SHL Personality Test with Tailored OPQ32 (Guide and Tips)

The SHL OPQ32 test is the flagship personality test from SHL. Used by major organizations all over the world, it is considered to be one of the best psychometric assessment tools currently available on the market. It is a trait-based personality test that is designed to gauge a candidate’s personality attributes and behavioral preferences in the workplace. A candidate’s test results are analyzed by recruiters, helping them to decide whether a candidate is a good match for the job role they have applied for.

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What Is the SHL OPQ32 Test?

The SHL OPQ32 personality test is a type of psychometric personality assessment. As the flagship SHL personality test from Saville and Holdsworth Ltd. (SHL), this trait-based test is designed to measure a candidate’s personality and behavioral preferences in a work context.

Ranked as one of the best psychometric assessment tools available, the OPQ32 is considered to be objective, fair, valid and reliable. 

SHL personality tests and resources are used by major employers all over the world, including:

  • Amazon
  • Microsoft
  • Bayer

Recruiters for these companies use the SHL OPQ32 computer-based test to learn more about a candidate’s strengths and weaknesses. Test results are interpreted against the behavioral expectations for a specific job role to help them assess the candidate’s suitability for the position being recruited for. 

Personality questionnaires such as the SHL OPQ32 help recruiters find out more about how candidates like to work. 

They do not test a candidate’s abilities or aptitude. They are focussed on how a person relates to other people, how they approach problems and how they manage their emotions. As with all personality assessments, there are no right or wrong answers for the SHL OPQ32

Using the OPQ32 offers recruiters a reliable tool to test a candidate’s personality from the perspective of their work preferences. It is often used in conjunction with cognitive ability tests and situational judgment tests, allowing recruiters to gain a full assessment of a candidate’s personality, capabilities and overall potential. 

The test is untimed and usually takes around 35 minutes to complete. 

Used worldwide, it is available in more than 30 different languages. 

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What Are Some Examples of the SHL OPQ32 Test?

This online SHL personality test is administered by the recruiter or employing organization. There are a few different versions, but in most cases, you will need to work your way through 104 statements, which are presented in groups of either three or four. 

When taking the SHL OPQ32 test, you will be presented with behavioral statements. You will be shown several of these at once, and asked to choose which of the statements best describes you. 

After selecting a statement, it will disappear from the group, and you will be asked to choose which of the remaining statements best describes you. 

Example 1

Choose the statement that is most typical of you:

  • I prioritize the wellbeing of others
  • I want to be the best performing member of the team
  • I am optimistic about the future

Example 2

Choose the statement that is most typical of you:

  • I prioritize completing a task before moving on to the next
  • I tend to hide how I am feeling
  • I am motivated to succeed in my career

Example 3

Choose the statement that is most typical of you:

  • I feel nervous before attending a job interview
  • I feel comfortable with new people
  • I am a valued part of my work team

Example 4

Choose the statement that is most typical of you:

  • I believe that people are honest
  • I enjoy working with data and statistics
  • I like discussing abstract ideas and concepts

Why Are SHL OPQ32 Tests Used?

SHL OPQ32 tests are personality tests that are challenging for the candidate. Used as part of the hiring process, they help recruiters to decide whether a candidate is suitable for a particular job role and whether they are a good fit for the overall company brand. 

As a result, the recruiter will be looking for specific cultural values, ethics and ways of working to achieve the best possible hire. 

While there are no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answers to this SHL personality test, recruiters will be looking for candidates whose behaviors are aligned with the company culture and job role applied for. 

For the best chance of [passing your SHL Test, your behaviors will need to be deemed by the employer as a good fit for the company and job role.

What Does the SHL OPQ32 Test Assess?

The SHL OPQ32 assesses three key areas:

  • Relationships with others
  • Style of thinking
  • Emotions and feelings

Within these areas, the test assesses candidates across 32 different personality dimensions, which is why the test is often referred to as the OPQ32. 

Here is an overview of the 32 personality dimensions:

Relationships With Others

  • Sociability – Is the candidate socially confident, outgoing or affiliative?
  • Influence – Is the candidate independent, controlling, outspoken or persuasive?
  • Empathy – Is the candidate caring, modest or democratic?

Style of Thinking

  • Structure – Is the candidate conscientious, rule-obeying, detail-oriented or a forward-planner?
  • Creating and change – Is the candidate conventional, innovative, adaptable or conceptual? Do they seek variety? 
  • Analysis – Does the candidate favor evaluative, behavioral or data rational analysis?

