It’s Never Too Early to Prepare for Your Interview: Top Tips for Passing Your Pre-Employment Personality Test

Personality assessment preparation tips

It is never too early to start thinking about landing that first job after your MBA. With student loans weighing heavy, you need to do everything in your power to land a high-paying job. Look to your left and to your right—the competition is fierce. The same thought and precision that went into acing your GMAT needs to be applied to landing your next big job. We are living in a metric-based society. Whether it be how many likes and comments on social media, or household product ratings on Amazon, the trend toward scoring is ever-increasing, and the employment sector has hopped on the metrics bandwagon. Though recruiters have differing opinions on personality tests as an indicator of  fit, the use of pre-employment personality assessments increases by as much as 20% per year. Why has this trend has been growing and what does it mean for you as a candidate? 

Why have pre-employment personality tests become more popular in recent years?

In this competitive job market, employers are looking for workers who not only have the technical skills and know-how to get the job done, but also will be a good fit for the position and company in terms of personality. In the age of online job applications, a single open position can have hundreds, if not thousands, of applicants. Employers deal with the high volume by filtering out candidates that do not possess the on-paper qualities required for the job. Once you pass the first hurdle and make it to the interview, employers want to ensure you have the ideal personality profile for the job. From the world of online dating, we all know that what someone writes on paper is not always what you get in person. When an employee's job does not match their personality and character, they are often less engaged in their work. According to Gallup, low employee engagement results in 21% lower productivity and 45% higher turnover. Since recruiting, hiring, and training new employees is expensive, companies want to do all they can do minimize turnover. Pre-employment personality tests are a simple way of preemptively minimizing this turnover.

What are some of the most common personality assessments used by top companies?

The Caliper Profile

The Caliper Profile estimates how an individual's personality will impact his or her job performance. The test features a few different types of questions. Most questions take the form of a series of statements, and you must select the statement that you agree with most or least. You may also need to answer true/false questions as well as multiple-choice questions in which you select your answer on a five-degree scale, from "strongly agree" to "strongly disagree." The Caliper Profile evaluates both your positive and your negative qualities, providing employers with a complete picture. This is one of the most popular tests on the market.

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

Perhaps the most well-known personality test out there, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) classifies your personality into the following categories: extraversion vs. introversion, intuition vs. sensing, thinking vs. feeling, and judging vs. perceiving. There are 16 personality types, and while no type is better or worse, some are more suited to specific professions and companies. The MBTI is usually used by employees to find out if a candidate would be a good cultural fit.

The SHL Occupational Personality Questionnaire

The SHL Occupational Personality Questionnaire assesses candidates' behaviors that can influence their work performance. The SHL examines candidates' personality in three domains: "relationship with people," "thinking style and feelings," and "emotions." You are be presented with four statements, and you must choose the statement that best describes you.

The Hogan Personality Inventory (HPI)

The Hogan Personality Inventory (HPI) consists of 206 true/false questions that must be completed in 15 to 20 minutes. It is designed to measure a candidate's temperament and their suitability for a given role.


The DiSC Behavior Inventory (DiSC)

The oldest of the personality tests, the DiSC categorizes your personality according to four factors: dominant, influential, steady, and compliant. The DiSC is used by employers to understand employees' professional behavioral profile and their ability to work in a team. The DiSC asks candidates to choose the phrase or adjective that they feel describes them best.

How should you prepare for a pre-employment behavioral assessment?

You should keep a few things in mind when facing a personality test. First, it is important to try and find out which personality test you will be expected to take if possible. I advise you begin by practicing for the Caliper Personality Test, if you can’t determine the exact test you will be facing, as it includes the basic components of any pre-employment personality assessment. Second, you should be true to yourself. Answer questions honestly, and the test will serve as a tool to help you find the right job. You don't want to waste your time at a job which is ill-suited for your personality and goals.

Some key points to remember about pre-employment personality testing:


  • Be honest and forthcoming
  • Practice beforehand
  • Answer questions according to your behavior at work, not at home
  • Ask for the results of your test and learn from them

Why should you prepare?

When you take a pre-employment personality assessment, you are giving employers an overview of your learning ability, work habits, and preferences. This is often their first glimpse into who you are. You may view personality in terms of a set of innate traits, but the truth is that there are aspects of your personality that you should emphasize, or downplay, in your job application process. While it may seem unfair to base hiring decisions off something as subjective as personality, the tests can accurately predict future performance. Considering that up to 53% of job applicants falsify their resume (Society of Human Resources Management, 2003), personality assessments are a valuable tool for employers to better understand candidates. If you practice beforehand and answer questions honestly based on your workplace behavior, personality tests can be a win-win for both you and your future employer. 

Ilana Klok
Written by Ilana Klok

This article was contributed by Ilana Klok. She is a pre-employment testing expert at JobTestPrepShe specializes in writing about the use of tests in the employment hiring process. 

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