Home DH-Debate
1. Personality Test is important for Career
3. Cattell 16PF Scales

2. Know Yourself - Different Types of Test Behavior

The first precondition for manipulating a personality test is that you know how you will react yourself during a test, and how you in general see yourself.

Below is a very simple self-test, which can give a clue on how you will feel yourself in relation to that to participate in a test. It also illustrates, which personality traits, different types of statements typically score on.

Highlight the test form and print it out. Hide the scoring list with a piece of paper and fill out the form as honestly as possible.

It is allowed to respond to more statements for each question.

Remember that nobody will see it. When it is finished, it can be put directly into the trash can.

The test form is also a useful review of typical questions in personality tests, with a visible scoring list. There are hundreds of different personality tests, and they often resemble each other.
Anxiety Fatalism Balanced Over-confident
1. Think back to the times, when you have passed the exam. Which of the following statements best matches the feelings you had then.
a) Set up, ready for battle ____
b) Nervous ____
c) Afraid of you will not stand up to your best ____
d) Eager to get it over with ____
e) Surprised that you liked the situation ____
f) You felt the whole situation was unfair ____
g) Concentrated, slightly nervous and ready to do your best ____
2. Do you think your score was a result of:
a) How intelligent you are ____
b) How hard you have studied ____
c) The scores have nothing to do with your real abilities ____
d) The scores just reflect how nervous you were ____
3. When applying for a job, you expect :
a) That they will not give any answer ____
b) That they immediately want to take you on ____
c) That you will get a polite refusal ____
d) That you will be asked to an interview, where you will fail ____
4. When you feel insecure, you will then:
a) Hide it from the others ____
b) Try to understand why you feel unsecure ____
c) You never feel insecure ____
d) You fear that you will talk too fast ____
5. Which of the following statements describes best how you feel about the way, you present yourself :
a) Very confident ____
b) Rather confident ____
c) Average confident ____
d) Not very confident ____
e) Totally lacking confidence ____
6. Which of the following statements best describes, what you will do to manage as good as possible in an interview situation
a) I take what comes. In this way I feel more relaxed ____
b) I prepare myself very thoroughly by finding as much information about the company as possible ____
c) In reality fate decides everything ____
d) I prepare myself a little, but not very much ____
7. Which of the following will give you a good feeling in a stressful job situation
a) Being smartly dressed ____
b) To have relevant information ____
c) That you have a good horoscope for the day. ____
d) I very rarely have a good feeling at work ____
8. Do you think about successfull people that:
a) They are lucky ____
b) They work hard for their success ____
c) They're just born with a silver spoon in mouth ____
d) They are smarter and more dynamic than we are ____
9. The key to getting a job is:
a) Having the right connections ____
b) To have good references ____
c) To have relevant experience for the job ____
10. You managed to come to an interview, but you did not get the job that you had hoped. Do you think it was because:
a) There were better candidates ____
b) The interviewer did not like you ____
c) You did not have a good day, and you failed to show your best traits ____
d) Just bad luck ____
e) It was not the right job for you ____
11. Before applying for a position will you then :
a) Discuss it with your wife or girlfriend ____
c) Discuss it with all your friends ____
c) Keep it completely for yourself. ____
12. When you feel nervous, will you then feel worried:
a) That you will be too forced ____
b) That you are going to sweat ____
c) That you will not know what to say ____
d) I never feel nervous ____
e) That you are going to talk too fast ____
13. As soon as you come through the gate of a new company:
a) You will try to assess how it is. ____
b) You know if it is the right place for you ____
c) You will feel impressed. Everyone here seems to be much smarter. ____
Total : ____ ____ ____ ____
There are 18 possible scores for anxiety, 9 for fatalism, 14 for balanced and 14 for over-confidence. So you can calculate your scoring percentages against each of those test behaviour types.


Detecting excessive anxiety is in the focus of human resources consultants' efforts. If they believe to have revealed excessive anxiety in a candidate, he has lost, despite his experience and exam papers.

In a test situation, we all will feel some level of anxiety. It is the feeling that now it's serious, and it can also be a defeat if we are not careful.

