Right Fit

By Chelle Cordero

May 1, 2009 4 min read


Personality factors into workplace satisfaction

Chelle Cordero

Creators News Service

Monday morning comes and you find you just can't face the work week. So instead you hit snooze -- again -- and pull the covers up over your head to block out the morning sun.

Have you ever found yourself doing this? Maybe you aren't in the right job. Perhaps you wonder why some people just seem to be naturals at their jobs; how can one person sit behind a desk in a solitary office all day long while another is happiest with the rush of action and the unexpected.

More and more employers are finding it useful to give potential employees personality tests to see how well you would fit -- this will help them decide if you can give them the level of effort they want, what your motives are for wanting to fill that job position and even if they could expect you to remain in that position for a reasonable length of time. Career counseling centers use personality tests to help you decide what types of jobs would make you the happiest and fulfilled.

"Using personality type testing [or the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator] truly helps my clients gain a great deal of clarity during their career change process," explained Joan M. Roberts, a certified career management coach with CareerMasters in Maine.

For the employee, being placed in a position that is comfortable and meets expectations will make the job less stressful and allow a more positive outlook towards responsibilities.

It beats the alternative, as going to a job that you are unhappy with could lead to fatigue, burn out, depression and stress. This affects more than just your 9-to-5 routine -- it can hurt your family relationships, diminish friendships and even make you turn to addictive and destructive behaviors like alcohol or drugs.

An employer's personality test is often geared to what has worked best for them. Questions will often be reworded and asked multiple times -- this is to make sure the test-taker is not "faking" their responses. The U.S. Department of Labor suggested that job seekers prepare by understanding themselves and being honest about what they want and expect. Make a list of things you like to do, examine your history and evaluate the jobs and classes you enjoyed the most and why, look over your resume and see what duties your past jobs included and be honest about what is appealing to you about that particular job position.

"I do believe that understanding yourself and your personality type preferences can make all the difference when it comes to finding a career that you love," Roberts said.

If you're looking to get to a new job without tests, the department offers several simplified recommendations mainly aimed towards youth as they move through their educational opportunities: If you are good at math then look towards statisticians, engineers, surveyors and actuaries. If you love to read, consider becoming a writer, librarian, desktop publisher or secretary. Music and arts lovers should look into acting, visual arts, music or designing. Social studies students can become politicians, urban planners, historians and human resource assistants.

Other considerations to think about include if you enjoy helping people, working with your hands, fixing things, dealing with nature and your preference to work alone or in a group.

Employees who are unhappy with their current positions, don't like their work environment, feel under-appreciated or believe there is no room for advancement often consider career changes.

"Regardless of how my clients come to me, we always step back and look at where they are and how they got there," Roberts said. "Looking back and assessing/analyzing their current situation and the career path they have followed is essential to making good career decisions in the future."

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