How to prepare for SHL's personality test (OPQ)

Employers are interested in different personality traits as indicators of job-relevant behaviours. A common personality test used by employers is a test developed by Saville & Holdsowrth Ltd (SHL) called the Occupational Personality Questionnaire (OPQ), which is often referred to as SHL’s personality test (after the test authors).

The OPQ measures 32 different personality traits that are relevant to occupational settings. Ultimately the test measures traits with the purpose of determining your behavioural style at work. Employers often use this personality test to see how well job applicants fit the role they are applying for.

When undertaking the OPQ, you are asked to make forced choice responses (otherwise referred to as an ipsative approach). For instance, each question in the OPQ has 4 statements or adjectives such as friendly, leader, team player and confident. You are required to rate which is the most and least like you out of the 4 statements/adjectives, rather than rating each individual statement or adjective on a scale. Thus your final score is likely to indicate your relative strengths and weaknesses. It is therefore important to prepare for such tests through online practice psychometric tests so that you are confident that you are demonstrating your strengths to your potential employer when you undertake your real psychometric test.

The 32 personality traits measured in the OPQ are grouped into categories such as: Relationships, Sociability (e.g., outgoing, socially confident), Influence (e.g., persuasive, outspoken, independent minded), Empathy (e.g., democratic, caring), and Thinking style (e.g., evaluative, rational). The OPQ also includes a social desirability measure to detect ‘faking’ responses.

The multi-dimensional forced choice nature of the OPQ can be cognitively challenging for test-takers. For instance, processing several items at the same time requires good reading skills and comprehension. Additionally, choosing which statement is most and least like you requires you to conduct several mental comparisons which can be stressful when you are under pressure and the stakes are high. This highlights the benefits of practicing psychometric tests online.

Practicing for the OPQ personality test will ensure that you are confident and free of stress when taking this personality test. It will also ensure that you are capable of demonstrating your relevant personality characteristics and demonstrate your fit against the job requirements to your potential employer. To learn more about how to effectively prepare for the OPQ, please read about our personality test course and personality practice test online. Click to try our free sample personality test. You can also see our preparation solutions for the personality test

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