There is a psychological law, called the "Yerkes Dodson Law". It states that people will perform their best, only when they have a moderate feeling of anxiety.

A person, who does not feel anxiety at all, will be relatively indifferent to, whether he is doing good or bad, and he will not perform his best in a test.

A person, who has a high level of anxiety, can have all the symptoms that we associate with anxiety. He will sweat and speak too fast, and he can make stupid mistakes. He seems forced and can have difficulty finding something to say.

His preparations for a test must first and foremost, be designed to prevent excessive nervousness.

In the subject of sports psychology methods for prevention of exaggerated anxiety have been developed. They say that the sportsman the day before the competition or match must imagine the whole process. He should start with the trip to the station, then comes the change of clothes, entrance on the sports field, the competition itself, the victory and the receiving of the medal on the podium, while the national anthem is being played.

In a similar way, you can counteract excessive nervousness in advance of a test or an interview by detailed to imagine the whole cycle in the same way.

It's good to feel respect for the opponent in both football and personality test. But excessive respect for the counterpart will create excessive nervousness and consequently a poor result.

An erroneous perception of personality test
The human resources consultants are not superior brain scrutinizers.

You must avoid thinking of the human resources consultants as superior brain scrutinizers, who simply open up the skull of the applicant and find his deepest secrets.

Human Resources staff is undoubtedly quite ordinary persons, you must imagine. Most likely they once studied to a bachelor in economy or similar, they failed in a lot a lot of subjects, because they cared more about the Friday bar and skiing trips to Norway than the study. They have been lucky enough to find a routine job with creating statistics from completed questionnaires from personality tests. The test itself most likely has been bought ready-made from a company in the US.

A test taker prone to excessive anxiety should focus on the psychological preparations for the test or the interview. He may follow the sports psychologist's advice and visit the location of the test some days before and familiarize himself with the surroundings. See the last chapter on practical test behavior.

Too much anxiety is not a good characteristic for a candidate. Companies make big efforts to avoid such employees. One of the main objectives of personality test is to identify that sort of people. Therefore, if you want the job, you must absolutely avoid to scoring too much on anxiety.

It would be wise to return to the table above and once more study all the types of statements that scores on anxiety. Thus you will be able to recognize them and avoid them when it counts.


Deep in our hearts, many of us have an idea that there is something or someone superior that watches over us.

A conscious or unconscious belief that the gods are on our side and that we, in the long run, are predestined to success, can be a good thing. It gives optimism and strength during hardship.

But some believe so strongly that their destiny is predetermined that they do not feel that their own actions will make any real difference.

In China once lived a man, who was God very devoted. He went to church both morning and evening and observed all religious rules to the last details.

One day the dikes burst and the entire area was flooded. The man sought refuge on the roof of his house. However, the roof broke away and floated around on the enormous water surface. The very religious man prayed unceasingly to God to be saved.

After a few days, a helicopter came. They lowered a rope ladder. It was flapping hither and thither in the wind from the helicopter rotor blades. The religious man was not young, and he did not think it was suited for him as a dignified man to climb such a slender rope ladder. The helicopter then flew away.

The next day a ship came by. It was already crowded with hungry and filthy refugees, although there were still some inches deck space and little freeboard left. But the very religious man did not want to go with this kind of ship.

After a few more days he drowned. As a man very loyal to God, he went directly to Heaven. Here he met God.

He blamed God: "I have been devoted to you all my life. Why you didn't you save me?".

God replied: "You certainly did not want to be saved. First, I sent a helicopter, but you did not want to go with it. Then I sent a ship and you refused to go onboard."

Gods and destiny help those, who help themselves.

Companies are generally not interested in candidates who are inclined to let fate take its course and find it difficult to make decisions that intentionally interferes with the "natural" development of events.

A too strong belief that events are predetermined by Destiny or the Gods, is not a good characteristic in job seeking. Therefore, you should generally avoid to scoring on fatalism, if you want the job.

The fatalistic test taker types will be inclined not to prepare themselves well enough to tests and interviews, both mentally and intellectually.

It's a good idea to return to the chart above and study all those types of statements that score on fatalism.

