Personality Assessment

Personality Assessment
Written By: Counselling Psychologist
M.Sc. Psychology - Swansea University, UK.
Reviewed By: Counselling Psychologist
MA Psychology Pennsylvania State University, USA
Last Updated: 31-03-2023

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In our day-to-day life, we often come across questions like “How is Mr. X as a person?” or “How would you describe yourself?”. In both these questions, people almost always begin to use certain adjectives or terms to explain what they mean. These terms used are some characteristics that together form withstanding, consistent, and defining patterns called personality. Thus, personality can be considered as a conceptualization of individual behavior and thought processes. The assessment of personality, therefore, consists of procedures that aim to collect information about an individual’s characteristics. The information collected is then described in the form of conclusions and recommendations.


Purpose of Personality Assessment

It is important to point out at the outset that no two personalities are ever completely the same. This is because even with common personality elements, individuals usually differ in expressing them. The measurement of such differences is at the heart of personality assessment. For example, in a corporate setup, personality assessments help an employer know the strengths and weaknesses of employees. This information can help the employer delegate work in a better way.

Another purpose of personality assessment is based on the influence personality traits have in daily life. Our personalities govern the various choices we make; personal and professional. Thus, personality assessments reveal valuable information to guide and improve our decision-making processes. For example, in an educational setting, the assessment of personality is an essential element in guiding students toward suitable career choices.

Personality assessments can provide valuable information about an individual’s coping styles in stressful conditions. Such an assessment can also provide an understanding of individual strengths and weaknesses.


Types of Personality Assessment

1. Self-Report Inventories: In this format, individuals are provided with structured, explicit statements and are asked to respond to them by choosing from a set of alternatives given. The statements used can be related to behaviors or attitudes or symptoms. By nature, self-report inventories can be completed with minimum supervision. Some examples of self-report inventories are as follows:

  • Myers-Briggs Type Indicator: This measure is designed to collect information on the psychological preferences of individuals. It seeks to elicit how an individual perceives the world around them
  • NEO Personality Inventory: This inventory provides in-depth personality-related information by focusing on 5 traits namely, neuroticism, extraversion, openness to experience, agreeableness, and conscientiousness.


2. Performance-Based Measure: These measures collect information based on how an individual performs on standardized tasks. Thus, information is collected indirectly. Popular measures in this area are as follows:

  • Rorschach Inkblot Test: Abstract Inkblots are presented in this test to determine personality dynamics.
  • Thematic Apperception Test: Different pictures are presented in this test and the test taker is asked to narrate stories based on them. Different elements of the stories are then interpreted to deduce personality-related information.
  • Sentence Completion Methods: These consist of presenting words and phrases that the test taker is then asked to give in the form of a complete sentence. Such methods elicit information about underlying attitudes, concerns, etc.


Personality assessment holds incredible potential in providing valuable insights and useful information about individual test takers. Conducting such an assessment under professional supervision is imperative to ensure that a reliable and valid measure is used. Furthermore, professional training becomes especially important when a personality measure is interpreted according to set norms and rules. These considerations determine the overall success or failure of the overall assessment.

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1.Cohen, R. J., Montague, P., Nathanson, L. S., & Swerdlik, M. E. (1988). Psychological testing: an introduction to tests and measurements. Mountain View, CA: Mayfield Publishing Co.

2.Weiner, I. & Greene, R. (2008). Handbook of personality assessment. Hoboken, NJ:John Wiley & Sons.

3.Introduction to personality assessment. (2008). Retrieved from

4.The power of personality-a positive framework for lifelong people development. (2015, April 15). Retrieved from

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