Have you ever been asked to answer personality questions? Do you know how to create personality test questions? Have you ever been staffed with the responsibility of creating, managing, and administering a personality test?
Personality questions can reveal much more about a person than imagined. They’re meant to get a look inside a person’s mind and approach to life.
Aside from uncovering basic personality traits, these questions can unlock deeper insights such as which careers may be good or bad for someone, if a prospective job candidate may be suitable for a specific position, or which areas of studies a new student should focus on (more on this below).
Types of Personality Tests
Personality tests are administered for various reasons, such as during the hiring process or to improve workplace culture.
There are five primary types of personality tests, all of which take a different approach in regards to personality questions:
- The Myer-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)
- Kolbe Test
- DISC Assessment
- Process Communication Model
- The Personality Assessment System
While each of these tests is effective, they may not be an exact match for what you’re trying to accomplish. Fortunately, there’s a solution…
Three Types of Personality Questions
Your personality questions serve as the foundation of your test.
There are three distinct types of personality questions:
Statement-based Personality Questions
With this type of question, you offer a statement, such as “I enjoy working closely with others.” The answers are typically measured on a 5 or 10-degree scale, with “strongly disagree” at the bottom and “strongly agree” at the top. These questions are effective for collecting quantifiable data but don’t dig too deep into the respondent’s personality.
Close-ended Personality Questions
This type of question requires you to provide the respondent with several answers. For example, you could ask a question such as: What do you do if you don’t understand a project assigned by your supervisor? Answers could include: Review my notes and hope for the best, ask the supervisor for clarification, ask colleagues for help, or request an extended deadline.
Open-ended Personality Questions
These questions are typically used in interviews, as they allow the interviewee to provide a detailed answer. Open-ended questions can tell you a lot about a person’s personality, but only if you ask the right ones.
All of these personality questions are worth considering, as a nice mix can help you achieve the intended results.
Recommended Personality Test Questions
There is no right or wrong way to conduct a personality test, as it’s based largely on your purpose, the respondent, and what you’re trying to accomplish.
While it’s important to customize your personality test to match your specifications, these 25 questions are a good place to start:
1. What do you consider your greatest achievement in life?
This tells you how a person perceives success. Maybe their greatest achievement is a professional award. Or maybe their greatest achievement is raising three children who went on to earn a college degree. The answer will give you a better understanding of how the person prioritizes their life.
2. What steps do you take to remain calm under pressure?
This is an important question if you’re hiring for a job in a fast-moving, high-pressure environment. You can turn this into a close-ended personality question with answers such as:
- Ask for help
- Take a break
- Review the tasks at hand
3. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
What a person does outside of work gives you insight into who they are. Some people enjoy watching television. Others enjoy spending time outdoors. Some have no personal interests at all.
4. What is your favorite vacation destination?
It’s an innocent question with no right or wrong answer, but it does provide a better understanding of what the person enjoys. You can frame this as a close-ended question with answers such as:
- Cross country road trip
5. What is the greatest injustice you’ve personally experienced?
This is an important question when determining if the interviewee is a good cultural fit for your company. It provides insights on their view of the world, attitudes, past experiences, and boundaries as an individual.
6. What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced?
Everyone faces challenges from time to time. Understanding a person’s biggest challenge will show you how they deal with adversity. It also helps you determine if the person is able to take on the demands of your job.
For example, one person may answer that their biggest challenge was overcoming the death of a loved one. Another person may answer that their biggest challenge was finding the right outfit to wear to a job interview. These answers are on opposite ends of the spectrum.
7. If you face a problem at work, what is the first thing you do?
Asking this question, and providing several answers, provides a true overview of how a person will react if they face a problem at work. Answers could include:
- Ask for help
- Delegate the task to someone else
- Research potential solutions
- Make excuses
8. If you could only change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
This is an intriguing question because it’s another way of asking a person about their greatest flaw. There’s no right or wrong answer, but the feedback you receive can be useful in helping you understand how the person thinks and whether they have confidence in themselves.
9. What is the question people ask you most often?
This is one of the most powerful questions you can ask, as it shows you what others think of the person.
Is the person often asked for advice? Is the person often asked why they jump to conclusions?
When someone is always asked for advice, it probably means they’re helpful. When someone is always asked why they jump to conclusions, it could be a red flag that they’re not a good team player.
10. What is your best memory from your childhood?
Is it a vacation they took with their family? Is it an achievement in elementary school, such as winning a science fair? The answer gives you insight into an experience that turned the person into who they are today.
11. What is your worst memory from your childhood?
If you’re going to ask about a person’s best memory from childhood, follow-up with this question. Once again, the answer will give you a better understanding of who the person is. For example, if their worst memory was the divorce of their parents, it’ll show you that the person is resilient.
