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8 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About the 16pf® Personality Assessment

October 13, 2016

The 16 Personality Factor Questionnaire (16pf) is a scientific measure with a rich heritage of validation evidence.  Anyone who is familiar with the 16pf instrument knows that it assesses 16 Primary Factors and 5 Global Factors of personality, and that it is used throughout the world for both employee selection and development. But here are some things you might not know about the 16pf Questionnaire.

  1. The 16 factors were derived from nearly 18,000 behavioral descriptors pulled from the dictionary.

 In the 1930s, psychologist Raymond Cattell set out to discover the basic, underlying factors of human nature. In an effort to obtain the widest possible range of concepts, he began with 17,953 personality-describing words from the dictionary. Years of statistical research (conducted by hand!) transformed this gigantic list into the 16 stable, fundamental building blocks of personality.

  1. Cattell’s research on personality laid the foundation for the Big Five model of personality.

Cattell’s research set the stage for the well-known Five Factor Model of personality (aka the “Big Five”), which is commonly used by employers for selection and development. The 16 Primary Factors contribute to 5 broad Global Factors, which correspond closely with the Big Five traits of Extraversion, Agreeableness, Openness to Experience, Conscientiousness, and Neuroticism.

Here’s how the Big Five align with the 16pf Global Factors.

  1. The 16pf Questionnaire is accessible to certified and noncertified users alike.

Our competency models make the 16pf assessment easy for everyone to use.  It used to be the case that 16pf users had to have a deep understanding of Cattell's personality model in order to make effective use of the 16pf assessment.  While there's still great value in understanding Cattell's insightful model, the 16pf Competency Report makes it accessible for all business professionals. To make interpretation even more straight-forward, PAN’s team of experts studied a wide variety of occupations and created job-specific competency models for various job roles.

  1. There’s a report designed specifically for selecting and developing managers.

The 16pf Management Potential Report identifies strengths and developmental areas for people in mid-level management positions. As one client stated, the results of this report “allowed us to back up impressions we already had about the candidates from the interviews with empirical evidence – but the process also revealed some surprising information that we would never have picked up on using our conventional methods.”

  1. Organizations use it for individual and team development.

The 16pf assessment is more than a selection tool. The 16pf Comprehensive Insights Report provides certified users with a narrative review of individuals’ strengths, challenges, and developmental tips, and also includes prompts to guide interviews or coaching and feedback sessions. For noncertified practitioners, the 16pf Competency Report offers developmental tips for 20 commonly-used job competencies. Teams can also receive 16pf reports to understand how their group scores as a whole, as well how individual members may differ.

  1. Colleges and universities use it for career coaching.

The 16pf Career Success Report offers unique insights into respondents’ personal strengths, challenges, occupational interests, and work styles – an invaluable tool when choosing the right career path! And now with the recent release of PAN’s "Am I Job Ready" program, students can use their 16pf scores to understand their strengths in the workplace, while also receiving training on the soft skills that are most valued by employers. 

  1. The 16pf Questionnaire predicts performance across all industries, roles and job levels.

Because the 16pf Questionnaire is a comprehensive personality measure, it does not discriminate between jobs or industries. Indeed, the 16pf has proven to be a significant predictor of performance across a wide variety of job roles and levels, including sales, leadership, and protective services, to name a few. After 65+ years of rigorous scientific development, there are more than 2,700 research studies that mention the 16pf assessment, most of them in peer-reviewed journals.

  1. Keeping up with the times

As with any good measure, the 16pf Questionnaire is constantly undergoing analyses to ensure it is relevant and useful.  Validated in more than 20 languages and used by global organizations around the world, the 16pf assessment is now available on the PAN platform, which is optimized for mobile responsiveness. Accessing 16pf information is now just a smart phone touch away!
The 16pf Questionnaire is suitable for a multitude of selection and development applications.

Find out more on 16pf here.