I love taking personality assessments. I think a lot of people do. It goes to our desire to explain and understand ourselves. And it’s nice to find a category we fit into.

Back when I was working at Facebook, we all took this test called StandOut, which is designed to identify your strengths. During the assessment, you select how you would respond or react in a number of work and life hypothetical scenarios.

Based on your answers, you fit into various “strength roles”, and the results give you your primary strength role and your secondary one.

When I initially took it, I got:

  1. Stimulator: You are the host of other people’s emotions. You feel responsible for them, for turning them around, for elevating them.
  2. Provider: You sense other people’s feelings, and you feel compelled to recognize these feelings, give them a voice, and act on them.

At the time, I thought these descriptions accurately described the way I worked in the office and the type of things I gravitated towards.

However, the thing with this assessment is that your results can change based on changes in your own personality and how you work.

I was curious if my strength roles had changed since going on my sabbatical, so I took the assessment again. Here are my results:

Primary strength role: Influencer

You engage people directly and convince them to act. Your power is your persuasion.

When I first took the StandOut assessment, Influencer was actually a very close third when it came to the rankings of my strength roles, so it’s not too much of a surprise to see it up top.

Here are some interesting bullet points from this strength role that resonate with me:

  • You are, in general, impatient; but you are especially impatient when you know that a decision should be made. You see what will happen if we don’t act. You see around the corner, and so it burns you to think about what inaction will cause.
  • You are driven by the feeling of progress, and are acutely sensitive to momentum. You sense when it’s building. When it’s peaking. And when it’s gone.
  • You can be a charmer, and are good at winning people over so that they like you. You do this because you know that people are willing to do more for those they like. Liking is a powerful (though not the only) precondition for getting the other person to make a decision.
  • People sense your desire to move forward, and it comes across as self-assurance. Even confidence. Occasionally as arrogance. Sometimes you might even put others off by challenging them more than you should–meaning “more than they would like to be challenged.”

Secondary strength role: Advisor

You are a practical, concrete thinker who is at your most powerful when reacting to and solving other people’s problems.

I don’t remember where this ranked the first time I took the assessment, but when I read the description, I can definitely see parts of this that align with the things I like to do. For example, I’ve helped a number of friends talk through important career decisions.

Here are some of the bullet points that I felt most connected to:

  • You are a problem solver. You are not fazed by complex situations, because, when faced with a challenge, you break it down into its component parts. You are a sequential thinker, someone who excels at “delayering” problems, “unstacking” them.
  • You ask lots of questions because the answer can be found in the details of the situation. You are intrigued by the detail of other people’s plans, problems, lives. You are not voyeuristic–voyeurism is too passive. But you can be nosy.
  • You like distinctions between two things that seem quite similar. These distinctions help you know how to choose which path to take–“Take this one, not that one.”
  • You like being seen as the expert. You like being needed in this way. When people say to you, “You have such great insight. You give me such a useful perspective on my situation,” this is the highest of praise.

My ideal career?

Well, this is what the StandOut report said about my ideal career:

You are a superior salesperson, and the more competitive the field, the better. Outwit, outplay, outsmart: this is your motto at work. You will excel in any role where there is freedom, change is the order of the day, and where what you did yesterday is fast forgotten. For example, in law, you are the defense attorney. In finance, you are the market maker, the stockbroker, the “money gatherer.” In media, you are pitching the idea, selling the show, or even investigating the story. In real estate, you are the agent. In business, you are the entrepreneur, the one we send to the venture capitalists to secure the initial funding. Wherever you are, you are making rain.

It’s interesting because I have been in sales. I also have real estate agent and, in general, entrepreneur on my list of careers to explore.

Obviously, assessments are not the answer to everything, but it’s interesting to see patterns in your own behavior, how you react to things, and what types of things drive you.

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4 years ago

Fascinating. Took many career/personality assessments during my work years; have not thought of doing another since I retired. Although I find myself happier than ever in how I choose to spend my time, my interest is piqued. I may seek this one out.