The Occupational Personality Inventory is a self-report questionnaire which looks at personality in 25 specific areas. Like all good personality assessments, the OPI relates back to the widely accepted Big-5 model of personality. The OPI assesses an individual’s personality in the work places and provides a very thorough profile of an individual's preferences which can be used to inform selection (recruitment) and development decisions. The questions are presented as behavioural statements to which an individual is required to choose the extent to which they agree (or disagree) with the statement describing them.
The response format for each question (statement) follows a Likert-type scale where a respondent can choose 1 of 5 options ranging from Strongly Disagree to Strong Agree. The 25 personality areas of the OPI are assessed using 250 questions which take approximately 40 minutes to complete. Although there is no time limit, individuals are encouraged not to ponder for too long over any question.The responses are compared to a relevant group of individuals who have previously taken the assessment – this is normally a graduate, managerial and professional norm group of individuals taken from the UK.
Lie Scales, Social Desirability and Consistency
Most of these questionnaires contain some scale that assesses your propensity to distort the assessment. This can happen if you try and portray a more socially desirable image.
The interesting thing is that these responses are also normed, such that there WILL be individuals in society who are overly critical of themselves and individuals who are overly caring and considerate and never lie – however this scale in conjunction with your profile can give a good indication of whether someone has tried to distort the questionnaire, and if this is the case, you may be questioned; most likely indirectly through probes for behavioural examples.
Consistency scales give an indication of how 'consistently' you have responded to items that are in effect asking the same thing. Lack of consistency may suggest that you did not understand the questions correctly at all or that you are trying to distort the questionnaire; both of these would give doubt to the use of your personality profile (results) for the assessment process.
Complete the assessment as honestly as possible and it is as simple as that. You do not want to be flagged up as someone who is distorting an assessment. Furthermore, you want to be able to provide behavioural examples which are often sought based on your profile – being honest will provide a truer picture of you, and you will therefore be able to respond with genuine examples, easily. Finally, it is important to both the applicant and the employer to ensure that the person-job fit is good. For example, imagine an Introvert who manages to distort the questionnaire to suggest they love meeting new people as the role requires networking as part of the Marketing Manager Job role. It is unlikely that an Introvert would be very happy in their job as a Marketing Manager if they are constantly being placed out of their comfort zone having to do things that are contrary to their personality. For more information, see ‘Personality Tests’ under the ‘Psychometrics’ tab.