Although, many types of personality tests are all different, then they nevertheless have many common features. It is possible to recognize statements that score on fatalism and avoid them.


The balanced test taker type is the hero of the game. It is mainly him, the companies want.

He seeks to see through his opponents in the game, the company and the consultants. He estimates realistic his own possibilities and limitations. He seeks to find out what possibly went wrong, and how it next time may be adjusted within the limits of the practical possible.

No matter what type of position involved, one should try to score as much as possible on the balanced, analytical and constructive personality.

Note that the statements in the chart above, which score on the balanced personality, are down-to-earth and constructive. He tries to play the cards, that he happens to have in hand, as favorably as possible.

Over Confident

Some are born with an unshakable belief in their own excellence; I'm the best, they seem to think. They feel that nothing is impossible for them, it is simply a question of taking the initiative, focus and use throughout their willpower on the matter. Then anything is possible. One can say, they consider themselves to be a kind superhuman.

Overconfident persons are lacking respect for the cruel inexorable reality with its ruthless laws of nature. It is not everything that can be done. The real world cannot be modeled completely arbitrarily.

It is not good to score heavily on overconfidence.

But for positions that involve customer contact, many companies prefer candidates, who to some extent score on excessive confidence. Such applicants will find it easier to create good contact with customers, it is assumed.

Persons, who score highly on overconfidence in the form above, will be inclined not to take challenges completely seriously. Maybe they will not read through the test questions properly and thereby misunderstand them. They will read the beginning and then think, well this is this and that and then start answering.

People with overconfidence will tend to have their opinions about the world around them, and they are absolutely sure that this is right. They lack the little gnawing worm in their mind that constantly reminds them that they could be wrong. It had happened before.

A Personality disorder test can teach us something about the types of question, we should be careful about:

"Dispositionism" describes that we are predisposed to certain kinds of behavior called personality types. The opposite is "Situationism", which describes that all of us adjust our behavior to the situation. "Let us drop all this dispositionism nonsense and adopt situationism" writes Aaron Swartz's in his blog: Stanford: Psychology is a Fraud - Raw Thought

Kenneth Lyen writes that there are three arguments against personality test:

1. If we assume that there really are constant personality types, i.e. predisposetions against certain types of behavior, then the tests are not able to measure them. Walter Mischel criticized the tests for this.

2. There may be objective personality types, but personality is too complex to be measured with today's primitive test.

3. Personality Test exploit "Barnum effect ". People are eager identifying with vague descriptions of themselves. See: Mistyping Personality - by Kenneth Lyen

Moreover, there is Annie Murphy Paul's criticism: There is perhaps stable personality traits of introversion or extroversion and most likely also for aggressive or not-aggressive dispositions, but all the rest, for example the last 14 of Cattell personality traits, are not constant. We are all able to adapt our behavior to the situation, furthermore possible dispositions will change over time and as result of our life experiences.

See a basic guide on how to pass a personality test: How to pass a pre-employment personality test - by Yevgeni

In U.S. retail and mail order companies a test called "Unicru" is widely used, the test had got many opponents among applicants. The author Timothy Horrigan from Indiana presents the "right" answers to the test questions on: Some Answers to the Unicru personality test

He writes that the real answer is either "Strongly Agree" (SA) or "Strongly disagree" (SD). He's probably right, but such response will arouse suspicions of cheating. Just try to spice it with some "Agree" or "Disagree" as one think proper.

In an article in "The Wall Street Journal" Test for Dwindling Retail Jobs Spawns a Culture of Cheating Vanessa O'Connell writes about the problems with the increasingly extensive personality tests in recruitment.

We think it is exaggerated to call it cheating, just because applicants prefer to put themselves in a favorable light. This is just what any seller does all the time.

Gps writes on Great Plains sceptic: Sentence Completion Tasks - Science or Pseudoscience? , which is a test that had beome rather popular.

See also his article about: Projective Figure Drawings - Science or Pseudoscience? .

This article is a contribution to the debate on personality tests and Dalum Hjallese Debate Club assumes no liability for a use of the article in real life.
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