Don’t Underestimate the Power of Self-Assessments in Securing Your Next Job Opportunity

Typically, when applying for jobs; at a certain stage, you might be asked to complete some kind of Ability Assessments and Personalities Questionnaires. Because of these self-assessments hiring company’s would then be able to look into your profile and better understand who you are as a person.

Reading into your personal report, you might get surprised, you might agree or disagree with what is written in the report. To avoid that surprise-factor, why not be a step ahead with the hiring companies by doing self-assessments on your own? And turn the surprise into your own strength.

With 6 years professional working experience in the Netherlands, I have encountered many times when assessments and questionnaires have been used during the hiring process. And it does not stop there; even once you are in the company, there can still be similar initiatives taking place. In the past 2 years, i have been working on the assessment and development projects (both within marketing and HR departments), which proved even better than knowing your strengths and weaknesses would always be beneficial in your career growth. 

In this article, I will explain a little bit further about the most beneficial self-assessments tools. In part 1, I will share the explanation and tips that were provided by my colleagues from the recruitment team. In part 2, I will explain where you can learn about some other tools that I used throughout my career; the ones I found really interesting and insightful, and always recommend for my friends to check out. 

So let’s dive straight in.

Let’s Look Into Tools Being Used in the Recruitment Process

Self-assessment tools are powerful tools that Talent Acquisition Teams use to better understand a candidate’s abilities, personality and motivation drivers. Usually it is conducted online; and the outcome of an assessment is treated confidentially and needs to be verified by the assessor, who is certified as such by the company in providing the assessment tools. 

Typically, there are 3 different types of self-assessments, which can be used separately or all at once

1. Ability/Cognitive assessment

The cognitive ability test consists of 3 parts: verbal reasoning, inductive reasoning and numerical reasoning. This assessment helps give insight into a person’s ability to navigate 3 types of reasonings.

SHL Verify is one of the most popular tools; you can click this link to see the examples of questions being used in this type of assessment.

2. Personality questionnaire 

The personality questionnaire goes a bit deeper into a person’s psyche to reveal the candidate’s personality regarding 3 areas: their relationship with people, their thinking style and their feelings & emotions.

For this questionnaire, there are no right or wrong answers, as it simply shows insights towards personality characteristics in the 3 areas mentioned above.  Check out how it works in practice here

3. Motivation questionnaire

This is not motivation for the vacancy. The motivation questionnaire is similar to the personality questionnaire because there is no right or wrong answer; and there is no time limitation either. It reveals motivational and demotivational factors of the candidate within the workplace which can drive your work performance. Questions describe situations that are likely to increase or reduce the individual’s motivation to work. 

For example, a question can be something like “You would do extra work on a project if…”, and then it provides you few choices to select: if you get more pay, if your colleague does the same, if your boss asks you to, if you want to learn yourself, etc… Or a question can be that you are given two different conditions, and it asks you which one you prefer more: following the rules and procedures given, or being flexible and agile.

To see more how this questionnaire is in practice, check out this link SHL Motivation Questionnaire (MQ)

But, why should I do additional self-assessments myself?

Companies use these tools for the new hire selection, internal movements, talent management, team building, team performance improvement, succession planning and the list of purposes goes on. 

But you of course can leverage these types of tools for your own benefits. There is no doubt that the results can help you with your personal development by helping you identify strengths and developments needed.

Self-assessments will help you with a chain of different benefits; from being more self-aware, you can manage yourself better, and then gain more motivation and confidence. And even further it can improve your social skills, self-awareness can be a foundation of Emotional Intelligence and development of the Empathetic Social Skills (Emotional Intelligence, Daniel Golman). Check further in one of the articles here.

