Psychology tells us that our personality type has a big impact on our life. It’s no wonder that free online personality tests and personality quizzes and analyses like Myers Briggs, 16 Personalities and the Big Five are so popular to take. Which personality test is right for you? Well, it depends in part on what you’re looking to find out.
Some of us simply want to better understand ourselves while others are trying to figure out why and how we build certain kinds of relationships. Personality tests are becoming more important when it comes to getting a job as well. Increasingly, pre-employment personality tests are being used by employers and job candidates themselves to try to identify the best jobs and career paths, which is why we carve out a special section for job and career-related personality tests.
Regardless of why you take a personality quiz or aptitude test, the fact of the matter is that it can be enjoyable to indulge in a bit of navel-gazing from time to time. Just don’t take these test results too seriously. After all, one prominent critic, Professor Adam Grant, has called one of the most widely known and taken personality tests, the Myers-Briggs, “a fad that won’t die” whose accuracy is somewhere between a “horoscope on one end and a heart monitor on the other.”
If you’re curious and uninitiated with personality quizzes and self-report inventories (i.e. self-serve psychological tests) to assess your individual personality (but that are not IQ tests), the following 18 tests are free and fun -- even for those who don't consider themselves great test takers:
Full Fledged Personality Tests
The Myers-Briggs, 16 Personalities and Big Five personality tests tend to be the best-known for a reason. They are full-fledged analyses, and there are versions administered by official assessment providers (which usually involve some sort of cost, but also come with a certification). If you’re very serious about understanding your official results, you may want to go that route but there are plenty of free, online approximations which you can use to get a sense of them first:
1. Myers-Briggs Personality Test
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (also known as MBTI) test is the one responsible for the fact that people call themselves a combination of four letters like “ENTJ” or “INTP”. This personality test will look very similar to those who have taken the 16 Personalities test or the Jung Typology test (both discussed below) because the 16 Personalities test is a mashup of the Myers-Briggs and Jung Typology tests. The original Myers-Briggs test taken through the organization is not free (it costs $49.95) but there are plenty of free online imitations out there.
2. 16 Personalities
Maybe you thought there were a lot more than just 16 personality types, but like Myers-Briggs, the whole idea is that the combination of four different characteristics defines our personality. Usually this test takes people less than 20 minutes. You answer the extent to which you agree or disagree with statements such as “You consider yourself more practical than creative,” or “You try to respond to your emails as soon as possible and cannot stand a messy inbox.”
Then, at the end of the 16 Personalities Test, you’re told where you fall on 4 different spectrums: (1) how much you like to make decisions versus keeping your options open; (2) how much you’re a details versus big-picture person; (3) how much you make choices based on emotion versus logic; and (4) how much you think aloud versus think before you speak. Some of these tests will categorize your results into memorable archetype names such as “Defender” or “Commander.”
3. The Big Five Personality Test
Most professional psychologists use the Big Five model of personality to describe personality differences. This test will take you approximately 15 minutes and require you to answer about 50 questions. The 5 factors have been defined as openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and neuroticism, often listed under the acronyms, CANOE or OCEAN.
The Big Five personality traits are considered to have high reliability, internationally applicable and even have basis in genetics and biologyg, such that neurologists have done work to map brain regions to these five traits.
4. The HEXACO Personality Inventory Test
For those who are not satisfied with measuring personality only along five dimensions, the HEXACO test adds a sixth element to the Big Five Personality Test (hence the “H”). H stands for the “honesty-humility domain” and is factored into these 100 questions that require roughly 15 minutes of your time.
Psychometric Tests and Career Assessment Type Personality Tests
5. Human Metrics’ Jung Typology Test
Similar to 16 Personalities, this personality test asks for your level of agreement with questions that ask how you interact with others and think or feeling about things. This free personality quiz is based on Carl Jung and Isabel Briggs’ Myers methodology which underpins the 16 Personalities test but the output is framed as both a personality assessment as well as a career assessment of which jobs and professions are best suited to different types of people.
6. The PI Behavioral Assessment
The Predictive Index is mainly used by employers in the recruiting process and talent management process to “objectify workplace behaviours so you can predict the drives and motivations of others, be a better manager and communicate more effectively.” In short, it's trying to optimally match job seeker types and hiring managers for job performance based on a person's abilities. For that reason alone, it might be worth taking if you’re interested in working at one of the companies that uses this assessment. While it is a testing service sold to employers who want to understand employee drives and patterns, a free version is available so long as you submit your company information, and we think it’s worth the time to become familiar with this test, especially since a prospective employer may use it!
7. Career Values Assessment by MyPlan
MyPlan is a website that offers many career planning tools, including career assessments. Career Values Assessment is one of their free career assessments, which they describe as 20 questions which will take you 12 minutes to complete. The end result a description of how you with six core work values such as recognition, achievement, independence, relationships, support and working conditions, as well as a rank ordering of your needs. To make it even more useful, you’ll get a ranking of hundred of job titles reflecting your answers.
