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Life, Mind, Productivity

Personality profiling | How profiling can help you to discover your personality strengths and flaws

A notepad that says: 'find yourself and be that', as well as two pens, a coffee cup and a laptop computer.

Personality profiling is a tool you can use to become more in tune with your inner self, your behaviour and the things that make you tick. You can do it online too, for free.

I’ve written about goal setting, vision boards and how fables can help us grow from within, because I’m convinced that being self aware can help us to develop. But can free personality profiling really assist with self awareness? Or are they a useless gimmick? 


Why bother with personality profiling?

You might wonder why you’d need to do a test to tell you what you’re like. You know yourself better than anybody, right? Perhaps. But if you could do a free questionnaire that explains your natural leanings and you could get a clearer insight into your personality and your behaviour, then why wouldn’t you?

Personality profiling has helped me to focus on the positive aspects of my personality and to accept my flaws a little more. It’s also helped me to negotiate difficult personalities in the workplace and it’s assisted me when it comes to seeking out the things (and the people) that make me tick.

My personal favourite

Myers Briggs is one of the most popular personality profile tests. On 16 personalities you can carry out a free assessment, which is based on the Myers Briggs theory. The test consists of 130 questions and it claims to measure 4 dimensions and 23 facets of your personality. It takes around 15 minutes to complete and at the end of the test, you will be told which of the 16 personality types you’re closest to, based on your answers.

What are the 16 personalities?

The 16 personalities all feature four out of eight possible variables. The following elements are looked at within the test:

  • I/E (introvert or extrovert). This element measures what energises you. Are you uplifted by being around people, or do you need alone time?
  • S/N (sensing or intuition). This area measures how you process information. It determines if you make decisions based on what you can see directly, or in a more abstract way. 
  • T/F (thinking or feeling). This looks at the classic dilemma between the head and the heart, to determine which usually wins with you. 
  • J/P (judging or perceiving). Finally, this element looks at whether a person prefers structure, or spontaneity.

People can take the test for free and depending on your answers, you’ll be told that you fit into one of the following personality types: INFP (the healer), INTJ (the mastermind), INFJ (the counselor), INTP (the architect), ENFP (the champion), ENTJ (the commander), ENTP (the visionary), ENFJ (the teacher), ISFJ (the protector), ISFJ (the composer), ISTJ (the inspector), ISTP (the craftsperson), ESFJ (the provider), ESFP (the performer), ESTJ (the supervisor), or ESTP (the dynamo). You can read about what each personality means here

Other tests that people use

Gretchin Rubin has a free test that will enable you to determine your tendency and find out whether you’re an Upholder, a Questioner, a Obliger, or a Rebel. Your type depend on how you respond to external rules and internal rules.

You can also take the colour test, which seems to be loosely based on The Primary Colours® Model, which is a popular leadership profiling test.

Naturally you will think that some personality questionnaires are more useful than others. Some you will take fun and you won’t think beyond them being something to do the pass the time. However, on other occasions, a result will sound so accurate that you can’t help but delve a little deeper.

Finding out about your team at work

Employers also use these types of assessments, to see what types of people they have within their organisations. They often use the results to help them to determine that each team within the business has the right skillset.

Some companies use these questionnaires more than others and varying amounts of importance is placed on the results, depending on the workplace culture.  For some management teams, it just gives them a rough guide and a list of factors to consider when they’re next recruiting. 

Understanding the personality demographics of within the workplace can be useful for the employee too. If you’re finding particular individuals, like a group of peers, or even a manager, tricky to work with, then it is worth asking what their overall result was. That way, you can read up on it and get an understanding of what makes them tick.  

If you work for an organisation that likes to present their employees with an odd personality test, then try to approach it with an open mind and answer honestly. If you think about it too deeply, then you’re likely to sway the results. 

Hacks: ways that free personality profiling can help you

Is personality profiling worth it?

It’s important to remember that the questionnaire you’re taking is based on theory, not fact. You’re a human and an individual, so you may get a variable answer, depending on how well you feel when you take the test, or how much sleep you got the night before. That’s why you shouldn’t view your results and hold them in super high regard, as it’s likely that you’d get a different result on a different day.

You may read your profile and think it’s a load of codswallop. If that happens, then you’ve wasted 15 minutes, but you can just dismiss your result and move on. I do, however, think that these assessments are worth exploring, because they can help you identify things within yourself and others. The result may help you when you’re making a decision, struggling to communicate, or battling with an element of your personality. 

When it comes to psychological profiling I am a particular fan of the Myers Briggs concept and feel that my result is true of my personality. My result has also helped me when I’ve struggled with a particular situation, or person. So whilst I wouldn’t base my life on the results that come from these personality profiling tests, I do think they’re worthwhile, so I would always be happy to fill in a new one. It’s an interesting, free exercise and at the very least, it’s a talking point! 

If you enjoyed this article then you should read: Extrovert? Ambivert? Omnivert? How to thrive in isolation, before exploring my productivity section. If you’re looking for free resources connected with the mind, then check out: 15 ways to look after your mental health (for free).

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in November 2020 and has since been revamped for accuracy and comprehensiveness.