Understanding who you are upfront will help you not only in finding work, but also in managing your personal life. Doing self-assessments will give you the following benefits: (What color is your Parachute, Richard N. Bolles)

  • You learn to describe yourself better
  • You can see the direction for yourself with newer insights.
  • Bring you mindfulness (and vice versa, mindfulness leads to self-awareness) which improves your decision making
  • You will have a clearer picture of what exactly you are looking for in your professional and personal life.
  • With a clearer picture of a job that excites you, you will be more  motivated in your job-search
  • You will be more proactive in your job-hunting, instead of waiting for the (any) vacancy to open. You can choose what matches you and approaches them.
  • You will stand out among other candidates because you can show clearly to the employer your uniqueness and what you can bring up.
  • Give you new point of views to pause, to think and to asses of where you really want to go in your life


As I mentioned earlier, I have encountered several tools throughout my career that have helped me to learn more about myself and help me achieve the clarity on the direction that I am going towards. I instristincly love self-assessments tools, and usually search for more, and recommend the ones that I find useful and easy to my friends. And now, in this section, I am sharing with you my recommended list to kick start your self-discovery journey

1. MBTI 

I guess everyone is familiar with the MBTI concept. The original MBTI assessment tool ( shows four dimensions of personalities: extraversion vs introversion (i.e. in your favorite world, where do you gain your energy from: from social encounters or lots of me-time), sensing vs intuition (i.e. how do you process information), thinking vs feeling (i.e. how do you make decisions), and judging vs perceiving (i.e. how do you structure your information and options).

2. 16 personalities is one of my favorite and recommended sites; they have many tools and assessments to help you explore your personality traits. In their model, they combined the acronym introduced in MBTI (as described above) for the simplicity, with an additional dimension: assertive (person is self-assured, even-tempered and resistant to stress) vs turbulent (person is self-conscious and sensitive to stress).

This tool is easy to access, fun, easy and cute. Even with the free assessment, it is quite extensive and insightful too since it gives you not only a detailed description about the traits, but also guidelines on how you can navigate in your personal and professional life.

3. StrengthFinder

StrengthFinder is the Clifton Strengths assessment; which gives your personal ranking of their 34 strength themes. Which means this assessment will explain to you what are the powers that make the unique you (the natural way of how you think, feel and prefer to behave).

I genuinely love the title too; in our culture, we are so focused on improving our weaker points, while we forgot that the superpower comes from leveraging our strengths. The founder of this CliftonStrengths– Don Clifton wrote: “There is no more effective way to empower people than to see each person in terms of his or her strengths

What I like about this assessment tool, is that it has a diverse list of packages and products that you can choose which suits your wallet. Check the individual’s selection here.

What I would recommend further is for you to get the StrengthsFinder 2.0 book, since you can redeem the code from the book to get the assessment and get your personalized report; and also have the book to go through the guidelines and explanations about all the strengths; strategies on how to help you succeed in your personal and professional life leveraging your discovered strengths.

And if you are a bookworm, there are plenty of additional books that you can explore and choose that fits your needs.

  • StrengthsFinder 2.0
  • How Full Is Your Bucket?
  • Strengths Based Leadership
  • Now, Discover Your Strengths
  • Discover Your Sales Strengths
  • Teach With Your Strengths
  • Living Your Strengths

4. Holland Code

Dr. John L., Holland came up with the theory of identifying your 3 preferred people-environments among the 6 people environments that he identified: Realistic, investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising and Conventional.

So, where can you do it? Check the followings:

5. DISC Insights

Different angle to explore the personality and behavioral styles. Main reference points: Dominant, Influencing, Steadiness and Compliance. This is also a self-scoring booklet; and sometimes you might even see different variations of it (i.e. Insights Discover, Colour, etc).

You can access DISC Personality System ( to discover your profile (cost about $29)

6. Emergenetics

I have never done this one; but my friend is a certified coach of this tool. And I will try it out too to learn more about myself. You can find generic information about it here:  

Emergenetics Profile without Control Code – Emergenetics International 

And there are many other tools out there that you can explore; just make sure that you look into it carefully and select the legitimate ones and the ones that suits your needs (and your wallet). 

My last note

Self-exploration is a never-ending journey, but it is most definitely an enjoyable one.

You might see some of the self-assessments are not free; but well, if you can treat yourself to a nice meal or eating out to fill your belly. Why not treat yourself with one of the tools above to fill your self-awareness and confidence? Also, these reports you can keep for your lifetime. This will give you interesting insights about yourself before you jump into any new adventure.

So, in short: Give it a try, I hope you will be satisfied and it wouldn’t be a bad way to kick start your 2021.

Get in Touch with our Our Guest Writer:

Trang Do

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