The Personality Test & Your Career

Posted on Category: Career Management
The Personality Test

The Personality Test | Author: Susan Heim, President, Equity Career Transition

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in lifestyle and workplace changes across the world. We’ve not seen anything along this scale in generations. The changes could be dramatic in some workplaces. Many organizations are presently redefining roles and job functions to streamline themselves for growth in a brand new economic environment. Employees can expect changes, transfers to different roles and departments, and also job losses. If your workplace has started taking an introspective look at organizational structure, then it may also be time for you to do the same.

This is particularly true if your job has become a drag on your time and a source of stress. Many factors contribute to job dissatisfaction, including corporate culture, rapport with your supervisor and co-workers, etc. However, one important factor to consider is your own personality. Are you a good fit for your career path, in the first place? A personality test can help you identify factors that will allow you to work with, and not go against the grain of everything that naturally constitutes who you are.

What Is A Personality Test

Austrian psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud stipulated that the first five years of a human being’s life shapes our core personality. Your genes have much to do with this. And while it remains a fixed and stable foundation of you throughout your life, your upbringing, culture and environment also shape your personality blueprint.

A personality test is a series of questions and answers that provide insight into your thoughts, feelings and behaviours. It can predict traits that form the strengths and weaknesses of your personality. This issue is so important that in large organizations, human resources managers often deploy personality screening tools as the first step towards hiring the right candidate. It helps them predict whether the individual will fit in with the team and corporate culture, and respond to situations in a productive manner.

However, personality tests work both ways and this type of assessment can help individuals too. In particular, you might want to consider one if you are embarking on a job search or transitioning to a new role within your organization. As most of us spend a third or more of our day at work, why not ensure it is a good fit for who you are? Indeed, a good match between personality and career is the easiest way to thrive and succeed at work.

The Birkman Method

While there are many personality tests available to HR professionals, at Equity, we preferentially utilize the Birkman Method. This 70-year old, science-backed assessment tool stands out for its ability to shed light on not just your personality, but also on what motivates you and what triggers unproductive behaviour. It provides a multi-dimensional picture of who you are by evaluating behaviour, needs and interests.


You are most productive when you behave naturally. In this state, you will glide through projects and tasks efficiently, without expending extra energy. The Birkman Method refers to this as your Usual Behaviour. These behaviour patterns constitute your strengths and understanding them will allow you to objectively view how others experience you.


In a dynamic workplace, internal and external factors can impact your equilibrium, and cause you to deviate from your Usual Behaviour. The Birkman Method refers to this as Stress Behaviour. Needs constitute what you require from others as well as your environment to get back to Usual Behaviour. Understanding these needs will allow you to maneuver through, and even avoid, unproductive situations that inevitably occur at work to slow you down, like potholes on the highway.


We naturally gravitate to what we find interesting. Regardless of whether it is personal or professional, having clear insight into what turns your fancy will prove invaluable in keeping you energized and motivated in your career.

Practical Uses of A Personality Test

The Birkman Method is best undertaken with a certified professional trained on the assessment tools and interpretation of the answers. The personality test requires you to complete a 30-40 minute online questionnaire. Unlike simple quizzes commonly found in magazines, the Birkman Method uses scientifically-backed psychometrics. This is an objective field of psychology that measures skills, knowledge, abilities, attitudes, personality traits and educational achievement.

Once completed, we generate a profile of your personality traits. Using this information, we can advise you of the best career pathways that compliment your strengths and align with your fundamental values.

However, the Birkman Method can be used for so much more. The personality test allows us to arm individuals with strategies to smoothly integrate into new workplaces or transition to new roles. We can also use it to get teams performing effectively by identifying and resolving sources of conflict. We have even applied the Method to coach C-suite executives to effectively prioritize, strategize and make high-level decisions.

Career Coaching

At Equity, each client receives personalized career coaching. We often suggest a personality test to ensure you and your coach effectively move forward with a common understanding of what makes you tick. We can advise you about the marketplace, stakeholders and key factors that can impact your choices and decisions. In addition, we set milestones that are reasonable for your journey to help monitor your progress.

As needed, we will provide feedback and help you modify your approach. A job search can often be a discouraging exercise. Your personality test will help us keep you motivated, using a style that feels comfortable and right to you.

About The Author

Susan Heim | Equity Outplacement Services

Susan Heim is an experienced HR professional, with a vast career dedicated to coaching individuals, leadership development, performance management and recruitment.

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