Making Sense of the Sea of Personality Tests

Making Sense of the Sea of Personality TestsAre you an ISTJ or ESTJ? What are your five StrengthsFinders? Do you find yourself more in the Loyalist, Questioner or Reformer, Perfectionist strategies? You might know that I am talking about different personality indicators or you think I’m randomly typing letters on my keyboard.

Personality indicators are nothing new but many of us young professionals have had our share of personality testing, either while interviewing for a new job or after starting a new one. After a while, being introverted and extroverted, or a communicator versus an achiever may be jumbled in your head.

Below, I’m sharing a few of the more popular personality indicators that I’ve taken in my professional career as well as ones I find interesting. There are an incredible amount of personality tests and indicators out there that we could literally spend all day discussing and debating.

Full disclosure that I am not an expert and I do not support any of these indicators mentioned or those not mentioned. In fact, scroll to the end of this post to share which one you like the best.

Myers Briggs Type Indicator

Myers Briggs is probably the most familiar personality indicator for the general population. Myers Briggs is a staple of corporations and businesses. You’ve likely seen the 16 four-letter personality types before like ISTJ or ENTJ.

Myers Briggs is based on Carl Jung’s psychological theory and based on the Myer Briggs website, helps people understand basic differences in the ways individuals prefer to use their perception and judgement.

Personality types are mainly separated by extraversion, the “E,” and introversion, the “I.” Here are the meanings of the remaining letters:

  • S – sensing
  • N – intuition
  • T – thinking
  • F – feeling
  • J – judging
  • P – perceiving

Gallup StrengthsFinder

The StrengthsFinder indicator is probably the most straightforward of the personality assessments. The StrengthsFinder has 34 “themes of talent.” After taking the test, a person is ranked on five main themes. The best part is the themes are straight forward: communication, analytical, futuristic or responsibility.

Unlike the Myers Briggs, which can sometimes read like an alphabet soup of acronyms, and the Enneagram, which shares incredible detail about each type, the StrengthsFinder is simple and easy to connect the dots.

The Enneagram

Of all the personality tests and indicators, the Enneagram (pronounced Ann-e-a-gram) is the most…new age. It definitely has grown in popularity since I first heard about it in the late 2000’s.

The Enneagram is broken into nine personality types that are defined by how they think, feel and act related to their worldview.

1 - The Reformer
2 - The Helper
3 - The Achiever
4 - The Individualist
5 - The Investigator
6 - The Loyalist
7 - The Enthusiast
8 - The Challenger
9 - The Peacemaker

Like any other personality indicator, each one is characterized by traits, habits and tendencies. For example, after taking an Enneagram test, I fall under the Loyalist. According to the Enneagram Institute, the Loyalists are reliable, hard-working, trustworthy and excellent troubleshooters. That’s great! Also, the Loyalists can also become defensive, evasive and anxious. Ouch!

The Enneagram is great because it is the least professional of the personality types. Much of it seems new-age, even spiritual and has a playful element. Unlike many of the other personality indicators, most Enneagram tests are free.

Tell Us Your Favorite

Like the Myers Briggs? Love the Enneagram? Enjoy the StrengthsFinder? Tell us how you feel! Consider jumping over to our Facebook and leaving a comment. We will take the ones EDGE finds informative or inspiring and share in our next newsletter or on a social channel.

This is a guest blog post by Evan Harris, Metro EDGE Communications Co-Chair. Evan currently works for Edelman Public Relations. He previously worked for the California State Legislature and is a graduate of the University of Oregon. Outside of the office, you can find him scouring Trader Joes, helping his wife chase their children, drinking coffee or planning his next trail run, preferably in Lake Tahoe.