Anyone who has casually surfed the internet recently is sure to have seen zany personality quizzes on Buzzfeed or Facebook that determine a quiz-taker’s personality by comparing it to that of a character, celebrity, food item or really anything else that will get clicks. Although these quizzes are just lighthearted fun with no real implications, the same cannot be said about professional personality tests. Professional personality tests, such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, the iNtuitive Feeling Perceiving test and the Big Five Personality Test are questionnaires that attempt to classify and analyze the subject’s personality and mental disposition. They often have many years of research behind them, and their results carry heftier ramifications. However, these tests should be taken with a grain of salt, as they can influence emotional growth and do not accurately predict how a person will act in the long run.
People naturally change their personality and temperaments over the course of years, or even months. If people think they are supposed to act a certain way in accordance to their result on a personality test, they will end up leading a cookie-cutter life and become stagnant.
Although personality tests are thoroughly researched and have significant backing from the scientific community, the results should not be used to evaluate or predict a subject’s long-term behavior.
In addition, the strategy of using these tests as a criteria for hiring employees has declined greatly in the last few years. According to the Cut-E Global Assessment Barometer released in 2016, 70 percent of the surveyed companies in 2012 used personality questionnaires for assessing their employees. By 2016, that percentage dropped to 24 percent. This sudden decrease in the use of personality tests is not at all surprising. The most popular personality tests were not designed to be used to evaluate possible employees, nor to assess how a subject will fare in the workplace. Moreover, it is likely that a potential employee would intentionally stray from the answers that they actually identify with and pick those that are perceived to be the more “correct” or attractive answers.
When used in the incorrect situation, personality tests can inhibit personal growth. People who use professional personality tests to either test themselves or evaluate other people should be wary of their implications and keep in mind the tests’ intended uses.
—Epstein, a junior, is a Sports Editor.