A personality test is a standardized tool used to discover the characteristics and psychological makeup of an individual. They are frequently used in the fields of career planning and employee selection to ensure a best-fit scenario. Though there are many types of tests used to determine an individual's personality attributes, the most common is called the self-report inventory, which involves the answering of many (sometimes hundreds) of behavior-related questions.
Though it can be difficult to interpret the results of personality tests, even for psychologists, normalized formats, such as percentile ranks, attempt to give sufficient comparison between the results of an individual to those of many others who have taken the test before. However, despite the potential usefulness of psychological testing within the hiring process, there are several criticisms and controversies related to the process. These issues include biased interpretation, distortion of responses by the test taker, and the non-predictability of behavior regardless of personality, among others.
The most widely used personality tests include the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI), and Five Factor Model (FFM) tests. The MBTI was developed to discover how a person makes decisions and perceives his or her surroundings. It categorizes individuals into types such as extrovert (outward-turning) and introvert (inward-turning). The MMPI works to discover the structure of an individual's personality and help identify the presence of potential mental problems. FFM tests measure the "dimensions" of an individual's personality and summarize a person's traits based on openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism.