A personality test is a method of
assessing human personality constructs
personality trait dimensions,
Personality assessment instruments are introspective
self-report questionnaires which constitute of
rating scales (a series of multiple choice questions). That is why
personality inventories are classified as Subjective Tests.
The output depends on the examination of one's own conscious
thoughts and feelings - which is a subject’s self evaluation.
The first personality assessment measures were developed in the 1920s and were intended
to ease the process of personnel selection (aka. Hiring, Recruitment),
particularly in the armed forces. Since these early efforts, a wide variety of
personality scales and questionnaires have been developed.
Today questionnaires have gained huge popularity across the globe in the area of
personality assessment because of its ease of construction and administration,
despite its serious limitations
such as social desirable responses, judgmental errors, lack of adequate self-insight (or
biased perceptions of others) and faking etc. (Faking is defined as deliberate provision
of “inaccurate responses to personality items in a manner that they believe will
increase their chances of obtaining valued outcomes, such as a favorable hiring
Estimates of how much the personality assessment industry
in the US is worth range anywhere from $2 and $4 billion a year (as of 2013).
Personality assessment is used in a wide range of contexts, including
individual and relationship counseling, clinical psychology,
forensic psychology, school psychology, career counseling,
employment testing, occupational health and safety and customer
A survey of 84 large organizations (with an average annual revenue of 45.7 billion
dollars) found that
- 66% of the organizations used personality testing for “high potential” employees
- and 57% used personality testing for senior executives.
Personality testing is now the second most common pre-employment
Further, 74% of US-based HR professionals believe
that personality testing can be useful.
Most of the instruments used today such as
Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI),
The Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaire (16PF),
The Comrey Personality Scales, and
Revised NEO Personality Inventory (NEO PIR)
are based on the Big Five and Five Factor Model of personality.