Personality tests are more than just recreational or self-improving; you might even run into them on your next job search.
The top online personality tests can expose parts of our personality we don’t see or reveal dynamic traits we don’t appreciate in ourselves.
The internet allows us to explore the hidden chambers of our character from the privacy of our own homes, but you should use logic and common sense when choosing which personality test to take and which tests to trust.
Are Online Personality Tests Reliable?
The best online personality test is hard to narrow down because each can bring different insights.
You should also know the difference between the broad term “personality test” and a legitimate test before you click the link.
You could be exposing a gullible side of yourself by clicking on a dangerous link or sharing personal information with a dark web entity.
Social Media Quizzes: These “tests” pop up in our social feeds, and we’re usually egged on by friends who’ve done it. A personality test differs from “Which Pretty Little Liar are you?” Even the Better Business Bureau warns against taking social media quizzes.
Mental Health Assessments: When you see a therapist or psychiatrist, you’ll likely be asked to take an online assessment of your mental health or a possible personality disorder. These tests distinguish between issues like depression or borderline personality disorder.
Personality Tests: These tests are popular yet clinically backed to help you learn more about yourself. It’s not shady like a social media quiz or as intimidating as a mental health assessment.
Always consider how much personal information you feel safe sharing when seeking personality guidance. The best free personality test could also expose more than you bargained for.
13 of the Best Online Personality Tests
All personality tests offer a glimpse at essential aspects of yourself that could impact your personal and professional life.
The best one for you might be the most intense and time-consuming or the shortest one, depending on your patience and allotted time.
The Big Five has been around for decades and is one of the most well-known and trusted personality tests used in science, research, professional recruiting, and personal exploration.
So what are the Big Five? Use the acronym OCEAN to understand.
These five personality traits were whittled down from 4,000 then 16 to be the basic foundation of a human’s personality in a WEIRD (Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic) country.
One helpful aspect of this test is that you aren’t “this or that.” Instead, you are given a percentage of where you fall in each Big Five category.
DOES IT WORK?: As a popular test in science and among the public, new studies have started to question its validity. You need to be honest and not make it a moral challenge when agreeing or disagreeing with statements like “I sympathize with the homeless” or “I treat everyone with kindness and sympathy.”
COST: The test is free, but you could be prompted to “sign up” for a more detailed report. That step is not necessary to get your results. There isn’t an “official” Big Five website.
President Woodrow Wilson was in office when the foundation of the Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator was first developed.
The mother-daughter duo of Katharine Briggs and Isabel Myers started working through what would become the 12 personality types, with the first official manual published in 1962.
MTBI®, as we know it today, consists of four categories that spell out an acronym for each test taker.
The test results in an answer that might look like ISFJ, the most common type. INFJ is the least common.
DOES IT WORK?: You could start a whole Twitter war answering this question. Research backs up and then systematically dismisses the validity, depending on what research you explore. More than two million people take the test each year in some form, so it’s a good discussion point.
COST: If you want the official version through the certified Myers-Briggs organization (MTBI®), you’ll pay a minimum of $49.95. You also get confirmation from certified MTBI® experts and access to videos to help you better understand and implement the results. Other websites might offer results for free, but they can’t be certified or connected to the official program.
With so many experts disagreeing when the Enneagram concept was born, it’s hard to believe it’s still a legitimate personality test.
However, the work at the Enneagram Institute® proves the science behind the results is still very much a part of psychology.
The Enneagram test will give you one of nine results.
Results will give the main number, but you’ll also get a “wing,” which is your subtype.
DOES IT WORK?: Scientists push back at this test as it offers “this or that” questions. If you’re asked if you are romantic or pragmatic, you have to choose the one you most identify with, while you might actually be a balance of both. Bonus to the Enneagram Institute for facing the validity concerns head-on.
Remember how the Big Five creators thought 16 was too many? Not the trio of scientists who first published the 16PF in 1949.
Now on its fifth edition, this test includes 185 multiple-choice questions that haven’t strayed too far off the path from the first edition.
The 16 factors are:
Openness to Change
Results show you where you rank on the spectrum of each personality factor.
DOES IT WORK?: To determine 16 personality factors, you’ll need to take a long test. If you are patient and take your time, you’ll get better results. Since this test evolved from the concept of Myers-Briggs, there’s a lot of research and popularity pushing it forward.
COST: Plenty of free versions of this test are available online.
HEXACO gets a little dark, adding an “Honesty/Humility” aspect to the personality, turning the Big Five theory into six personality traits. You’d be answering questions like, “How likely are you to steal a million dollars if you knew you’d never get caught?”
Not only are the questions soul-searching, but you’ll wrestle with some moral dilemmas along the way.
DOES IT WORK? This is a relatively new model, having been created in 2020. The jury is still out, but you’ll enjoy your gut-wrenching decisions and learn more about yourself before you even get the detailed results.
COST: This free test includes some demographic information that still protects your privacy.
6. Revised NEO Personality Inventory (NEO-PI-R)
At times, you’ll see the Big Five and NEO Personality Inventory used interchangeably, as they rank the same five factors. However, they are not duplicates.