Feelings and Emotions

  • Dynamism – Is the candidate achieving, vigorous, competitive and decisive?
  • Emotions – Is the candidate optimistic, relaxed, trusting, worrying, tough-minded or emotionally controlled?

OPQ32 Reporting and Feedback

Alongside this framework, test answers are compared against SHL’s Universal Competency Framework (UCF), which incorporates extensive research into workplace behaviors. 

A range of reports can be generated from the software, including:

  • Standard Manager
  • Sales
  • Candidate
  • Leadership
  • Premium Plus
  • Universal Competency
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Team Impact Selection 

Reports from the software are designed to highlight a candidate’s overall personality traits. They also provide an indication of whether the candidate is a good match for the job role applied for and the organizational values. 

Usually, the SHL OPQ32 test is conducted online, prior to the interview stage. It is used to identify the best candidates in the pool, allowing recruiters to call these people back for the next stage of the hiring process. 

After taking the test, you can request a feedback session with the organization. During this session, you will receive a copy of your OPQ Candidate Report and have the opportunity to discuss your results and whether you think they are an accurate representation of your personality. 

How to Prepare for the SHL OPQ32 Test

To improve your chances of success, take a look at the following SHL personality test tips.

Practice Self-Awareness 

This will help you to give an accurate reflection of your personality during your SHL personality assessment. Prior to the test, spend some time thinking about your behaviors in the context of the three key areas being assessed by the SHL OPQ32:

  • Relationships with others – Are you comfortable leading other people, or do you prefer to follow instructions from others?
  • Thinking style – Do you excel when it comes to staying organized? Do you prefer to structure your day, or are you more relaxed when it comes to making plans?
  • Emotions and feelings – Do you have a tendency to feel anxious? How do you respond when somebody does something you don’t agree with? Do you consider yourself to be competitive?

Overall, think about your personality and strengths, and consider how you might apply these in the job role you have applied for. 


Prepare for SHL OPQ32 Test

Manage Your Time

The test is untimed, so there is no need to rush. Although you should answer each question with care, try not to overthink things. 

When taking a personality test, it is always best to respond instinctively.

Consider the Organization and Job Role

The answers that you give in the test will be considered against the organizational profile and job role. 

What are the organization’s core competencies and values? With these in mind, think about the characteristics and behaviors the recruiter is likely to be looking out for. How well does your personality match with their preferred characteristics? 

Answer the Questions in an Employment Context

The OPQ test questions are intended to assess behaviors at work. 

The answers you give will be scrutinized by the recruiter, so it is important to answer each question honestly to ensure the most accurate test result. You should also avoid giving the answers that you think the recruiter wants to hear.

No one is perfect, and if you answer the questionnaire dishonestly, this will be flagged up by the social desirability scale or consistency scale, both of which are built into the software. 

The social desirability scale determines whether you have answered the questions in a socially-desirable manner. Put simply, it checks whether your answers suggest that you are a ‘people-pleaser’ or you tried to make your answers more appealing to the recruiter. 

If you have answered the questions in this way, your test results may suggest that you lack self-awareness, have very high self-esteem or you are very keen to please other people. 

On the other hand, your results may indicate that you lack self-awareness, you have low self-esteem and you have a tendency to be critical of others. 

The consistency scale highlights how consistently you have answered the questions in the test. If your consistency scale results are low, this shows a lack of consistency in how you have answered the questionnaire, which means it is impossible to give a confident insight to your preferences. 

As with the social desirability scale, you can have a low consistency result for several reasons, ranging from an inability to make decisions or low motivation levels to a lack of self-awareness. Achieving a high consistency scale result may indicate that you are very self-aware and decisive. 

Practice Taking Online Personality Tests

One of the best ways to get into the right mindset for a personality test is to practice taking similar assessments. 

To find practice tests, try searching for ‘OPQ32 practice questions’, ‘SHL OPQ practice test’ or ‘OPQ32 sample tests’ to browse all of the free online resources. Some websites offer mock versions of the test and a sample report detailing your performance. 

Prioritize Self-Care

In the days leading up to the test, ensure that you rest, eat healthy foods and drink plenty of water. Being well-rested and hydrated will help you to feel more alert on the day of the test. 

