Discussion Thread

Personality tests?

  • 1.  Personality tests?

    Posted 03-09-2021 05:48 PM

    Today I want to start a discussion on personality tests! From using the free test through 16personalities (Myers Briggs based), I have found out that my personality type is ISTJ or the Logistician. This makes a lot of sense to me, but I know folks are surprised when they find that I am an introvert. 

    Being an introvert doesn't mean that I am unable to connect with others effectively, it means that I need quiet and solitude time to recharge to function optimally. I saw this clearly when I attended YMLS in 2019 and after a full day of presentation and roundtables discussions, we went back to our hotel and had about an hour between the networking events. While some of my colleagues chose this time to continue to meet in small groups, I used this time to go back to my hotel room and recharge as socializing personally tires me out. 

    A quick note, personality tests and such should not be about putting yourself in a specific box or defining you as a person - it is about understanding and leveraging your strengths and own unique skills to be successful in your way! If you ARE looking to discuss stereotypes in Engineering, I recommend the following thread started by @Christopher Seigel : https://collaborate.asce.org/careerbydesign/communities/community-home/digestviewer/viewthread?MessageKey=48f78a2a-5562-434c-8154-6da1a8c94c45&CommunityKey=78ae5b12-b515-4f9b-803f-739cb4239b86&tab=digestviewer#bm48f78a2a-5562-434c-8154-6da1a8c94c45  

    What personality or other similar tests have you taken? What was your outcome? Did you find it accurate? How have these tests helped (or not helped) you?

    Resources to further explore this topic: 

    Danielle Schroeder EIT, A.M.ASCE (She/her)
    Associate Engineer
    Philadelphia PA

  • 2.  RE: Personality tests?

    Posted 03-09-2021 09:41 PM
    Hey Danielle!

    Love this discussion, I remember taking my first Myers Briggs personality test in college in 2015 and just for fun I re-took it today after reading this post. I still have the same result although the breakdown is slightly different. I'm still and INFJ-T and I personally found it errily accurate. Though there are slight nuances I may disagree with, the majority is spot on and as you said it's provides you with an opportunity to understand your stength and weaknesses. I guess I am in the wrong profession as my careeers align more with healthcare, couseling and education.

    Another test I took for oreintation at my current job was the Emotional Intelligence Profile. This was geared towards finding out what emotional style you would be, with the ideal outcome being a balance of all four segments: Reflective, Conceptual, Organized and Empathetic. As seen in the image, I still have some work to do to be more conceptual and reflective but each style comes with it's own unique pros and cons. 

    I believe these tests have helped confirm my strengths and weaknesses and given me areas on which I can improve to become more well rounded as an idividual and a leader! 

    -Emotional Intelligence Profile: http://www.hrdpress.com/EINTOL

    Kush Vashee P.E., M.ASCE
    Alexandria VA

  • 3.  RE: Personality tests?

    Posted 03-12-2021 12:36 PM
    I took the 16 personalities test a year ago, and re-took it today to see if anything changed. I am still an ENFJ-T, which I find humorous for a number of reasons since this doesn't appear to usually be the scientist/engineer personality type at all, and I always tend to joke that I am an imposter engineer. 

    A lot of people believe I am an introvert, including myself on occasion. However, I usually believe that I am more of an ambivert (yes, its a word). My personality test barely puts me on the extroverted side, so this makes sense to me. I enjoy time with people, but I also do enjoy a large amount of time spent completely by myself. 

    The test also noted that people with this personality aren't great with spreadsheets and prefer working with people. I do enjoy working with people, but I don't think I hate spreadsheets either!

    Fortunately for me, the summary of the ENFJ-T is someone who picks a field where they believe they can help society. In that, at least, I can say I certainly understand how I ended up here.

    Christopher Seigel P.E., M.ASCE
    Civil Engineer

  • 4.  RE: Personality tests?

