When a person is working for a brick and mortar job, it’s not uncommon for the employer to request that the candidate undergo some type of testing. People who are interested in working in law enforcement or as firefighters are required to complete physical and personality tests as part of the screening process. Applicants for administrative positions could expect to be asked to do a typing test at some point in their job search.
Freelancers are in a different category, since they are not applying for a job. I’ve been asked to do a personality test as part of a screening process twice and while I have complied both times, it did feel a bit uncomfortable to do so.
Why did I hesitate about sharing the results of the test? It seemed a bit intrusive at the time. I was of the mindset that I should be able to answer the client’s questions about my experience, provide samples and a resume and that should be enough information for the person to make a decision about whether to hire me. What difference would it make if the client found out what kind of person I am?
I now realize that it matters a great deal. The work that freelance writers do isn’t just about stringing words together. It has everything to do with establishing relationships with clients. For the relationship to succeed, the freelancer and the client need to be able to work together well. If their personality styles don’t mesh, then the professional relationship will flounder.
Part of the reason that I agreed to do the personality test was that I was curious about what it would reveal. The Myers-Briggs test that I took was very accurate, right down to my consistently messy desk.
I suppose it’s not possible to fail a personality test. There are some people who I probably wouldn’t be able to work well with, and it’s probably just as well to establish whether this is the case before the project begins. Whether you call it a personality conflict or creative differences, having to abandon a project after starting the work isn’t a good situation for either party.
Have you ever been asked to do a personality test for a freelance writing job? How did you feel about it?