12. Do you find it easy to make new friends?
Some people find it easy to make new friends, which allows them to fit in comfortably in almost any setting.
Conversely, others find it difficult to make new friends, thus putting them at a disadvantage in social situations or when starting a new job.
13. Do you sympathize with people who are going through a tough time?
A person who can sympathize with others is a person you want on your team. These people aren’t only concerned about themselves but truly care about the well being of others. Most people who answer “yes” are team players.
14. Do you tackle tasks right away or procrastinate until the last minute?
When interviewing job candidates, the answer to this question will give you a better idea of the person’s work ethic and how they tackle difficult tasks. You want someone on your team who is willing to “dive right in” as opposed to waiting until the last minute.
15. What was your favorite game when you were a child?
Did they enjoy playing football with friends? What about tag? How about hide-and-seek? Or did they prefer playing alone?
This will tell you more than a direct question that typically prompts a person to provide an “appropriate” answer. When used as a close-ended personality question, potential answers include:
- Board games
- Playing alone
16. If asked, what would your friends and family say about you?
This is another way of asking “How would your friends and family describe you?”
This reveals how others perceive the person. Ask it as a close-ended question with answers such as:
17. What is your best trait?
This is similar to question #16, so it makes sense to ask them back-to-back. The answer gives you a clear idea of what a person thinks of themselves.
One person may say their best trait is helping others in times of need. Another person may say their best trait is their good looks. Who would you rather have working by your side?
18. What is your greatest failure?
Many people find it difficult to pinpoint and share their greatest failure, so asking this question will force them to dig deep. The answer gives you insight into the person’s past, the mistakes they’ve made, and the way they dealt with them.
19. How did you turn your greatest failure into a learning experience?
This question should be asked after #18, as it gives the person the opportunity to explain how they turned the failure into a positive experience.
20. Who is your role model?
Understanding a person’s motives and priorities are essential to understanding who they are. If framed as a close-ended question, potential answers include:
- Family member
- Co-worker or supervisor
- A famous person in history
21. What was the happiest period of your life?
Use this question to reveal how a person measures happiness, their priorities in life, and events that molded them into who they are today.
22. What was the saddest period of your life?
A potential follow-up question to #21, the answer helps you see how the person has overcome a difficult period in their life.
23. Would you rather read a book or watch television?
Are you interested in better understanding how a person gathers information? Do you want to learn how they prefer to communicate with others? This question can help.
A person who would rather read a book is more likely to learn visually, such as by reading a set of instructions. People who prefer to watch television may also be visual, but they’re more likely to be open to learning through conversation.
24. Who knows you best?
It’s important to understand if a person has strong personal relationships. If their mother and father know them best, they may be an introvert. But if a friend or co-worker knows them best, they probably excel in making friends and getting along with others.
25. What is one thing you would never say to another person?
This reveals a person’s personal boundaries. Offer answers such as:
- Something about their personal life
- Comment about their physical appearance
- Something about their choice of clothing or style
- Any statement with a curse word
Reasons to Ask Personality Questions
There are several reasons to take a personality quiz or require someone else to take one for your benefit.
1. For employers to learn about employees
One of the most common practices for using personality quizzes and assessments is for career occupational testing. Personality questions assess someone’s strengths, weaknesses, interests, values, and personality traits. Such tests will help individuals explore their career options, and will help employers and hiring teams to select choose the most suitable candidates for open positions.
Personality quizzes and assessments can also help employers identify which employees may be eligible for a promotion and predict what kind of training programs may be needed. The employees can also identify their leadership style, what type of environment they prefer to work in, and which type of motivators they respond best to. These tests can be helpful for employees that may feel unfulfilled or not interested in their current career.
2. Career pathways
Occupational assessments are also extremely beneficial for recent high school and college graduates. The assessments will help identify the types of careers one can pursue based on interests and aspirations. Occupational assessments help with career planning. The first step in creating a career pathway is to identify occupational interests, which is why many high schools have their students take personality tests.
3. Customer Insight
Brands and Marketers use personality questions to learn more about their customers. By uncovering consumer personality traits, brands and marketers have more insight on which products to offer, and at what time. Personality questions can help marketers understand which segments of the population to target for specific advertising campaigns.
Understanding a person’s personal preferences and interests can help tremendously with product marketing. For example, “What Should I Buy my Mom for Christmas?,” and “What Should I Buy my Dad for Fathers Day?” as shown below.
Final Thoughts on Personality Questions
The more tests you conduct, the easier it becomes to pinpoint the personality questions that best suit your situation. Soon enough, you’ll have a system in place that allows you to better understand the wants and desires of each respondent.
If you’re ready to ask personality questions for any reason, Opinion Stage has you covered. Not only do you have access to a personality quiz maker, but you can also add it to your website, app, and/or social media platforms. From there, you can track results to better understand the data and how to use it to your advantage.