    Posted 03-14-2021 10:45 PM
    On the 16 personalities I got the same results as Christopher (ENFJ-T), but I fall heavily on the extroversion side of the scale. Depending on when I take assessments (and if they are full versions or shortened versions), I sometimes get ESFJ. For example, we took the full MBTI freshman and senior year of college. I got ESFJ on those, but my balances shifted some over the 5 years.

    Based on these descriptions below from meyersbriggs,org , I think I do tend to fall slightly more into ESFJ most of the time. I am near the middle on S and N, though, given the descriptions of each.

    Warmhearted, conscientious, and cooperative. Want harmony in their environment, work with determination to establish it. Like to work with others to complete tasks accurately and on time. Loyal, follow through even in small matters. Notice what others need in their day-by-day lives and try to provide it. Want to be appreciated for who they are and for what they contribute.

    Warm, empathetic, responsive, and responsible. Highly attuned to the emotions, needs, and motivations of others. Find potential in everyone, want to help others fulfill their potential. May act as catalysts for individual and group growth. Loyal, responsive to praise and criticism. Sociable, facilitate others in a group, and provide inspiring leadership.

    I think personality tests are useful tools for recognizing areas in which you are strong or weak, and they can also be useful in group dynamics. For example, when you realize that your friend is naturally more direct and logic driven, it can help you not get your feelings hurt when she gives you direct feedback. For people like me, giving direct negative feedback usually means it is something that has been bothering me for a while and it is finally bad enough to directly say how it is impacting me. I have to understand that when she says things, her motivation or frustration level aren't what mine would be before speaking up. Coming to that understanding makes friendships stronger.

    I also think it is important not to get "attached" to being a certain personality type. Circumstances and life experiences can change the way we interact with our environment. Our personalities can grow and change throughout a lifetime. Personality tests should not be used as excuses for continuing in your weaknesses. Instead, they should show us areas in which we maybe need to be more aware of the potential negative impacts of our default tendencies.

    One thing I love in a work environment is leveraging personality differences to strengthen the results of the group. For example, I am a details person but my coworker is a big-picture guy. When I get bogged down in the detail and am hitting a wall of frustration, he pulls me back and helps me see the problem from a different perspective. When he is working on a project, I help check it before it goes to the project manager since he is more prone to miss some of the details. Both of us working together makes our project deliverables better for our clients than if we were working with someone else with our same personality.

    Heidi Wallace EI, P.E., M.ASCE
    Tulsa OK

  • 5.  RE: Personality tests?

    Posted 03-15-2021 11:56 AM
    I believe the "problem" is with the summary of the results, not the test.  Many of us got into engineering because we felt introverted and could related to Sheldon Copper.  However, civil engineering, in its very name is socially based.  Civil means public.  Whether we have direct contact with our clients or not, the nature of our work is extroverted.  We have to think about how different drivers react, how different pedestrians access things, and different operators utilize treatment system.  As Heidi summarized the "e" includes character traits such as conscientious, cooperative, empathetic, responsive, and responsible.  To me, these characteristics are the essence of civil engineers. Whether the world (or specifically those who assign personality types into careers) sees engineers as extroverted or not, the truth is, deep down, we are.

    Melanie Carlson A.M.ASCE
    City of Fairfield
    Fairfield IA

  • 6.  RE: Personality tests?

    Posted 03-15-2021 05:48 PM
    Thanks for your thoughts fellow personality comrade!

    I especially like your points about understanding that when your friend is bringing up an issue, it doesn't mean that she is as upset as you would be if it had gotten to the point when you would have chosen to bring something up.

    I also like the idea of not getting "attached" to our personalities, or using them to excuse our weaknesses.

    Christopher Seigel P.E., M.ASCE
    Civil Engineer

  • 7.  RE: Personality tests?

    Posted 03-17-2021 09:25 AM
    I have taken the Myers-Briggs test multiple times, starting in high school, in college, and throughout different development training in my career. I have always been ISTJ. But through the years I have noticed that I have become more "strongly" an ISTJ. I find the descriptions pretty accurate for myself.

