Employers increasingly rely on personality profiles or work style assessments to select candidates who will mesh with the company’s environment. Although the evaluation results were not designed to be a stand-alone selection criterion, in fact the publishers usually dissuade such practices, job seekers on the Dice Discussions board say they have been eliminated after taking a pre-employment personality assessment, leading them to conclude that they somehow failed the test, even after being assured that the questions have no right or wrong answers.
There are many test publishers and lots of evaluations, making it difficult to “study,” but if you become familiar with your personality traits and preferences, over time you can develop your “softer side” and actually adapt your profile. Since many IT professionals work in teams for example, employers often look for candidates who are flexible and who are willing to collaborate when making decisions. If you indicate a strong preference toward working alone or making quick, solitary decisions, a prospective employer may think twice about hiring you or offer interviews to candidates with a less-dominant style. Other questions evaluate honesty and integrity, and answering “incorrectly” can eliminate you from consideration, even if you always follow the rules.
An Internet search will reveal numerous free online personality assessments. Once you complete several profiles, some patterns should start to emerge in the results. You can compare your personality traits and preferences to the job description to see how you match-up with the desired candidate; and having the added insight into your alignment can help you ace the interview. And while you don’t want to force your responses, because you want to be happy in the environment if you land the job, you can strive to eliminate troublesome behaviors that may eliminate you from consideration, by reading books or articles that will teach you how to flex your style, tame your temper or collaborate with teammates.
You can track your development progress by repeating the tests, and in the process, you will become familiar with the various questions and the traits they expose, which will give you an edge during future assessments. Each company or manager could be looking for a different personality type, which is why publishers say there is no right or wrong answer to a question, but you might be able to subdue certain traits that are rarely relished by co-workers and enhance your marketability in the process.
— Leslie Stevens-Huffman