8. Career Clusters Interest Survey
This is not necessarily a full-on personality test, but this is a very interesting career assessment based on answers to questions about your personality type and activities you enjoy or things you like studying. The test takes 5-10 minutes and will result in a series of career clusters that was designed by university career services centers.
9. The MAPP Career Test
Since launching in 1995, more than 8 million people have taken this free assessment to help determine a better fit job or career. The test takes 22 minutes to complete online and your results are mapped against over 1,000 possible careers in the database. The test has been certified as reliable by psychologists, and is used by school counselors, career coaches and recruiting firms.
10. The Holland Code Personality Test
The Holland Code Personality Test measures your interest level in the 6 categories of careers described by Dr. John Holland, whom the test is named after. Depending on your answers to 87 questions asking you to rate how much you like or dislike various activities such as “designing a magazine cover” or “analyzing the structure of molecules”, you’ll learn whether you are Realistic (building, fixing, working outdoors), or Investigative (thinking, researching experimenting), Artistic (creating, designing, expressing), Social (helping, teaching, encouraging), Enterprising (persuading, leading, selling) or Conventional (organizing, categorizing, recording).
11. O*Net Interest Profiler
Hosted at MyNextMove.org and sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor Employment & Training Administration, the O*Net Interest Profiler asks 60 questions about work activities and how you feel about them. The output at the end of the personality test rates you on the same six dimensions as the Holland Code Personality Test. However, there is a practical and important difference. At the end of your assessment, you will be prompte to answer some practical information about what “job zone” (read: experience level) you fall into.
12. Sokanu Career Assessment
Sokanu is a free career testing platform that offers a career matching to help people find their ideal careers and with hiring decisions. They have created a test and prediction engine and 750 career profiles in helping people understand and enter careers. Their test is free and takes 20 minutes to complete. At the end, you should receive 3 reports: an archetype report that explains who you are and what kind of work will likely fulfill you; a personality report wherein approximately 150 personality traits are analyzed; and a trait report helping you understand where you fall relative to other people who have taken the test.
Partial Personality Tests
Sometimes you want to just understand an aspect of your personality and not spend the time on a full-fledged personality diagnosis. In these case, the following tests might help you isolate specific things such as temperament or emotional intelligence.
13. The Typefinder Temperament Test
The Typefinder Temperament Test takes 20 minutes and will help you understand your temperament, which is a key component of your personality. You’ll discover whether you’re a Preserver, Responder, Theorist or Empath, which will help you better understand yourself and how you are perceived by others around you (at the office or beyond the workplace).
14. The Keirsey Temperament Sorter
The folks at the Keirsey Temperment Sorter describe this test as one of “the most widely used personality instrument in the world” used for people to identify their personality type. The end objective is to make sure you have deeper self-knowledge and not to suggest a certain type of vocation or job, under the theory that you must deeply understand yourself before you can be effective at any role. This online test includes 71 questions based on the best-selling books by Dr. David Keirsey.
15. Emotional intelligence Test
Emotional intelligence is considered a prime asset in life, and in the workplace. It’s also (stereotypically) thought to be a strength of women, in particular. How does your emotional intelligence and aptitude stack up? This test will help you understand whether you empathize well with others and express, perceive and assess other people’s emotions accurately.
Just-For-Fun Personality Tests
While different personality tests may or may not have scientific validity, let’s not forget one of the reasons that so many types of people love them: they can be fun. While we think all of the free personality tests we’ve listed are fun, the following quizzes are particularly entertaining. Sadly, they may not actually tell you much (except that you like personality tests), but that’s OK!
16. Photo Career Quiz
If you’re not one for verbal questions, this entirely visual test is comprised of 30 questions that include two images each. You are simply asked to answer which of the photo pairing appeals most to you. While it is not technically a psychologically rigorous test, the folks at Truity describe the results as comparable to those given at the end of the Holland Code Personality Test.
17. Buzzfeed’s “What’s Your Actual Personality” Quiz
It’s all big print atop big images. Our only complaint is that it’s so loud and obvious on the screen that it makes it hard to pretend you are actually on a useful website for work purposes. But it’s very fun and quick if you’re looking for a momentary diversion and want some confirmation that you are indeed Type A (or not). Either way, this personality quiz is for kicks -- not for any major life decisions!
18. What Is My Spirit Animal?
Ok, so maybe this one is really just for kicks, but on the other hand, all you have to do is take a short 8-question personality quiz and ta-da! Within 5 minutes you will know what animal spirit you channel and what it means. Your affinity with an animal is analyzed, and you never know...this might be a fun ice-breaker someday!
In all seriousness, though, if you’re a new graduate, or switching careers, a personality test can help you take a step back and look at these from a fundamental or more philosophical view than just the narrow lens of what your most recent educational credentials or skills are. You may be better to understand your strengths and weaknesses, and personality style, as well. Chances are that if you take even a small sampling of these personality tests, you’ll come out feeling like you better understand yourself -- and your future career path -- better than before you started.
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