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A Study in Personality Tests: What Can They Do For You?

If you’ve ever asked yourself, “Who am I?”, well, fear not – there’s a test for that. Or more accurately, at least 2,500 of them

Many of us have taken a personality assessment at some point, perhaps the Myers-Briggs Indicator or a novelty Buzzfeed quiz. Although the alphabet soup of personality tests may have you joking, “I’m more of a C-3PO than an ENFJ”, these tests, when well-formulated, can be both insightful and empowering.

A Brief History

Personality tests are not just a passing trend. Such assessments have been around for thousands of years. In ancient Greece, Hippocratic medicine identified humors, or bodily fluids, which the physician Galen further developed into the original personality test. He believed that one was healthiest when bodily fluids were in balance. An imbalance of fluids corresponded with one of four temperaments: 

  • An excess of phlegm suggested one was apathetic (thus the term “phlegmatic”) 
  • Yellow bile pointed to a choleric disposition
  • Black bile was associated with melancholics
  • An excess of blood indicated a sanguine nature (by this theory, vampires’ blood-sucking tendencies could be excused as a symptom of needing more joy in their lives)

Over the years, researchers developed more sophisticated tests. The Four Humors evolved into Jungian archetypes which evolved into the revolutionary Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, an assessment used by hundreds of companies in their hiring and performance management processes. Personality tests have revolutionized the way we self-actualize, so much so that the tests have infiltrated every corner of our lives.

What Personality Tests Can Do For You

A well-designed personality test not only tells its takers more about themselves. It gives them a pathway to improvement. It even provides insight into alternative personality types so that they may be more effective in relationships with others. The knowledge gained from a personality test can inspire a shy, but competent professional to confidently ask for a raise. These tests can be used to encourage teamwork and positive rapport between colleagues and build bridges between management and those they are managing. Assessments exist for bettering marriages, mastering parenting styles, and identifying professional strengths and weaknesses. With so many options, it can be a challenge to know where to begin. Below are listed some of the most influential assessments and what they can do for you. 

Myers & Briggs Type Indicator: 

Isabel Briggs Meyers developed the MBTI assessment in the 1940s. It identified 16 personality types, inspired by the work of Swiss psychologist, Carl Jung. It is one of the most popular assessments today. MTBI is frequently incorporated into academic and corporate settings for its value. 16Personalities shared a modernized, free version of the assessment, supplying test-takers with happy-go-lucky characters to identify with. 

Clifton Strengths Finder:

Professionals can improve their managerial and interpersonal skills by taking The Clifton Strengths assessment. The assessment explores 34 strengths, honing in on five dominant strengths. Reading the book and taking the assessment provides valuable information on how to interact with individuals with opposite personalities. The book and test serve as an outline on how to use your Top 5 strengths to achieve success. 

The Four Tendencies: 

The Four Tendencies Quiz explores how we respond to expectations – both our own and others’. The quiz sorts its participants into the role of Upholder, Obliger, Rebel, or Questioner. This assessment provides valuable insight into how we can better meet expectations in a healthy, balanced way. Perficient’s Campus Program Recruiter, Cassie Mitchell (based in St. Louis), has been working diligently on sharing and writing about this assessment. Be on the lookout for a blog post from Cassie to learn more!

The 5 Love Languages: 

Dr. Gary Chapman forever impacted our understanding of love when he introduced his famous “5 Love Languages” book and corresponding quiz. Chapman identified five love languages in which each of us has a preference: Giving Gifts, Words of Affirmation, Physical Touch, Acts of Service, and Quality Time. Eventually, the book became so popular that Chapman’s team app-lified his concept for modern generations to enjoy. 

The Enneagram Personality Test

The Enneagram Personality Test has taken over social media as Average Joe’s and influencers alike dream to better understand themselves. The test claims that each of us falls into at least one of the nine types. These types impact everything from our work-ethic to how we handle criticism.

How Perficient Is Embracing Personality Tests

As a part of the Growth for Everyone campaign, we at Perficient are exploring how personality types can impact our workplace. We are continually looking for ways to champion and challenge our workforce, encourage personal and professional growth, and celebrate the unique culture created by the ambitious, brilliant, people-oriented team we have cultivated. As a part of this campaign, my colleagues and I will be leading a Self-Discovery Initiative with a series of blog posts focused on the professional benefits of having conversations about how personality can influence your work-life and how to better communicate across teams. Several colleagues have used the Enneagram Test as a jumping-off point and we challenge you to take the assessment and start a dialogue within your team or department. 

Take the Enneagram test here!

Learn more about your personality type on the official Enneagram Institute website, where you can even sign up for your EnneaThought® for the Day email. Let us know what your result was in the comments below. Did you agree? Do you find value in knowing more about yourself? We want to hear your thoughts! Be sure to check out part two, A Study In Personality Tests: The Enneagram Quiz.


Perficient continually looks for ways to champion and challenge our workforce, encourage personal and professional growth, and celebrate the unique culture created by the ambitious, brilliant, people-oriented team we have cultivated. These are their tips and stories.

Learn more about what it’s like to work at Perficient at our Careers page.

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Thoughts on “A Study in Personality Tests: What Can They Do For You?”

  1. In my entire career of several years working in HR, I have used various tests for hiring as well as self assessment tests for individual development in companies. Tests like MBTI have so much generic personal description that I tend to feel like every personality type can apply to others, exactly how weekly sunsign predictions are. So, I get surprised when I see Myers Briggs is so popular. My experience has always been positive about Big Five theory over several others including MBTI. While not all Big Five theory based tests are equally reliable. Some are more over others. My most favorite has been from Test Center (, which provides tests based on Big Five theory, the most reliable theory in my experience and on top of it, it has some methods to fine tune its scoring coefficients for accuracy. In my practical experience, it does work. After tests, whenever I interviewed people, I found exactly same behavior & competencies that the tests described. Unlike others, they have separate personality tests for every role – To understand personality tests, one needs a long pracitcal experience.

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Laura Kenny, Talent Acquisition Coordinator

Laura is a Talent Acquisition Coordinator at Perficient. Her professional interests are in writing, design, marketing, and public relations. In her free time, Laura is an avid rock climber and guitarist.

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