One of the things that frustrates me about career coaching is the belief that personality tests help you uncover your ideal job. Is that really so? Can personality tests tell you what your dream job is?

Don’t get me wrong, I love all sorts of personality tests. I think they are good fun and of course you can learn something new about yourself. I am “The Protagonist” (ENFJ-A) from 16 personalities. Protagonists are known for their leadership abilities. They are supposed to find themselves in positions of influence  among consultants, managers, politicians, coaches, teachers … yet I found myself resigning from my first managerial position thinking it wasn’t meant for me. Neither I realised I would make a decent coach. In fact I run away from my first volunteering coach position (but I will write about that another time).

Finding jobs that would finally feel like a good fit for me required more than reading my personality test results. Today I wanted to share a few tips around using personality tests for your career.

Before you decide to put your career destiny into a personality test, let’s look together  when I think it can be BENEFICIAL to use, and more importantly when NOT to.

3 Reasons when I recommend taking personality tests:

#1 You’re looking for a quick fix to boost your motivation and engagement

– let’s just say that you are in a role that you used to love but with time your engagement at work and motivation faded away. Personality test can highlight your motivators,  strengths as well as weaknesses, when you feel somehow disconnected from yourself. Re-connecting with your motivators can help you realise what gives you energy boost, motivational kick and what to avoid or stop doing.

#2 You’re curious and want to discover more about your personal qualities

– If you are receiving regular feedback on your strengths and weakness that doesn’t feel right, or you simply want to discover little bit more about you. Personality tests can be a fun and quick way to discover and reaffirm your personality traits and behaviours.
Most of the time when I do Clifton Strengths talents with my clients their initial reaction is yes, this is me! Or this is not me at all… you see the test results can also trigger different reaction, so it pays to go through the results with professional mentor or coach to understand how to read the results and apply them in your career.

#3 You want to develop your performance around strengths (instead of improving weaknesses).

It just makes so much sense to build on who you are and what you do well even more. It’s way better than trying to change who you are not. Personality tests can help you identify your talents instantly but be mindful that those talents will turn into strengths only through active development, application and mindful reflection.

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3 Situations when I think it’s better NOT to use personality tests 

#1 You crave to un-box yourself, break free and find who you are

– perhaps you fell into a role and now after years you lost the connection with who you really are. You feel inboxed and locked in a imaginary cage of your job that seems to define who you are. You feel it’s time to break free, revaluate and re-design your career to bring more joy, fulfilment and perhaps freedom to really express who you are.

I don’t really recommend to use personality test for that as the first step. Why? Simply put, you may end up boxing yourself into a “new box” rather than engage your curiosity and intuition to explore who you really are! If you didn’t feel there is more to you, you wouldn’t feel the nudge to explore it, would you? I would encourage you to start connecting with your needs, desires and goals and take the test later on.

#2 You’re facing a life-changing career decisions

– starting a business or taking a completely different turn in your career. If you want to put that time and energy into building a new career, build it on a more decent foundations such as values, life goals, passions and purpose rather than the results from a personality test.It’s also recommended to start with exploring your Why.

#3 You aren’t willing to put any effort into making a positive change and discovering a new version of you

I clearly see a difference in my clients results in one thing, their committment. People who are committed enough to work on their transformation and put effort into making a positive change, do not fix their attention and decision only on personality tests. You can take many tests and still feel unclear, confused or not confident enough.
If you don’t believe that you can make a positive change happen, a personality test will not make up for that lack of confidence or make decisions for you. It can give you some guidance, but the next steps – using those results to take action or making decision – will still need to be done by yourself.
Want to discover and build on your talents? Why don’t you reach out to me now? Let’s chat how I can help you turn the results from personality test into concrete steps towards reaching your career goals.


Author: AdriAna Kosovska

Certified coach & founder of ZERO TO DREAM JOB

Helping unfulfilled professionals and freelancers in 30s & 40s create a rewarding career

Dream job & Career Development  |  Stress management |  Talents development