A confusing personality assessment experience
30.09.2016 13:26 | Liisa

When I applied for my current job, I was asked to fill in a WorkPlace Big Five Profile™ questionnaire. My thoughts were confused and mixed: ”Argh, another one of those tests drawn up by shrinks; well I suppose I’ll have to fill it in although I really don’t feel like it”. ”I wonder what skeletons they’ll find in my closet and oh no—they will see that I’m a bad person”. On the other hand: “So what, anyway it’s nothing but hogwash and one test probably can’t reveal anything—I know myself and I know what I’m like”. I did of course promise to complete the WorkPlace Big Five test. Tactful as I am.

I remembered similar tests that I had taken in the past. Some of the questions had felt strange and completely irrelevant. I remember the tests also had questions about rolling in piles of leaves in the fall and other such curiosities. And it was difficult and time-consuming to answer those questions. Afterwards I felt it was all completely silly. In addition, there was no in-depth review of the results (if any), and I don’t remember benefiting from the tests myself.

I’m positively surprised by the WorkPlace Big Five questionnaire

It was a big surprise when I saw the questions in the WorkPlace Big Five questionnaire. The questions were sensible and dealt with normal workplace situations! Nothing about piles of leaves. The questions were easy to understand and it was easy to answer them—no need to excessively ponder and think. For example, I remember there was a question: “Do you prefer others to speak in meetings?”. In my case that is so true, I just don’t like speaking in meetings. I am not the person to babble on about my concerns; I don’t want attention—but I will tell my opinion (I usually do have them) when asked. On the other hand, I want to complete meetings on time and I want them to achieve something; no excessive chitchat. Anyway, it was surprisingly easy to fill in the questionnaire, even for a pedantic perfectionist like me; it only took a little more than ten minutes. Whew, it’s done. And even after the test I felt OK.

An in-depth feedback discussion opens up WorkPlace Big Five and gives new insights

It was time to hear the judgment. I was invited to a personal WorkPlace Big Five feedback discussion. At that stage though I had already got lucky and got the job (the results couldn’t be that bad...). My boss, however, wanted to go through the results with me personally. I was surprised to learn that to start the discussion, I was to assess myself (what’s that about?). I didn’t get my report immediately. My boss told me about the Big Five model of personality, and I immediately found the model very logical and interesting. He emphasized that there are no right or wrong answers; nor good or bad ones—each personality is different. I don’t have education in psychology, but I soon felt this model is easy to understand, even for a non-expert.

The Big Five model divides personality in five areas (Supertraits), based on which we can describe a person’s behavior. In WorkPlace Big Five, the Supertraits are Need for stability, Extraversion, Originality, Accommodation and Consolidation. In addition, the WorkPlace Big Five model looks at personality through 23 subtraits, which makes the assessment extremely comprehensive. Fascinating!

My boss explained the model in a very concrete and clear manner. First, we went through my own self-assessment and after that, I was shown my results. And yes—they looked just like my results. It’s funny; this is the image that I’ve had about myself, but I definitely couldn’t have described myself as exactly and in so much detail nor could I have had it in paper in a logical form. How an earth could my boss have managed to see “inside” me after a few short job interviews without a tool like this?

People don’t go around or in job interviews with their own personal manual. We are like books, we can’t be assessed just by the cover and appearance. Getting to really know someone takes a lot of time. But because of WorkPlace Big Five, my boss immediately had a very realistic view of my work personality—and he got it very easily and quickly! My boss had also taken the WorkPlace Big Five test so he knew well what type he was looking for in his team to support his own personality. During the feedback discussion, we also looked at his results and talked openly about the possibilities and risks of our personalities in our workplace. We also noticed that our reports show that in some areas we are the opposites—which is a good thing as we complement each other! A perfect match!

WorkPlace Big Five facilitates team work

I have now worked in my current job for a couple of years already. Our team still works well together. We regularly turn to our WorkPlace Big Five profiles, and we also utilize them extensively in our team (our team has grown during the last few years and all members have been profiled). For example, when we look at our team profile, we acknowledge that occasionally it’s useful to use an external facilitator in order to have a different perspective on what we do.

In general, it’s a relief to work in a place where we know each other’s natural comfort zones. There is no need to “pretend”; I can be myself. Because of WorkPlace Big Five, my boss knows to take it into account if I occasionally have to perform tasks that are outside my comfort zone. For me it was a great relief to find out that I am an ambivert (a personality type between an introvert and an extrovert). Let’s think of attending a trade fair for example: before the event I am absolutely horrified of being a trade fair hostess—I wouldn’t even want to participate, but when the time comes, I just love the atmosphere at the fair and I love chatting with people. Afterwards I’m completely exhausted, and I prefer to sit at the office behind a closed door and not to talk to anyone for a few days. And it’s great that my boss understands this too and gives me time—and space— to calm. And about the meetings, based on the test results, my boss also understands that it’s OK for me not to take the role of a windbag in meetings, that’s just who I am—he remembers and knows to ask my opinion when necessary. That’s because WorkPlace Big Five gives concrete tips and advice for how to deal with different personalities.

When you’re in a right kind of job, motivation comes naturally from within you

WorkPlace Big Five has opened a completely new world to me and a new way to look at myself and my team. It’s a relief to know my comfort zones. It’s an even bigger relief to know that also my colleagues know those comfort zones (their own and others’). This helps me greatly in doing the present work as well as in planning future work. My motivation has improved. It feels wonderful that because of WorkPlace Big Five, I can have scientific proof that I am in a role that is optimal for my personality. I can use my strengths and I’m in a job that I enjoy. Motivation comes naturally and it comes deep from within me. Viewing your own team and colleagues opens your eyes and raises the team dynamics to a new level. I recommend you to try WorkPlace Big Five—you may find yourself positively surprised!

( Updated: 30.09.2016 13:29 )

 - Liisa | Comments (2)Give comment

Workplace Nordic

Workplace Nordic promotes, develops and supports the use of carefully selected, world-class assessment tools for individuals and teams in Northern Europe. Workplace Nordic offers organizations certification training for example on the tools we represent. Our clients include companies, consultants and coaches, who use the tools for example for developing management teams and other teams, for leadership development programs, career planning and recruitment.


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