Want to learn a bit more about yourself and how it can affect your career choices and career successes?
One of the ways that people can learn more about themselves, their likes/dislikes, their personality and how it relates to their career is through the use of a personality test. There are certainly plenty of them available and some employers will use them before hiring a person especially if the employer wants to hire a specific kind of person or wants to confirm certain things that they believe about the candidate.
I took my first personality test when I was in business school in my fourth year of university. We did the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator which is an extensive test that asks you to answer questions to help determine your personality and is based on Carl Jung's psychological type theory. Jung believed that the way people prefer to think and act was something that is either innate or learned. In other words the way we act is either something that we were born with or that we learned over time.
From the Wikipedia page on the subject:
Jung proposed the existence of two dichotomous pairs of cognitive functions:
The "rational" (judging) functions: thinking and feeling
The "irrational" (perceiving) functions: sensing and intuition
Jung went on to suggest that these functions are expressed in either an introverted or extraverted form.
You are asked a series of Yes/No questions and are asked to choose between two different positions to determine your personality type. Some examples of questions that might be found on the Myers-Briggs test include:
1. You are almost never late for your appointments
2. It's difficult to get you excited
3. You trust reason rather than feelings
4. You tend to sympathize with other people
5. When solving a problem you would rather follow
a familiar approach than seek a new one
So when I first did the test, my results came back as Introversion (I), Sensing (S), Thinking (T), Judgement (J) which results in an abbreviated 4 letter term, in my case ISTJ.
I later did the test again a few years later after I began working and had similar results.
What I remember about the test is that it asks questions and gets you to pick the answer that best describes you. Sometimes it's difficult to figure out which response best suits you while other times the decision is more straight forward.
I like these sorts of test and don't mind doing them. I take results with a grain of salt but I also think I'm a pretty good judge of character including my own and can look at myself with an open mind.
Why Your Personality Matters
OK, so the title of this post was Why Your Personality Matters but up until now I've only discussed aspects of personality tests and why they can be an interesting way to learn more about yourself.
What is it about your personality and the way you think that is so important?
If you look at the examples of questions found on the Myers-Briggs test mentioned above, even that short list probably conjures up examples of situations you've experienced, companies you've worked for and problems you've had to solve where you had to make one decision or another and typically your personality - along with other specifics of course - will at least help to determine which route you choose.
Certainly, the personalities of the people you're dealing with will certainly come into play too. So even while you're learning about yourself by doing a personality test, it also reminds that you that other people have their own personality too and understanding the various types that exist can only help.
The same goes for many other aspects of life. Take buying something for example. How could you categorize people's buying habits? One way would be to segment people as follows:
If you were a sales person, imagine how valuable it would be to know the shopping personality type of every customer you dealt with to know the process they used to purchase something? Short of that, knowing what cues to look for that would help you determine their shopping personality type would be a bonus.
If you were dealing with a bargain hunter, you'd know that they aren't necessarily loyal to any brand/company and are probably going to make their buying decision largely based on price.
Similarly, in a career setting it helps to know not only about the personality of people you work with but also people that you'll come into contact with during a job interview.
Understanding your work colleagues' personality can help you get things done quicker and more successfully. If you know that the colleague you're working with is the type of person who tends to procrastinate and not make decisions as quickly as you'd like, you'll know that you might need to push them along and not get frustrated when they delay things.
Understanding a hiring manager's personality who is interviewing you for a job helps you make a better connection and if necessary cut to the chase if you happen to be interviewing with a type A personality who just wants to know the facts and get short, concise answers from you without long, flowing responses.
Further, if you happen to find yourself in a career rut, aren't really sure where to go next in your career or wonder if you're even in the right job, taking a personality test can be the first thing you do to take a step back and actually learn something about yourself rather than just diving into another job search and applying for jobs that might not be any better than the one you have now.
Plus it can be a great way to confirm what you already know about yourself while also becoming more aware of why you make the decisions you do which can help you in both your personal and work life moving forward.
What's the next step?
You can do a Google search for "Myers-Briggs test" or "personality test" and probably find a few websites that will let you do a free test online to get you started.
If you want something quick that you can do right now, I'd suggest taking a free 5 minute online test that I found online from a company called iPersonic. It might be the first step to help you make some positive changes in your work life and at a minimum might help you learn a bit more about yourself.
You can see my results in the graphic at the top of this blog posting on the left hand side graphic and then take the free personality test just like I did!
From the result above, you'll see that I'm an Independent Thinker which I'm ok with.
To do your free personality test: click here.