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You make decisions as you go rather than plan everything in advance. Agree or Disagree?

If you’ve ever taken a personality assessment as part of the application process for a job, then you’ve probably wondered what these kinds of questions are getting at—and what your answers might be saying about you.

Maybe you’re not on the job market anymore, but if you’re involved in HR, chances are you use some type of assessment for hiring. Do you ever wonder how questions like this can generate concrete data about someone’s work style and potential to succeed?

Let’s revisit the question above for a sneak peak at the science behind our assessments.

This particular question measures the trait of work organization or conscientiousness. We use this question to see if the candidate is more of a planner (someone who is methodical, careful, and anticipates long-term outcomes), or more free-form (someone who is comfortable with shifts in priorities and is more likely to go with the flow).

Keep in mind, this is just one question that measures work organization/conscientiousness. It’s important to ask several different questions around the same theme to get a more comprehensive view of the candidate. Looking at the response to a single question won’t give you a very good sense of the candidate’s personality overall, or how they compare to other working professionals.

In evaluating these responses, it’s important to look for ideal ranges, rather than high or low scores. You might assume that high work organization is a good thing in any job, but being too high on this trait might mean that the candidate has trouble in situations where they need to react spontaneously. The ideal range will vary depending on the job, but mid-range scores or a balance of high and low scores are usually best.

Want to get a feel for the full assessment experience? Sign up for a demo, or try out an assessment by taking one yourself.

This post is part of our FAQs series, where you can learn about the inner-workings of our assessments, as well as best practices to help improve your hiring process.