Results include 27 specific personality traits and five redundant personality traits to the Big Five.
DOES IT WORK?: It’s worth taking both the Big Five and NEO-PI-R to see if you get similar results for your validity. Since it builds off the more scientifically accepted Big Five, there’s a strong lean toward trusting this test.
COST: The free test has optional demographic or contact information sections at the end.
Hans Eysenck studied everything from IQ in relation to race, the genetics of personality, and Psychoticism (the study of traits like aggression, impulsivity, and anti-social behaviors, to name a few.)
This test digs into just three personality elements.
We love this test because of a special category we haven’t seen in any other. It ranks the likelihood that you lied on the test to appear better or different than you are. Now that’s clever!
DOES IT WORK?: With just 57 questions, you are likelier to be honest than on other tests.
COST: This is a free test.
The DISC Assessment is a breath of fresh air with just 28 questions that rank you into one of four categories, with results that show your levels in the other three areas.
This test is geared toward revealing what type of colleague or employee you will be than learning your innermost personality traits.
DOES IT WORK?: It is a trusted test by many employers to see how you’ll work independently and in a group setting while revealing how you’re likely to handle obstacles along the way.
COST: The test is free, but if you do a basic search, you’ll find many sites looking to get your personal information. The link above is free; no personal data is required.
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Ok, so we’ve all heard of Type A (competitive/aggressive) and Type B (follow the leader/passive), but did you know there were Type C and Type D??
Formally, the categories are known as:
Type A: The Director
Type B: The Socializer
Type C: The Thinker
Type D: The Supporter
You’ll find more personality tests pit Type A against Type B or simply ask, “Are You Type A?” We managed to find the one above that gauges all four. Understanding the different types beyond A/B is probably more helpful than the test itself.
SPOILER ALERT: There’s a Type X, too!
DOES IT WORK?: Finding a test that ranked all four Types wasn’t easy, and the typos in the questions give away that it’s not scientifically backed. However, it’s a great gauge to see if you’re one of the Types we don’t talk about enough in society.
COST: This is a free quiz, but its results are suspect.
If HEXACO got a little dark, this one goes full-on psychopathic, which is ideal since it’s essentially looking to see how much of a psychopath you are (or aren’t). It goes deep into topics like:
While this test is used more in a clinical setting to determine mental disorders, it could also be a good tipping point to decide whether you should seek help.
Of course, if you’re a psychopath, you’ll have an excuse for avoiding help.
The Caliper Assessment test was designed in the 1960s by a Rutgers professor tasked with devising a test to weed out ineffective salespeople or people who could fake the best results for the test.
In modern-day practice, this test and related materials are still used to seek out the best employees for a job while offering candidates insights into their abilities in their chosen career path.
The test has four sections and 98 questions, with a bonus section that resembles more of an IQ test with logic, patterns, and reasoning.
Does It Work?: Several sample tests are available to prepare for the real thing during a job interview, but you can also use that if you’re choosing or realigning your career path.
Cost: The sample tests are free, and the company will eat the costs of the test given during the interview process.
Generally referred to as the SHL test, this psychometric test is used globally, covering 150 counties and 30 languages.
About half of Fortune Global 500 companies, including Amazon and Microsoft, use it. It measures 32 characteristics among 104 questions, with three crucial areas:
DOES IT WORK?: When major companies worldwide support it, it must give good results. SHL testing is beneficial when determining the potential of an employee just out of college or considering a strong employee for a promotion.
COST: Companies will pay for the actual tests, but the practice tests are free.
13. Four Tendencies
This test, designed by Gretchen Rubin, author and influencer on happiness and human nature, was designed to make your life better through the answer to one universal question – “How do I respond to expectations.” There are four outcomes.
You can also take the test and get daily tips while setting “Aims” (goals). The app is free, with some in-app purchase options, and is easy to use. It even won a 2022 Webby Award for Best Visual Design.
DOES IT WORK?: This test can help you spot flaws in your habits, like when you consistently overperform at work but burn yourself out since you don’t treat personal expectations the same as professional ones.
It can also help you realize why you feel like you’re surrounded by idiots daily (because you’re a Rebel).
COST: The test and app are free, but I’m sure Rubin would love it if you purchased her book The Happiness Project or something else from her online store.
Why You Should Take An Online Personality Test
Whether fun, informative or mind-blowing, taking popular personality tests can offer great insight and help you learn more about yourself, setting the stage for improved self-awareness and personal growth.
FOMO: Many of these tests are referred to on social media or talked about among friends and colleagues, so it helps give even introverted people a good socialization step.
OMG: Personality tests using non-leading questions can help you see sides of your personality or habits you might not realize. Sometimes the truth is hidden in plain sight.
BRB: You can “be right back” and take a step away when you feel one of your personality flaws taking over during an important event. It also helps offer a good stepping stone to conversations with your therapist or your dream job.
Online personality tests should be part of a greater blueprint for self-improvement.
These tests are often used in job application processes and by recruiters, so it’s wise to know the foundations before applying. Take each test (assuming it’s free) twice to confirm the results. Be honest, and don’t rush.