So, I’ve taken a personality test online before but out of curiosity I retook it recently to see if the results were the same. They were.
The reason for this came from looking at career advice and recruitment tips, recruiters promoting these tests –
Yes, I have noticed a bit of a trend in job seekers being told to take personality tests to see what types of jobs might work for them, a few recruiters even have links and explain the different types. I’m always curious when it comes to grouping and categorising people. On one hand I think it’s awful that something as unique and wonderful as a human can be categorised by some simple questionnaire, and history of culture and subculture studies tells us that people generally take issue with labels. On the other hand, in times when loneliness and misunderstanding seem more prevalent than ever, I think it’s a unique way to find commonalities with people and to drum up a different type of community, we don’t like to feel alone. We humans are complex things, we like to feel ‘normal’ but we want to be ‘unique’ too. We just want it all.
So the question is – are they useful?
Somewhat, is the answer. It depends what you’re looking for.
The biggest personality trait I think we’ve all come across somewhere is the contrast between introvert/extrovert. Some label themselves as one or the other, some have that label put on them, and well, sometimes it’s just not that simple. Instead of thinking of these two types as separate entities, try to think of them as a scale from 0 to 10. If I asked you all right now which one you were, most people can straight away declare themselves in one camp or the other. However, if I said an introvert was 0 and an extrovert was 10, you will find after a bit more contemplation that people will give you more variation, instead of solid 0’s and 10’s you will get 4’s, 7’s, and so on.
Well, the thing is we’re all just a bit of an oxymoron. No, I’m not insulting you, it means we’re contradictory. Personality is variable.
What do you mean?
Well, think about it this way – do you ever change how you act? Do you talk or even think the same way around every group of people? Some will argue that they may put on a different version of themselves, but that deep down it’s still the same person. However, there are some interesting theories and studies out there that show how environment and social factors can alter a person’s brain processes, how we use our brains! We are all influenced and at the same time influencers. Isn’t that amazing?
Taking a personality test is a bit of a direction, it’s not a definitive answer to who you are. There are many ‘tests’ like these and I’m sure as psychological sciences advance there will be many more to come.
If you’re looking for a few observations about which traits you seem to lean towards then go ahead, take a personality test. I took mine to see if what others have pointed out (and deep down I knew myself) was likely to be true, but take it with a pinch of salt. It’s a generic guidance tool, not a true definition of you as an individual, just because a test recommends that you should be a Lawyer but in reality you’re an Artist, it doesn’t mean you should throw down your paintbrushes and rush off to Law School – it means you have the potential tendencies seen in others from those fields.
If you’re thinking, Hey Charl! Where can I do one of those tests? I will say this – There are many tests out there, the one I took happened to be based off of The Myers–Briggs Type Indicator, and you can nerd up on it by clicking the link and see for yourself what it entails before taking any action – if you still want to take the one I took you can over on 16personalities.com using the link here or searching for it yourself online.
It’s definitely an interesting way to spend 15 minutes of free time.
Let me know what you think of personality tests, have they helped you?
… and finally hello to all my INTJ’s out there. 😀