How personality tests can help you in your job search

Last week we talked about personality tests: why employers use them, what they mean and which ones might be helpful. We talked about how frustrating it can be as job seekers when employers use these assessments to determine our value and simplify who we are- creating barriers to the next steps in the hiring process. But, we don’t always realize how these tests can be valuable tools for us when we’re looking for a job. 

In this second blog on personality tests, we’ll focus on how they can provide value by giving us insight into how we behave- helping us learn how to make our job search more successful. 

What makes us unique?

We can understand our uniqueness, or “individual differences,” through our personality, interests, skills and abilities. Our personalities reflect how we frequently think, feel, and behave- and they can shift under different situations. Understanding our differences helps us illuminate our likes and dislikes, opportunities and strengths, and preferences in work situations and relationships with others.

These insights can tell us the roles we might enjoy, which is helpful when you’re deciding on a new career path and the approach you want to take with your job search. The “one-size-fits-all” approach often talked about on career blogs, and LinkedIn doesn’t always work for everyone.

Following the accepted wisdom might give us a helpful burst of motivation, but it’s not always sustainable and often backfires. When we understand ourselves, we can frame our decision-making and plan a successful job search on our terms.

All of our experiences fuse into our personality. Everything that ever happened to us is an ingredient.

How personality traits predict job search outcomes

Behavioural science researchers at the University of Florida predicted how participants engaged with their job search based on certain personality traits and the level of emotional, social, and skills-related support they perceived they had.

The participants with higher extraversion and conscientiousness were more engaged and demonstrated job-seeking behaviours that were more likely to lead to better job search and mental health outcomes.

We believe this hints at a systemic bias favouring the more organized, outgoing person over those with other traits. Research doesn’t confirm this, but it’s our hunch (and would be a great follow-up study). 

It’s important to note we don’t always act in line with our traits when we experience elevated anxiety. For example, under the stresses of unemployment, an extrovert might need to take some extra time to recharge and gather their resources.

A new framework

We’re skeptical of the “building better habits” approach preached at job searchers. It’s too focused on “fixing” people, setting unrealistic expectations for those experiencing unemployment. It takes time to build new habits, and it’s difficult to make changes with all the stressors accompanying unemployment.

We don’t want to discourage you from self-improvement. It’s worthwhile to take steps toward building your best self. However, we want you to know that trying to build habits while experiencing unemployment might be difficult. 

Instead, we want to reframe the discussion:

Step One

Remember that personality tests are tools. Take what you can from them, but don’t get too caught up in the outcomes. The frameworks and labels used in these tests are artifacts of how they were created. They say more about researchers’ values than who you are.

Step Two

Give yourself permission to be yourself. Understand your unique, individual differences and how you can best leverage them to your advantage.

In future blogs, we’ll explore each trait to learn more about their common strengths and opportunities.

Step Three

Look for opportunities to use behaviours that might not come naturally- but that might be useful to you in your job search. Rather than change who you are, we encourage you to find ways to accelerate your search while staying true to yourself. Similarly, you can use these tools to identify the beneficial behaviours and traits you naturally exhibit and find ways to use them to your advantage.

At Buoyancy, you and your wellbeing are our primary focus. We know that by helping you stay well, you’ll be in a better space to navigate the job search. We want to provide you with the tools you need to tackle the challenges that lie ahead.

In the meantime, though, we’ll continue to comb scientific publications and work with our research partners to help identify, test, and integrate the best behavioural techniques into the Buoyancy platform. Beyond our coaching, tracking, and peer support, we’re determined to bring you new, innovative strategies to provide you with personalized support.

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