    I love that @Heidi Wallace pointed out how these personality types can help when interacting with your team members. That was the biggest benefit I had with the personality tests; knowing what your personality type is, and identifying what personality types your team members are. I remember I had a coworker that I butted heads with frequently, and I couldn't understand why, as I felt I was interacting the same with them than I was with everyone else, and I didn't have any issues getting along with my other coworkers. And that was true, I was interacting with this coworker the same as everyone else. The issue was that all my other coworkers were a similar personality type as me, so our communication styles matched up better. But that same way of communicating was not effective for the coworker with a much different personality type than me. Once I identified and understood that, I modified how I approached and communicated with that coworker, and there was a drastic improvement in our working relationship.​

    Doug Cantrell P.E., M.ASCE
    Professional Engineer
    Durham NC

  • 8.  RE: Personality tests?

    Posted 04-05-2021 09:09 AM
    So many great points brought up in this subthread so far! Just from those who have responded so far, we have shown that there isn't also a "set" personality type for a Civil Engineer either! We all have our strengths and growth areas that contributing to our team and making our projects better. I also love how this has also evolved to talk about communication styles which is something they actually cover at YMLS. 

    @Doug Cantrell - also hello fellow ISTJ! ​

    Danielle Schroeder EIT, A.M.ASCE (She/her)
    Associate Engineer
    Philadelphia PA

  • 9.  RE: Personality tests?

    Posted 03-15-2021 12:45 PM


    I found it more insightful than other personality tests when it comes to working with team members on a project. Yes, I found it very accurate. See my report below. I have an easier time understanding how team members approach a problem.


    Rafael Estrada Moncada EI, A.M.ASCE
    Construction Engineer
    Lincoln NE

  • 10.  RE: Personality tests?

    Posted 03-16-2021 02:48 PM

    Hi Ms. Schroeder,

    I loved these when I was first learning about them. I am borderline INTP and ISTJ, depending in on my environment, I noticed that personality will change to reflect on the environment. The only consistent characteristics are the "I" and the "T" and I don't really know what that means so. I don't know how companies really build teams with these. It would interesting to see AI assembled teams based off of personality tests. 


    Oanh Le (She/Her)
    Rochdale MA

  • 11.  RE: Personality tests?

    Posted 08-16-2021 11:56 AM
    A month after I started undergraduate college, I took the 16 personalities test and my results were INTJ-A, "The Architect".

    I promptly received page after page of results explaining the character traits of analytical people and strategizing with individualism. A lot of traits matched up with what I could see about myself; that I am a leader who plans with ideas; and that I search for logic in daily life to find order within disorder. No one else I had met in real life was like this because it is the rarest of the personality types listed, matching unique people like Christopher Nolan and Katniss Everdeen.

    Also, I have created a new personality-based discussion regarding the engineering field: https://collaborate.asce.org/careerbydesign/communities/community-home/digestviewer/viewthread?MessageKey=af949ab5-3718-4c5a-a880-f60fbeb60c69&CommunityKey=78ae5b12-b515-4f9b-803f-739cb4239b86&tab=digestviewer#bmaf949ab5-3718-4c5a-a880-f60fbeb60c69

    Alexander Granato A.M.ASCE
    Bexley OH

  • 12.  RE: Personality tests?

    Posted 10-04-2021 10:13 AM
    Great, open discussion related to a better understanding of our own preferences.

    What caught me off-guard when I first "Discovered" it was a comparison of my type with
    others having similar types.

    Then, I stumbled across a matrix of sorts comparing my type with those other types that find my
    type a bit challenging to take!

    While not a bullet-proof predictor of behaviors, it does offer one some insight
    into a better understanding of others preferences compared to what many seem to think
    "Is the right way to communicate."

    Stay Healthy!
    Bill . . . .ENFP

    William M. Hayden Jr., Ph.D., P.E., CMQ/OE, F.ASCE
    Buffalo, N.Y.

    "It is never too late to be what you might have been." -- George Eliot 1819 - 1880