Ask psychologists about the validity of workplace personality tests, and you’re likely to get many different answers.


Despite the controversy that often surrounds personality tests, they're not going away anytime soon. Such tests are likely to continue to use questions such as:

Do you consider yourself an eccentric person?

What are your political views?

What do you like to do in your spare time?

Outside of seemingly benign questions about your hobbies (which probably say little about your ability to do the job), questions about your political views are invasive. So why are so many workplaces doing personality tests? Believe it or not, personality tests as we know them today have been used in workplaces since the 1930s. And today, personality testing is a multi-billion-dollar business. According to social psychologist Nick Haslam, the goal is to predict who will perform best in a particular job.

Furthermore, Haslam claims that good personality tests are backed by 'solid scientific evidence. He says the best assessments are based on the  Big Five personality test. The Big Five are openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness and neuroticism (or emotional stability). However, Haslam believes one of the biggest names in personality tests—the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)—is 'problematic'*. Experts are generally divided on how and when personality tests should be used in workplaces because our personality doesn't just shape our behaviour, skills and abilities.


*See Runway Post:  Why everyone’s favorite personality test is BS 


Oct 2018 Scientific American How Accurate Are Personality Tests?

Mar 2021 The Guardian 'They become dangerous tools': the dark side of personality tests

Jun 2021 Forbes Should Personality Assessments Be Used In Hiring?

Oct 2021 ABC Everyday Job interviews are getting longer and more demanding. Here's how to handle it

FEB 2019 ABC Psychologists say personality is all about the 'Big Five' traits — what are they?

AUG 2019 WIRED How is the internet still obsessed with Myers-Briggs?

OCT 2019 NESS LABS The comforting pseudoscience of the MBTI