The 16pf in Practice: Personality Traits are Crucial to Job Performance

Personality traits have been linked with job performance and satisfaction within occupational roles in a number of psychological studies. When personality is considered in employment selection, individuals are likely to perform at a higher level; they are also more likely to gain greater satisfaction and fulfilment from a job suited to their personality.

The 16pf offers a great option for measuring personality traits for workplace decisions.

What is the 16pf®?

The 16 Personality Factor Questionnaire (16pf) is a self-report assessment instrument developed by Dr. Raymond B. Cattell. It was first published in 1949. At the time, measuring the whole of human personality using structure discovered through factor analysis was a revolutionary concept. Cattell paved the way for the development of the five-factor model of personality, which has been monumental in understanding personality as we know it today. The most recent version of the 16pf is the 5th edition, initially published in 1993.

The 16pf is a trait-based psychometric tool that measures sixteen factors that make up one’s personality. It provides a comprehensive assessment of one’s personality, and predicts work behaviour, communication and performance. It’s useful for understanding how a person is likely to behave and interact with others, how well suited they are to the behavioural requirements of a given job, and how well they’re likely to fit into an existing team. The 16PF can also aid in improving workers’ job performance, productivity, job satisfaction and team cohesion.

What exactly does the 16pf® measure?

The 16pf measures core personality traits that influence behavior, as illustrated below:

16pf personality traits
16pf® Factors

These sixteen personality dimensions can be further grouped into five global factors, which reveal underlying relationships among the 16 primary scales:

  1. Extraversion: Relating to others.  How much time and energy will be focused on interpersonal relationships, versus pursuing projects, ideas and tasks?
  2. Independence: Influence and collaboration. Will the candidate have a forceful, assertive, independent influence on his or her environment, or is the person’s style of functioning more cooperative and collaborative?
  3. Toughmindedness: Thinking style: How does the candidate experience the world? Does she take a more intuitive, creative approach, or have a more objective, realistic thinking style?
  4. Self-control: Structure and flexibility. Does the individual take a more unrestrained, flexible approach, or one characterized by self-discipline and self-control?
  5. Anxiety: Management of pressure. How will the individual cope with pressure, disappointments, challenges, setbacks and other stressful circumstances?

How can the 16pf® be used in personnel selection?

The 16pf can help an organisation’s selection process by identifying candidates who display personal characteristics that best fit the requirements of the job or role. It’s suitable for any roles, in all industries.

It is an untimed test consisting of 185 questions that typically takes 30 minutes to complete. The 16pf may only be purchased, administered and interpreted by qualified persons who have received appropriate training.

How are 16pf® results reported?

The 16pf may be scored by hand in case of paper-and-pencil versions, or may be provided as an on-line delivered report. In either case, scores for each of the 16 dimensions and the 5 global factors will be available. They are reported as sten scores, derived through comparison with  norm group data from thousands of persons who have completed the 16pf.

The 16pf has strong psychometric qualities, with substantial evidence for its reliability and validity. This increases the confidence you may have in this test measuring what it is designed to measure, consistently. These qualities are essential when test scores are used in making employment decisions, or advising on career pathways.

What else should I know about the 16pf® in terms of choosing employees and building careers?

The 16pf is an in-depth, well established and overall psychometrically sound instrument. It is a highly useful addition to employee recruitment and selection, career guidance, leadership development and team building.

Selection by Design has a variety of training options for persons interested in working with the 16pf. As a beginning point, we train in the 16pf (5th ed.) within our BPS/EFPA Test User:  Occupational Personality training. We also provide stand-alone 16pf training for those who have previously completed Level B or Test User: Occupational Personality courses. You can further hone your skills in 16pf assessment through our advanced interpretation and feedback courses, coming soon!

We are also happy to provide 16pf assessment and feedback for individuals and business organisations. We can help you to make the most of personality measurement for work applications with the 16pf.

If you have questions about the 16pf, are wondering if it’s the right tool for your organisation, or are interested in taking the 16pf for your own personal assessment, give us a call at +353 (0) 86 3927638. We’re happy to talk in more depth about how the 16pf can help you achieve your business or personal goals.

® 16pf is a registered trademark of the Institute for Personality and Ability Testing, Inc. (IPAT) in the USA, the European Community and other countries. IPAT is a subsidiary of Performance Assessment Network, Inc. (PAN).

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