Interpreting personality tests

An in-depth look at the possible results from our personality tests.

In a traditional interview process, you only have a short window of time in which to get to know a candidate. An hour may be enough time to ask a candidate questions about their past experience, but it’s hardly enough time to learn about their motivations or communication style.

This is where a personality test comes in. Personality tests offer you an opportunity to learn more about your candidates during the hiring process — even before you invite them in for an interview.

While we do offer more insight in our blog about why and how you might use a personality test in your hiring process, this article helps to interpret those tests: explaining the possible results from each test we offer and what you should take away from them. All personality tests are available on all plans.

Approx. reading time 7 minutes

In this article

  1. Using a personality test for hiring
  2. Tests offered and their possible personality types
  3. Interpreting results
    1. Enneagram
    2. 16 Types
    3. Big 5 (OCEAN)
    4. DISC
  4. Common questions

Using a personality test for hiring

The way we interpret the world and manage our emotions determine how we behave in the various situations we experience on a daily basis. The choices we make in specific situations reveal how we perceive and interpret the world. They can show our likes and dislikes, aspirations and fears, or abilities and challenges. Understanding a person’s core beliefs and preferences can give deeper insight into their personality and traits and how they navigate issues and opportunities.

With that being said, we do not recommend making a hiring decision based purely on personality. Instead, use these tests to get to know candidates better and obtain talking points for an interview. Personality tests are best used in conjunction with skills tests to form part of a complete assessment.

Our video below does a deep dive into the benefits of and do's and don'ts of personality tests.

HubSpot Video

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Tests offered and their possible personality types

TestGorilla offers four personality tests as part of our test library:

  1. Enneagram
  2. 16 Types
  3. Big 5 (OCEAN)
  4. DISC

Click on each test name to jump ahead to its relevant section.

Enneagram

The Enneagram test follows the personality model developed in the teachings of O. Ichazo and C. Naranjo. The model maps out different personalities on a nine-pointed diagram describing the core beliefs of those personalities and the worldview each one operates from. Understanding the core beliefs that lead to the decisions and actions people make can help you understand how each type reacts to both stress and opportunity. 

The enneagram test provides insights into a candidate’s personality type, their approach to personal relationships, and their style in a professional setting. The results page discusses the best attributes of each personality type in detail and outlines the main challenges and development opportunities that come with it. 

Possible personality types

Every website offering an enneagram test has its own copyrighted names for each personality type. This is our list of enneagram types compared with its equivalent RHETI name:

Personality type RHETI equivalent
The Improver The reformer
The Giver The helper
The Go-getter The achiever
The Contemplator The individualist
The Pioneer The investigator
The Devoted The loyalist
The Cheerleader The enthusiast
The Master The challenger
The Agreeable The peacemaker

 

You can learn more about how enneagram results are presented in the Interpreting results section below.

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16 Types

Based on the work of Carl Jung, the 16 types test gives insight into a candidate’s source of energy, the way they process information, how they make decisions, and the kind of lifestyle they prefer. It is similar to the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).

The 16 types test is an introspective, self-evaluation questionnaire that asks candidates to consider their preferences under various circumstances. The test leads candidates to explore their choices on four different spectrums. The answer will depict a candidate’s preference for one side of each spectrum over the other.

The results are given by combining the first letter of each preference into a four-letter personality type to derive one of the 16 possible types, such as eNfp or isTj. The capital letters represent a preference that is particularly strong in each candidate’s individual results. 

Possible personality types

Candidates are measured on 4 spectrums:

  • Introversion (I) vs. Extraversion (E)
  • Sensing (S) vs. Intuition (N)
  • Thinking (T) vs. Feeling (F)
  • Judging (J) vs. Perceiving (P)

Based on answers given by a candidate, we determine which dimension is dominant. A capital letter represents a dimension that is relatively stronger than others in the candidate’s personality type.

Personality type (letters)

Personality type

16 Personalities equivalent

INTJ The Intellect Architect
ENTJ The Captain Commander
INTP The Advisor Logician
ENTP The Magician Debater
ISTJ The Rock Logistician
ESTJ The Manager Executive
ISTP The Doer Virtuoso
ESTP The Conqueror Entrepreneur
INFJ The Trustee Advocate
ENFJ The Politician Protagonist
INFP The Actress Mediator
ENFP The Journalist Campaigner
ISFJ The Judge Defender
ESFJ The Influencer Consul
ISFP The Comfort Maker Adventurer
ESFP The Social Leader Entertainer

 

You can learn more about how these results are presented in the Interpreting results section below.

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Big 5 (OCEAN)

The Big 5 personality test is based on the five-factor model (FFM) theory which holds that different personalities can be divided into five general trait dimensions or domains. The model has been shaped by the work of various researchers over three decades — from the 1960s to the 1990s — who analyzed verbal descriptors of human behavior. Eventually, characteristics proposed in the intricate models of early research were arranged into five major components that affect a person’s personality. 

