How to be a good interviewer
Being a good, effective interviewer requires more than just having a charismatic personality.
Personality tests (aka personality questionnaires or assessments) measure your preferred style and approach at work. They are not typical 'tests' as they do not have right or wrong answers.
They can measure a range of different aspects about your personality, such as the way you behave around others, your approach to tasks and decisions, your emotional style and the values and motivations that drive you at work.
Employers use personality questionnaires to:
Help to understand the fit between the demands of a job and the personality, motivations and values of the individual
Encourage people to develop a greater level of self-awareness through understanding the results of the questionnaire
Provide an understanding of development needs and aspirations to facilitate career progression
The results from a personality test are usually combined with information from other tools and activities, such as application forms, development centres and interviews, which can give you the opportunity to comment and elaborate on your responses to the questionnaire.
Obviously if you’re taking your personality questionnaire online, then it won’t be possible to get there early, but the equivalent is making sure you complete it comfortably within the deadline set by the employer.
You should also be mentally early by being prepared and starting your test from a place of calm confidence that will help you (hopefully) perform at your best. We advise completing any psychometrics in a quiet room where you won’t be interrupted or rushed for time, and have access to a secure internet connection.
If you do have to physically turn up at an assessment centre to take your personality questionnaire, then it’s important to arrive with plenty of time, and to dress well so as to make a good impression on whoever will be overseeing the test.
Once the test has begun you should only take a short amount time to consider your responses before answering, as often your first responses will be the most accurate. It sounds basic but make sure you read the instructions and the questions before responding.
Try not to overthink your answers and go with your gut feeling.
Remember, there are no rights or wrongs when it comes to personality; only your tendencies and preferences, which may or may not be a good match with those of a particular organisation.
You’d be surprised how many people get caught out by this and answer questions thinking about how they act outside the work environment.
While you do need to be honest, it’s important to answer in relation to how you perform in a work based environment. You might be the most sociable and chatty person in the world at home, but if you’re not that person at work then it’s best to show this side of you in your answers.
When taking a psychometric test of any kind it can be easy to be vague and not give definitive answers.
While it can often feel like the safe option, selecting neither agree nor disagree often makes you appear non-committal.
Taking the middle ground and sitting on the fence too much may lead people to believe you are indecisive, lack conviction and unable to make even easy decisions. In short, it’s a surefire way of getting your application fast tracked into the no pile.
Of course, if you really are somewhere in the middle for certain traits, that’s fine; no one expects you to be at the extremes for everything. Simply try and reflect your personality in your responses as best you can.
Following on from the previous point, strongly agreeing or strongly disagreeing with everything may make you seem overly opinionated and can may even come across as being aggressive.
Aim for balance.
Obviously if you do feel strongly about something then it’s fine to answer in that manner, just be careful not to overdo it. We advise that you use the full breadth of the rating scale to best portray yourself.
The way psychometrics are built means it is difficult to intentionally game the results in your favour.
If you do your research on the company beforehand then by studying their values and culture you can gain a good idea of the type of person they’re looking for. Knowing this will then allow you to match your more relevant skills and qualities to the role you’re applying for.
However it is important to try and remember not to answer in way that makes the recruiter think you’re only saying what they want to hear. Just be as honest as possible and try to answer everything in context to your previous/current work life. After all, honesty is the best policy.
Personality questionnaires are known for asking similar variations of the same question multiple times. If you’re being dishonest or giving the answers you think they want to hear, then it can be difficult to remember what you answered earlier on in the test.
If you genuinely believe strongly in something then your answers will reflect this regardless of how many times you’re asked or how the question is phrased.
Personality tests measure a candidate's personality in a work based environment and help recruiters find the candidate that is the best fit for the role being applied to.
The best thing you can do is take a few practice tests beforehand so you become used to the format and style of the assessment. Remember there are no wrong answers in a personality test, so try not to feel too nervous.
There are a number of practice tests available online with a quick Google search. If you can find out the assessment provider beforehand, you will be able to practice the right type of assessment.
Generally speaking personality tests don't have set time limits for completion, although you will usually have to complete the questionnaire in one sitting. While many will save your progress if you do need to momentarily stop, this can slow your momentum and could have a negative impact on how you answer.
Whilst we recommend taking any assessment in a place with a reliable internet connection, sometimes things do go wrong. If this does happen please contact the HR team or test supplier to request a reset that allows you to start the test again.
If you need more information check out our What is a Psychometric Test blog post.