Gaining a deeper understanding of yourself and how your mind works is necessary in order to make a good decision about what career path you wish to pursue. Its also helpful to have this strong self-awareness in all other aspects of life too. Personality Inventories (personality tests) can be a very helpful tool in this regard, in that they prompt you into some self-reflection and can provide a helpful framework for better understanding your own personality and your respective strengths and challenges.
There are many different approaches to the study of personality and whether one should focus more on traits or types, fixed traits or states, or even which personality test is the best, most accurate or most useful. Regardless of those debates, almost any personality test can still be an excellent tool to aid in self-examination and self-assessment and can help you on your journey to a better self-understanding as well as finding a career that fits with your unique personality.
The "16 Types"
Unlike the other models on this page, the “16 Personality Types” refers to a multiple different type-based personality inventories and tests that are all originally based on the work of Dr. Carl Jung. The 16 distinct 4×2 letter acronym types were first named in conjunction with the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI®) and later the same acronyms were used in the Keirsey Temperament Sorter. Today these 16 types are the most well-known in the field of personality typing and thus are also used as the resulting type outputs from a myriad of different type test providers.
The Enneagram is a model of human psyche based on a 3×3 arrangement resulting in 9 interconnected personality types. Each personality type also has a stress point and security point. For example, a Type 5 person may act like a Type 8 when feeling secure, or like a Type 7 during times of stress. Likewise, each type can have a “wing” of an adjacent number, thus resulting in 18 (or 27) total possible type variations. The Enneagram test is particularly popular in Christian communities though it is also widely used in secular communities as well.
The DiSC assessment is one of the most popular personality assessments to date. Based on the work of Walter Clarke in the 1950’s, the DiSC assessment measures personality types across four dimensions, namely: Dominance (D), influence (i), Steadiness (S) and Conscientious (C). There are then eight ‘styles’ measured by the DiSC assessment, which are combinations of two traits (e.g., Di, iS, etc). These personality styles are used to give a more accurate and personalized description of our goals, fears, strengths, how we handle conflict and our areas of self-development.
The DiSC assessment is more focused on behavior than some of the other other popular models, and is heavily used in the workplace particularly by many large employers.
Holland Codes (RIASEC)
The Holland Codes were introduced by American psychologist John Holland in the 1970’s. It is one of the only personality theories that looks specifically at personality in relation to careers and vocational choices.
The Holland Codes measure personality across six types: realistic, investigative, artistic, social, enterprising and conventional, with personality being a blend across all six types for a total of 720 possible combinations. The model then proposes that based on our personality combination we will find different workplace environments more to our liking. Using the Holland Code, we can narrow down a humongous list of careers to the ones that promote work environments that match our expression of personality.
The Big Five model, also referred to as OCEAN or the “Five Factor Model”, is a trait-based personality model which means it aims to help you better understand your traits without grouping them together into “types”. While not as widely-known at the MBTI or “16 Types” models, the Big Five generally has more support from academia and scores high marks for both its validity and reliability as a testing tool. The model evaluates personality traits each on a sliding scale of these five components: Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness and Neuroticism.