The Big 5 test leads test-takers on a self-evaluation of their behavior by asking them to score various statements on a scale from 1 — very inaccurate — to 5 — very accurate. Candidates are placed in one of five positions for each spectrum, based on the scores they give for each statement. The nature of the test framework is best suited for evaluating the dynamics of existing teams for growth purposes, rather than for candidates applying to join teams.

Possible personality types

Rather than providing a definitive personality type, the Big 5 test scores each factor on a scale of very low to very high.

  • Extroversion
  • Agreeableness
  • Conscientiousness
  • Emotional stability — also known as neuroticism.
  • Openness to experience
Factor Low interpretation High interpretation
Extroversion Outgoing/energetic Solitary/reserved
Agreeableness Friendly/compassionate Critical/rational
Conscientiousness Efficient/organized Extravagant/careless
Emotional stability Sensitive/nervous Resilient/confident
Openness to experience Inventive/curious Consistent/Cautious

 

You can learn more about how Big 5 results are presented in the Interpreting results section below.

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DISC

The DISC test is based on the model developed by psychologist William Marston for behavioral assessment. It classifies how we express emotions into the four behavior types of DISC: dominance, influence, steadiness, and conscientiousness.

Understanding which behavior type motivates you and others to take action and make decisions enables you to better navigate relationships, collaborations, and conversations with others. Once you understand the main trait that governs your and others’ behavior you can tailor your words and actions and guide those of others to achieve better results. 

The DISC test offers these insights for your candidates by asking them to conduct a self-evaluation by scoring each of 48 statements from 1 — very inaccurate — to 5 — very accurate. The way candidates score these statements shows their preferences for each type of behavior in the DISC model. Candidates can sit squarely within one of the four main behavioral types or exhibit a combination between one type and one of its two adjacent ones, giving a total for 12 possible outcomes. 

Possible personality types

DISC plots a test taker on a disc containing 12 adjacent personality types, as follows:

 

Personality type (letters)

Personality type

D Forceful and direct
DI Persuasive and daring
ID Animated and inspiring
I Highly sociable and lively
IS Upbeat and lighthearted
SI Supportive and agreeable
S Pleasantly calm and accommodating of others
SC Modest and unassuming
CS Quiet and self-controlled
C Analytical and private
CD Unsentimental and matter-of-fact
DC Resolute and strong-willed

 

You can learn more about how DISC results are presented in the Interpreting results section below.

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Interpreting results

You can view the results of your candidate’s personality testing from their results page:

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Click on the Personality type in the test scores section of the results page. A popup window will appear with a more detailed report of the personality type.


The report will differ depending on which personality test(s) you have selected. Click on each type of test to be taken to an example of its results:

  1. Enneagram
  2. 16 Types
  3. Big 5 (OCEAN)
  4. DISC

Enneagram

Enneagram results will be presented as the name classifier on the test scores table — Pioneer, for example. The popup report contains a detailed description of the personality type, along with tips for working and communicating with them.

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16 Types 

16 types results are displayed as a combination of 4 letters which determine their personality type. For example, enTJ. Capital letters represent a stronger alignment with that particular dimension. Clicking on the letters produces a popup report.

Alongside the letters is the name of the personality type — The Captain, for example. See the table above to see how it compares to 16 Personalities personality types.

The report itself contains a detailed description of the personality type, along with tips for working and communicating with them.

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Big 5 (OCEAN)

Big 5 results are displayed as color-coded letters on the results page. The color represents which side of the scale they are closest to — green is very high and red is very low. Clicking the letters produces a popup with a clearer representation of this:

Click Full report to see a more detailed description of the candidate’s personality. Insights into the personal characteristics, personal relationships, and working habits of each factor are provided.

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DISC

DISC results will be presented as the name classifier on the test scores table — D, for example. The popup report contains a detailed description of the personality type, along with tips for working and communicating with them.

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Common questions

Is it possible to receive conflicting results if I use multiple personality tests in a single assessment?
As long as a candidate takes a personality test seriously, results shouldn’t conflict with one another. However, we don’t recommend using multiple personality tests in one assessment, as making hiring decisions based on personality type is a form of bias — exactly what TestGorilla is trying to prevent! Instead, use only the personality test that most resonates with you. 

Is there a time limit for personality tests?
Like many of the tests in our test library, personality tests have a limit of 10 minutes to be completed. You can allow additional time for the tests in your assessment in Step 4 of the assessment creation process, if required.

We impose a time limit to prevent candidates from being able to manipulate the results by searching for answers that more closely match a different personality type. While they can still try to do this, they are likely to run out of time in the process.

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