Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Personality Assessments

There are so many and they are so different. I guess I won't be far off if I say that MBTI, DISC, 16PF, Social Styles, HBDI would be among the most often used ones. There are surely many more, addressing various personality aspects and often targeted for particular goals, e.g. in recruitment or selecting team members for an important task. You might wonder why so many, but let's think about e.g. HBDI and Social Styles, their frameworks being:

While HBDI focuses on the way our brain operates, Social Styles assessment targets the behavioral aspects. While there might be parallels and we can make assumptions (though those can be wrong) like "Analysts most certain have a Green brain", such assumptions will prove to be erroneous without corroborating data.

Why are those assessments important? We talked about the Johari Window before - expanding the open zone (your Arena) is the one way to make sure that you capitalize on your strengths and leverage your weaknesses. As Stephen Covey said, "First seek to understand than to be understood". This is in a very broad sense paraphrasing of Cicero's nosce te ipsum. It is incredibly powerful to realize what your powers and limitations are, even though sometimes we don't like our own reflections in the mirror, but it's unlikely being the mirror's fault.

The most recent assessment I have done myself was comparing my profile to executive benchmark position, which I did through Korn/Ferry International. I was slightly disappointed... An executive benchmark required much lower level of intellectual involvement with issues and less expert knowledge. At the same time, a flexible thinking style is a big no-no in the executive world, so I am not gaining points there. The last drop was the empathy scale. I know that some of my friends complained that my empathy is like that of a refrigerator, and still I scored above the benchmark. Question: what do I do with results like that? Does it mean that most likely an executive position is not such a great fit for me? Well, I scored high on other aspects... Do I need to exercise less flexibility? Do I need to be less intellectual in my approach to problems? Anyone knows how to do that? Suggestions on postcards please.

Final thoughts on assessments and job search. In other words, how can we increase our chances to hit that sweet spot at the intersection of our abilities, attitudes and employment reality? By doing assessments, and I am not limiting this to self-assessments only: by all means, an assessment center or a 360/720 can provide even more information about yourself than you are aware of (think of Johari window again). At the interview, I guarantee (100% assurance) that you will be asked about your strengths and maybe weaknesses. Well, those you get straight from the assessment results. Additionally, if you mention a couple of assessment instruments to the recruiters, you'll make their day and gain brownie points.

Have I convinced you to go and do your own personality inventory? :)


  1. Yes, after read this blog, I want to do myself assessment :)



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