Employment assessment testing was the topic of one of our previous blog articles. We discussed how to avoid completing employment assessment tests in ways that would send red flags to hiring managers. Today, we’re going to cover how to answer job assessment tests in a way that sends positive signals to employers.

Again, if we want to understand how to answer employment assessment questionnaires in a way that emphasizes desirable qualities, we need to understand what those qualities are. According to Josh Bersin, CEO of California research company Bersin & Associates, in Oakland, California, these hiring tests are most often used in the retail, hospitality, and food service industries. So, what are some personality traits that would help a worker do well in these and similar fields?

Psychometric Success, a firm that sells books aimed at helping job hunters pass employment personality tests, found that most employers look for the following traits in employees:

  • Motivation
  • Extroversion
  • Leadership

Obviously, this list is not exhaustive, but these three traits are considered very important to most employers.

The really crucial trait here is motivation. Motivation is required for success at any job. To succeed when taking employment assessment tests, you must portray yourself as a highly motivated individual.

Always agree or strongly agree with questions like these:

  • Work is the most important thing in my life.
  • I am nearly always happy to work late or over a weekend if needed.
  • I almost never become bored with the work I do.
  • Employees should be expected to work extra hours to finish a job on time.
  • I admire people who work long hours.
  • People who know me say I work too hard.

When you see questions like these, disagree or strongly disagree:

  • Work can be an addiction just like gambling.
  • I become frustrated with jobs when they no longer interest me.
  • I feel sorry for people who put in long hours at work.
  • My pay is more important to me than the contributions I make to the company.
  • I know many people who work themselves too hard.
  • If I’m unhappy with a job, the best thing for me to do is to quit as soon as possible.
  • Vacations are very important to me.

Extroversion is a trickier one. Obviously, this is very important in jobs where you’re expected to work as part of a team or deal with clients often. However, according to Psychometric Success, even in positions where you mostly work alone, people who are extroverts are favored virtually every time. The way companies see it, if you’re hired for a position without much interpersonal interaction and do well, you might be promoted to a position with more responsibility. At that point, you would probably be expected to manage people below you effectively. Extroverts could also be considered easier to get along with.

So, you want to appear extroverted on employment assessment questionnaires. Don’t push this too far if you’re not actually an extrovert. You will still need to interview for the job, and if you appear introverted and quiet after presenting yourself as very outgoing on paper, this could raise eyebrows.

If you’re naturally extroverted, you should agree or strongly agree with the next set of questions. Natural introverts may just want to agree:

  • I am usually described as an outgoing person.
  • Almost none of my friends are quiet and reserved.
  • In social settings I enjoy introducing myself to an unfamiliar person.
  • I almost never feel bored at parties.
  • It’s easy for people to see my moods.
  • I find it easy to keep a conversation going.

Natural extroverts should disagree or strongly disagree with the following questions. Introverts might want to just disagree:

  • I avoid being the center of attention whenever possible.
  • I am usually quiet and reserved at social gatherings.
  • I do not enjoy chatting with strangers.
  • I sometimes try to avoid meeting new people.
  • In conversations I like to let the other person do most of the talking.
  • I find it more productive to work alone than as part of the group.

It’s OK to disagree with questions like these, since they are pretty much universally untrue:

  • I’m happy to see people whatever the circumstances.
  • I have never met someone I didn’t like.
  • I have never felt alone.
  • I always tell people exactly what I think.

The last set of questions are basically control questions to check if you’re trying to game the job personality test. Employment assessment tests don’t expect you to be perfect.

It’s also important to note that, according to authors Curt Bartol and Anne Bartol, who specialize in criminal psychology, most people are not strictly introverts or extraverts. About 68% of the population have both prominent extrovert and introvert characteristics. These people are considered “ambiverts.” True extroverts and introverts account for about 16% of the population each. So, while people are most often classified as either extroverts or introverts for simplicity’s sake, extroversion and introversion actually exist on a continuum. If you’re an introvert, you don’t need to flip to the other side, but it will help if you can portray yourself as more extroverted on the continuum.

The third big quality employers look for on personality assessment questionnaires is leadership. Again, even if the position you’re applying for requires no leadership, you may receive a promotion which requires you to take a leadership role.

You should strongly agree or agree with these questions:

  • People can become more successful through the right motivation.
  • Every person has the potential to be creative at work.
  • The great figures in history always looked at least five or 10 years into the future.
  • I have a strong set of personal goals.
  • Many managers focus too much on details and not the big picture.

You should strongly disagree or disagree with questions of this type:

  • The majority of people are already inspired to do their best work.
  • Supervisory responsibilities tend to bring out a person’s negative side.
  • Nothing motivates employees more than money or fear of losing their job.
  • What is good for the organization is the concern of supervisors, not employees.
  • I rarely have a strong set of personal goals.

Of course, these are just a few examples of what employers look for on job assessment tests. If you think about what employers are looking for in a potential candidate, many of the “right” answers aren’t that difficult to figure out. Don’t second guess yourself too much when taking an employment personality test. Keep your answers consistent. It is OK to admit to having occasional negative emotions, as long as you make it clear that you do not become angry at work or stressed out about work.

Remember, employment assessment tests have become popular as a means of filtering out undesirable applicants and drawing attention to favorable applicants without having to interview or call them. Now that you understand the typical employer’s preferences, you should be able to pass an employment assessment test.