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The Evolution of the Personality Test

by rickey

posted in Business

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It was Isabel Myers that probably brought the Personality Test into the public arena in the 1950's. Isabel spent her life making Jung's work more applicable to every day life. The implications of the theory go beyond statistics and can be expressed only in human terms. Isabel Myers' mother, Katherine Briggs, started the research into what was to become the Myers Briggs Type indicator (MBTI)

The young Isabel was involved with this work from an early age. |Isabel Myers started working on the indicator when she was very young. She was not a psychologist; however she was very clever and worked closely with her mother on the pioneering stages of the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) Isabel died in 1980 and her work on the MBTI had consumed her life from very early. She refined and trialed each discovery with a wide audience, however the real breakthrough came in the 1940's when she persuaded the US military to trial the instrument.

MBTI is not the only Personality Test. In fact it is not even the only personality test based on the work of Carl Jung. In the same way that Isabel Myers brought the Personality Test into industry, People Maps made the first free online personality test available to the general public via the Internet in 2000. Until People Maps came along you had to be trained to interpret a personality test, something that was expensive and time consuming. |Personality tests were not accessible to the public up until People Maps came along, as much training was required to use them.

Most tests were paper based, as were the reports. No one gave away free personality tests. People Maps made professional, personality tests accessible to the general public and were arguably the first to give a free, professional personality test online. The questionnaire and the report were delivered entirely online and required no interpretation.

The Internet age had arrived increasingly since the 1950's companies have been using the personality test to help them with recruitment and training. It is estimated that companies spend over $100 million per year on personality tests. Companies continue to invest this kind of money because they have discovered that personality is a huge factor in productivity. To ignore human personality when trying to build a business is folly.

It will be the people that make or break a business. It will be their personality that determines just how successful the business will be. So companies use the personality test in recruitment, where they have discovered that some jobs are more naturally suited to one personality type more than another. They have discovered that if you mismatch the personality type then the employee is not only less productive and successful in the role but they become stressed and unhappy in it too.

This ultimately leads to high staff turnover, which is a huge expense. Given that companies spend billions on recruitment every year, anything that reduce staff turnover by even 1% results in a huge saving. The personality test is also used in training and development.  How we learn is a personality issue. Our preferred communication style and our learning style are dictated by our personality type. Of course the thing to remember is that although we commonly call it a "personality test" it isn't actually a test. A more accurate term would be personality assessment. Most personality test providers provide their service to companies; People Maps took a different approach and developed the first professional, personality test for the general public.

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