator® (RHETI®) was designed around the premises developed by psychotherapist Claudio Naranjo and the work of Oscar Ichazo, founder of the Arica School. This test potentially unveils insights into the interpersonal dynamics of behavior that govern work relationships. It operates on the concept of nine personality types, which include:

  • Reformer
  • Helper
  • Achiever
  • Individualist
  • Investigator
  • Loyalist
  • Enthusiast
  • Challenger
  • Peacemaker

Each personality type is broken down into characteristics that include key motivation factors, basic fears and basic desires. You can take the RHETI® test online at the Enneagram Institute website.

Winslow Personality Profile

The Winslow Personality Profile test is specifically geared toward people in all stages and from all walks of life who are seeking a career that better matches with their personality traits and desires. It promises to help you discover facets of yourself you might not have been aware of.

This test is popular with major sports organizations like the MLB, NBA and NFL to improve player and team performance. Based on 52 years of scientific research, the Winslow Personality Profile test is also widely used by companies seeking to ensure the best job candidate hires. This profile assessment gives testers a breakdown of 24 personality traits across four categories that include:

  • Interpersonal traits
  • Dedication traits
  • Organizational traits
  • Self-control traits

Tests for individuals are available on the Winslow Research website.

These three personality tests could provide a better understanding of yourself and what kind of career in which you might be best able to thrive. As stated on the MBTI® site, all personality types are equal. There’s no better or worse personality type. It’s okay to be who you are. It’s the self-knowledge and enhanced understanding of your personality that matters. Self-discovery can be very liberating; giving you the freedom and courage to pursue career goals that you might have thought were out of your reach. Use these tests as a tool to help guide your career path decisions.