Personality Questionnaires

Personality questionnaires are often used as part of a more extensive assessment. It’s important to answer truthfully, even when you think an answer might not be the most desirable. Read more about personality questionnaires and what you can expect below.

Personality questionnaires

A personality questionnaire is a standardized instrument that measures personal characteristics and behavioral preferences. Employers are interested in different personality traits as indicators of job-relevant behavior. Personality questionnaires are commonly used in assessment centers and are used to assess candidates in all industries and sectors. These tests may be either online and unsupervised, online and supervised or in written form, through a pencil and paper test.

Why do employers use Personality Questionnaires?

Personality questionnaires are not concerned with your abilities, but more into gaining an understanding of who you are, the way you relate to others, how you approach problems and whether you would be able to perform well in a particular position.

Behavior is dependent on the situation and changes from one situation to another. Preparation for a psychometric personality questionnaire can help you remain calm and focused during the test.

You may have noticed that the personality test is usually referred to as a personality questionnaire. In the instructions of a personality questionnaire, there’s often stated that there are no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answers. This is not necessarily the case. A personality test is used for screening purposes. It serves as a tool that could help match a person with the selected criteria to a particular position. This means that there are indeed right and wrong answers, or good and bad personality profiles, that relate to the specific criteria set for the job. However, do not force yourself to pretend to be something you are not. Do not specifically look for ‘right answers’ or give ‘socially desirable’ answers. This may work against you.

A personality questionnaire can provide you with lots of information about yourself and your personality. This can be useful when determining what education to choose or what career to pursue. By ‘practicing’ a personality questionnaire before your assessment, you can get familiar with the type of questions and what results to expect.

Personality questionnaires, in general, are based on a small number of traits, for instance: the ‘big five’ personality traits questionnaire.

The ‘Big 5′ Personality Traits

  • Extraversion
  • Agreeableness
  • Conscientiousness
  • Neuroticism
  • Openness to new experience

The ‘Big Five’ is widely considered to be one of the most robust ways to describe personality differences. The 44-question inventory is based on questionnaires used in professional research settings. The questions will evaluate your personality on each of the ‘Big Five’ factors.


(outgoing/energetic vs. solitary/reserved)

Extroverts and introverts represent the opposite ends of a key personality trait that affects whether people prefer to work in groups or by themselves. This trait relates to assertiveness, enjoyment of human interactions or social settings and risk-taking. It includes characteristics such as excitability, sociability, talkativeness, assertiveness and high amounts of emotional expressiveness. Those that score high on this scale (extroverts) tend to be very social and direct their energy outwards to the external world of people and activities. Those that score low (introverts) prefer to work on their projects alone and are more self-contained. This does not necessarily mean that they are shy. Rather, it means that they gain energy by working alone while working together drains energy. This is reversed with extroverts.


Agreeableness is about the role you typically assume when interacting with others. This trait tends to be indicative of cooperation, kindness, and consideration of other people. High scorers are generally polite and easy to get along with. Low scorers tend to ‘tell it like it is.' This personality dimension includes attributes such as trust, altruism, affection, and other pro-social behaviors.


This trait applies to attention to detail, vigilance, organization and a desire to complete a task to the utmost ability. Typical features of this dimension include high levels of thoughtfulness, with good impulse control and goal-directed behaviors. How reliable or easy going a person is, tends to affect motivation at work as well as personal organization and self-discipline. Those high in conscientiousness tend to be organized and mindful of details.


Neuroticism relays the level of anxiety, the ability to deal with stress and how well one it able to maintain calmness under pressure. In other words, this personality trait relates to being emotional. Individuals high in this trait tend to experience emotional instability, anxiety, moodiness, irritability, and sadness.

Openness to new experience

Openness to new experience is the personality trait of seeking new experience and intellectual pursuits. This trait features characteristics such as imagination and insights, and those high in this trait also tend to have a broad range of interests. It refers to how readily an individual will take on new experiences or acceptance of non-conventional ideas, one’s level of creativity and attentiveness to inner thoughts and feelings.

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