What is the Best Personality Profile?

January 15, 2018


The use of psychometric testing, particularly personality profiling, for recruitment and selection has grown significantly over the past 20 years.  In line with that growth there has also been a proportional growth in the number of psychometric tools and tests available.

For example, after conducting a 30 minute perusal of known test provider websites I was able to identify 36 different personality or behavioural assessments. Further to this, the various test suppliers make claims about the superiority of their product(s), such as:

“The largest portfolio of 1,000+ off-the-shelf assessments that precisely measure skills, behaviour and performance, and accurately predict potential for all major job categories and levels in every sector”.  

“We enhance the performance of individuals and organizations by providing high-quality, research-based assessment solutions delivered by a dedicated team of professionals using state-of-the-art technology. We aspire to be the industry-leading provider of assessments for selecting and developing people and shaping organizations”.  

“No other personality test is backed by as much research and as many years of use as is the MBTI instrument, which has been taken by millions of people worldwide”,  

With so many tests available, and providers making the usual marketing claims, how can a consumer of psychometric testing decide upon the best or most appropriate personality profile?

The best approach is to ask what are the findings from scientific research.  There are many good reasons to adopt a scientific approach to decisions about recruitment and psychometric testing, however, the most salient reason is the same reason why science has proved to be such a successful human endeavour.  At the core of science is the notion that scientists are always trying to be disprove existing theories.  The longer the theory cannot be disproven the more robust the theory and the more widely accepted that theory becomes.

So what does science say about personality. The scientific research into personality over the past three decades has overwhelmingly supported a model of normal personality referred to as the “Five-Factor Model of Personality” or sometimes called the “Big Five”.

And, the only personality questionnaire and profile that measures the Five-Factor Model is the “NEO-PI-3”.

Some quotes from scientific journal articles about the Five-Factor Model of Personality are as follows:

“The Big-Five/Five-Factor model of personality, based on the trait approach, is considered by most authors to be the most investigated and validated model of personality currently available.”  

“In the 1980s a consensus began to emerge on a Five-Factor model developed by Costa & McCrae.  Support for the Five-Factor model has been further strengthened by a series of meta-analyses confirming the Big-Five’s predictive validity in terms of behaviours and life outcomes across a wide range of contexts.  The Five-Factor model is now the most widely accepted general model of personality used today.”  

“The NEO-PI-3 is rapidly becoming one of the most popular measures of normal personality in the research literature.  The psychometric properties, including predictive validity, of this inventory are uniformly favourable as evidenced by empirical reviews”.

“Throughout history there have been a number of collaborations which have been so rich that the result of these joint efforts have changed our thinking in fundamental and pivotal ways.  For example, Lewis and Clark changed the way Americans thought about their geography, Watson and Crick profoundly clarified the way scientist thought about the structure of DNA, and Costa and McCrae have fundamentally changed and modified our way of thinking about the dimensions and assessment of personality traits”.

Therefore, the personality profile supported by independent scientific research is the Five-Factor Model of Personality as measured by the NEO-PI-3 and is the profile that should be used when it is necessary to gain an understanding of someone’s personality and behaviour.

Fermion specialises in using the NEO-PI-3.  Contact us for more information.