Personality Tests: A Brief Overview
Personality can be simply defined as a set of qualities or traits that determine how an individual responds to any given situation. Many people consider personality an interesting topic because it answers the question “Why do we behave the way we do?”
Personality testing has a long and fascinating history starting in the Classical antiquity with Greek physician Galen’s four humors theory, which suggested that human behaviour was a result of the levels of four key bodily fluids in the human body. While Galen’s theory proved to be inaccurate, the previous century has seen personality measurement become far more accurate by emphasizing self-reported psychological states over underlying biological aspects.
Modern personality tests are almost always self-report questionnaires that measure personality by asking people to report ‘how frequently’ they engage in behaviours. The answers are then aggregated to determine general personality characteristics or traits. You may have heard the names or even attempted some popular tests such as the Myer-Briggs, DISC and NEO-PIR.
Nowadays, personality testing for the purposes of work is quite commonplace, especially for recruitment of new employees and professional development of current employees. During employee selection, personality tests are applied because organisations want to ensure that the people they recruit match the requirements and environment of the organisation. To achieve a good match, organisations attempt to recruit people with particular trait(s) (levels) that suit organisational requirements. For example, an organization for which collaboration is essential to its core business may be detrimentally affected by hiring workers who prefer to work independently.
Through extensive research, it is possible to identify personality traits that significantly benefit a particular organization’s performance and culture. This is what we are trying to achieve in the current project using the HEXACO personality inventory.
The HEXACO Personality Inventory
The HEXACO self-report personality inventory was published in 2004 and has since gained international popularity. Currently, it has been translated to over 20 languages and has been shown to be the most accurate predictor of personality according to research evidence. The HEXACO inventory measures six personality inventories:
- Humility (H)
- Emotionality (E)
- eXtraversion (X)
- Agreeableness (A)
- Conscientiousness (C)
- Openness to Experience (O)
Research in a large number of countries showed that these six personality dimensions provide the best “summary” of someone’s personality.
The HEXACO report function on this website displays your result on these personality dimensions. To compute your results, your self-ratings on the HEXACO are compared to the self-ratings of a large group of other people. When you score low this means that other people rate themselves higher. When you score high this means that other people rate themselves lower. Please note that higher scores are not necessarily better and lower scores are not necessarily worse!
The report consists of texts that explain how your scores can be interpreted and graphs that show how you rated yourself compared to other people. When interpreting your scores keep in mind that self-reported personalities inventories are not always accurate. It is possible that you do not describe your behaviour the same way as others describe theirs, because -for example- you do not know yourself very well or you are extremely self-aware. To obtain a more accurate image of your personality we suggest to combine this (self-)report with reports of others who know you well, such as your colleagues, parents, partner or children.