What is a Personality Profile

A personality profile is created either by a consultant specialized in achieving a certain type of personality profile or through a software program that a consultant has the license to use.

I am using the term consultant because, nowadays, not only psychologists create personality profiles but also human resources specialists. Because there are so many theories in the personality field, one can hardly say that one is more correct than the other. It is rather about precision and applicability for a certain position. For instance, if you want an overview of somebody’s personality, something that would offer you a 360-degree perspective, you use CPI+ (California Personality Inventory Plus), Identity Compass, JobEQ test battery, Cognitrom test battery, or other complex instruments, which obviously require a high level of professional training, and are more expensive but, at the same time, more accurate. If you search them by their name on Google, you will easily find them.

If you want to hire somebody for a management position, then MLQ (Multi Leadership Questionnaire) is more appropriate.

If you are interested in hiring somebody who would work with the public or in public, you will probably be interested in emotional intelligence, so you should probably use, for instance, Reuven Bar-On or EQ-i.

If you want to check certain aspects at one’s workplace, for instance, the employees’ satisfaction, you can use JSS (Job Satisfaction Survey, created by Phil Spector, which can be found free online), or for instance, stress at work (you have Maslach burnout inventory which can also be found free online).

If you are interested in something more restrictive but general, i.e. something as a rough guide that would give you a few ideas, then MBTI (Myers Briggs Types Inventory) could work – although it is rather ancient, PCM (Process Communication Model) or EPQ-R (Eysenck Personality Questionnaire-Revised).

So, you should first set what you want to find out, then choose an instrument and search for providers that would implement and make an individual interpretation of the respective profiles.

Most of the time, the personality evaluation instruments are structured or at least quasi-structured questionnaires that are meant to measure certain inclinations, tendencies, stable traits that somebody has so that you would know best how to put the right person in the right place.

For instance, a communication and public relations graduate who displays obvious proactive tendencies can be a spokesperson, while one who has reactive (or reflective) tendencies can be a good speechwriter.

The questions or situations (items) that each questionnaire suggests are based on a very well-thought structure and strategy, so that each item measures at least a certain trait. Each and every answer of the person to which the questionnaire is applied records a value that is then measured on a scale and interpreted by the consultant.
Traditionally and professionally, each questionnaire is applied to a representative population (at least 1076 participants, says the theory but studies often go as far as many thousands of participants) to perform a rating. This rating is important because, depending on it, the consultant can interpret the profile more clearly and accurately. Thus, for instance, a certain result may seem proactive coming from a Frenchman but not from an American.

So, the personality profile is created by:

answering the questions of certain personality inventory or reacting to the hypothetical situations in which an inventory puts you

offering a meaning to the answers on a scale, either through manual scoring performed by a consultant or using automatic scoring, performed by a software

interpreting the results obtained by the questioned person, depending on the theory underlying the personality inventory

offering a clear image, possibly graphical as well (many profiles usually include a drawing, a diagram), together with the appropriate recommendations for that person, depending on the context in which (s)he needs evaluation.

I have referred above to a scientifically performed personality profile. Together with these, to provide more gradated information, one can also use other instruments. For instance, the self-applicable personality questionnaires (I don’t mean those which can be found in the magazines meant for women – those are entertainment fantasies), the quasi-structured interviews, and certain pseudoscientific methods (the graphological analysis – see for instance here, the tree test, etc.).

The most “solid” quasi-structured interviews that I know and recommend are Language and Behavior Profile – see Words That Change Minds: The 14 Patterns for Mastering the Language of Influence by Shelle Rose Charvet  reviewed here and the behavioral interview – see the book Lori Davila and Louise Koursmark’s book “How to Choose the Right Person for the Right Job Every Time

In general, in Romania, many people have come up with all kinds of UFOs that they have presented as personality profiles, deprived of scientific or accurate features. Some of them – I repeat – SOME – can be interesting, cute, and even useful to use but only together with a professional instrument, and to sometimes grade certain aspects.

Marcus Victor Grant

Copyright © Marcus Victor Grant 2007-present Translation by Cristiana Brezeanu of the article “Ce este un profil de personalitate previously published initially in Romanian on the 23rd of January 2013 on Discerne. Copyright © Marcus Victor Grant, all rights reserved. Originally written in 2007.

The materials on this blog are subject to this disclaimer.

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