WEST Wisdom Blog

7 Quick Tips to Get the Most Out of Personality Tests

Posted by Diana K. Anderson on Apr 30, 2020 8:00:00 AM
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Hooded person projecting teal smoke in front of head Image by Tom Roberts (dsQEmEfKuFg on unsplash.com)Personality tests can be powerful tools for personal and professional development. Here are seven quick tips to help you go deep with the insights that you get out of your next self-assessment.


#1 Don’t get meta!

No matter how genuinely private the results are, when taking these tests at work, we project a profile that we think our employers want. This can be part of people-pleasing. But for many of us, it’s our mind trying to analyze the question based on the context in which it was asked. This is where it’s easy to fall into a meta wormhole that eats the accuracy of your results by overfitting your responses.

The most effective way to mitigate this urge? Invest your personal time in your professional development. It’s far easier to respond openly about your love, or loathing, of meetings when the person who calls most of the meetings you attend isn’t sitting across from you.


#2‒Be intentional

You’re not just investing your time. Be present. You need your full attention and complete authenticity to be able to hear your truth.


#3‒To evolve, you must acknowledge and accept your current state

Approach personality profiles with self-awareness, self-acceptance and openness. In her work coaching STEM professionals, Kemi Sorinmade stresses the importance of cultivating self-acceptance and self-worth for ourselves as we are. Nobody can be what other people want them to be. By turning that acceptance and awareness towards others, we can then communicate more clearly. You can’t be what others want you to be. But improved communications will enable you to better understand the needs and motivations that shape other people’s behaviors.


#4‒Don’t overthink your responses

Your most authentic answer is the one that leaps up as soon as your mind has processed the question. Absolutely reread the question. But if your original interpretation of the question is viable, then go with that original answer.


WEST book reco: Everyone Communicates, Few Connect by John C. Maxwell (Affiliate link)#5‒Embrace the contextual vacuum

Let go of any contextual considerations not explicitly mentioned in the question or the overall assessment process. These questions are meant to distill a set of types from innumerable actual variations. This is achieved by stripping variables and presenting questions in a contextual vacuum.


#6‒Self-assessment is not a once-in-a-lifetime event

If the input changes, so does the output. Include self-assessments in your personal and professional development routines. Moments of transition, for example moving into your first management or executive role, are powerful moments for self-assessment. In new situations with unknown unknowns, self-knowledge is all the more crucial.


#7‒Effective personality tests shouldn’t remind you of the GRE

Most of the big-deal-for-a-reason personality assessments are time consuming. Even if you start out strong, after extended questioning or analysis, our minds tire. Our brain’s penchant for shortcuts, is a hallmark of its continuous self-optimizing to increase efficiency. Though normally quite effective, taking mental shortcuts on the backend of a personality test is like structuring curriculum around a standardized test designed to evaluate the curriculum.

A coach can help you identify the assessments and approaches that will work best for you. A professional development coach can help you navigate your self-critic and unconscious bias to get to your core truths. Perhaps even more importantly, a coach can help you pull the most relevant insights and apply them out of the vacuum in the full context of the real world.


In an upcoming WEST webinar, Kemi Sorinmade will use the DISC personality profile to teach you how to use your self-awareness to grow the range and efficacy of your communication skills. By cultivating your self-awareness, you will learn to communicate more clearly with other personality types, particularly those you tend to clash with most.

This article contains affiliate links. Using these links does not affect your purchase. It does help support WEST's mission and fund future WESTevents. Thanks in advance for your support!

Topics: Life, Coaching, Tools, Career Path, Leading Ourselves, Emotional Intelligence, Insight, Career Development, Assessment, Self-Reflection, #WESTevent, Change Management, Be Fearless, Be Brave, Competence, Webinar, Personality

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