Posted by: Francesca Di Meglio on August 1, 2008
Think self-assessment tests are just for aspiring MBAs? Well, this reporter, who has never even thought about going to business school, decided to try her hand at a personality test – and the results were surprising.
When I read the directions to the Keirsey Temperament Sorter – II, I was not sure the personality test could deliver on its promises. The test provides an “opportunity to learn more about yourself and your preferred styles of expression and behavior as an individual and to begin recognizing the styles of others around you,” I read. What could some test that takes no more than 40 minutes to complete tell me about myself that I don’t already know?
Well, it did not tell me that much about my personality that I didn’t already know. But it did confirm a great many things, provide proof of my skills and qualities, which can come in handy when speaking to prospective clients or my bosses, and offered the chance for self reflection.
Like most self-assessment and personality tests, the KTS-II had me answer a series of questions about myself. It’s true when the administrators of this test say you have to be honest in your answers. If you respond the way you think you should instead of just being truthful, you won’t get results that will help you get to know yourself better, which defeats the entire purpose of taking these tests.
I feel I was honest in my answers. I learned that I’m a Guardian Provider leader. In other words, I lead by nurturing. “In any environment, you are focused on making people happy and facilitating harmonious relationships,” according to my results. “You lend ‘aid and comfort’ by drawing on tradition, past experience, convention, and the direction of authority.”
Work that requires maintaining personal relationships, such as sales and personal service, is a great fit for me, according to the results. With these results, I join the ranks of other Guardians including George Washington and Barbara Walters.
This is very true (although I’m not really sure if the scoop on George Washington is accurate since he’s a bit before my time). The results of the self-assessment test made me realize that I should better capitalize on my ability to help others and that I should be attentive to my allegiance to authority. Sometimes my reverence for superiors and tradition prevents me from embracing or fighting for the new.
Also, apparently, I, a freelance writer who works from home all by her lonesome, would not be very good at solitary projects. At least, that’s what the results told me. But I asked Edward J. Kim, the vice president of Enterprise Services for Keirsey about this particular finding and stressed my concerns. “Often we adjust and can adapt to different circumstances and situations. This is a general statement about most people who are your type. For the Guardian Provider, they generally will thrive in an environment where they have the opportunity to work in collaboration with others,” responds Kim in an e-mail. “So, if you have these social needs met elsewhere, you probably can do quite well working independently. I would worry about a person who is a Guardian Provider who lives as a total hermit—as their need for social interaction is higher than most other types.”
More than satisfied with my work situation at this time, I decided to eat up Kim’s explanation of this finding and move on. Other than that one result, it was as if the test had known me my whole life. Even relatives of mine who heard the results were impressed by the accuracy – except for the bit about the solitary projects, of course.
If I were to apply to business school or any other graduate program or if I was looking for a new career, I might find taking one of these tests helpful. Self-assessment and personality tests give you a starting point for application essays and interviews. They draw out the traits in you about which an employer would want to know. Self-assessment tests also force you to think about who you are, what skills you possess, and where you are going. That's never a bad thing.