If you are allowed to choose a time slot for the test, consider what time of the day you tend to work best. Minimize distractions and ensure anyone you live with knows not to disturb you during your test slot. 

Check IT Equipment 

Before starting the test, make sure that all of your IT equipment is working. This will help to minimize disruption, allowing you to focus on the assessment. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the SHL OPQ Personality Test?

The SHL OPQ Personality Test is a computer-based assessment used by employers as part of the employee hiring process. It enables recruiters to gain insight on a candidate’s strengths and weaknesses, helping them to decide whether they are suitable for a particular job role. 

How many questions are on the SHL OPQ32 Test?

The SHL OPQ32 Test is available in three different formats. The most popular format is the OPQ32r, which comprises 104 questions and usually takes between 25 and 40 minutes to complete. 

For each question, you will be shown a group of three statements and asked to choose the one that most accurately describes how you behave in the workplace.

Where can I prepare for the SHL OPQ32 Test?

There are a number of online resources designed to help you prepare for the SHL OPQ32 Test. Websites such as JobTestPrep offer tailored practice resources for the test, including: 

  • Practice questions designed to simulate the format of the test
  • Information on how to determine the key personality characteristics required for a job role
  • Guidance on how to prepare for professional interviews

Is the SHL OPQ32 Test hard to pass?

There are no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answers to the SHL OPQ32 Test. Instead, success is measured according to whether the candidate’s answers make them a good fit for the job role applied for. 

To stand the best chance of success, it is important that you have a good understanding of your own strengths and weaknesses, as well as the required personality traits for the position you have applied for.

What is the purpose of the SHL OPQ32 Test?

The purpose of the SHL OPQ32 Test is to help recruiters to find out whether a candidate is a good fit for a job role. 

A candidate’s test results give the recruiter a comprehensive overview of a candidate’s strengths or weaknesses, and this information can be used to decide whether they have the right traits to succeed in the job role.

Can you fail the SHL OPQ32 Test?

Since there are no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answers to the SHL OPQ32 Test, it is not possible to fail the test. 

However, your success will be measured according to your suitability for the position you have applied for. If you do not demonstrate the required personality traits and behaviors in your answer, you are unlikely to move forward to the next stage of the application process.

Where can I find more example questions for the SHL OPQ32 Test?

You can find many example questions for the SHL OPQ32 Test online. One option is the JobTestPrep website, which offers access to a variety of useful resources, including example questions.

What is the next step after taking the SHL OPQ32 Test?

After taking the test, you will need to wait to receive feedback from your prospective employer. SHL says that all candidates should have the opportunity to receive meaningful feedback. 

If your personality traits are deemed to make you a good fit for the job role by the recruiter, your application will progress to the next stage of the hiring process.

What is a good score for the SHL OPQ32 Test?

There are no ‘correct’ or ‘incorrect’ answers for the SHL OPQ32 Test, which means there is no set ‘good’ score. 

The answers that you give during the test will form the basis of a report, which your prospective employer will use to gain insight into your personality traits and make a decision on your application.

Which companies use the SHL OPQ32 Test?

The SHL OPQ32 Test is used by many major employers worldwide, including Coca-Cola, IKEA, Heinekin and the Adecco Group.

Where can I find a practice guide for the SHL OPQ32 Test?

You can search the internet to find a practice guide for the SHL OP32 Test. One of the most useful websites is JobTestPrep, which offers a comprehensive practice guide with sample questions.

Can I retake the SHL OPQ32 Test? 

You will not be able to retake the SHL OPQ32 Test again if your prospective employer decides that you do not have the required personality traits for the job role you have applied for. 

However, you can take the SHL OPQ32 Test again when applying for other job roles. 

Final Thoughts

The OPQ32 test is a standard assessment for many different job roles and employers. This online SHL personality test is different to some of the other online personality assessments, in that you are not asked to choose the statement that is most like you and the statement that is most like you.

Instead, the answer that you choose as ‘most like you’ disappears from the list, and you are asked to continue selecting the answer that is most like you until only one statement is left. 

Preparing for the test is vital. You will need to carry out extensive research on the employer, as well as learning more about the format of the questions. If you have the right personality traits for the job, good preparation will help you to secure the job role.

When it comes to taking the OPQ32 test, it is important that you answer the questions honestly. By doing so, your key personality attributes will be highlighted to the recruiter.

If a recruiter reports that you have not ‘passed’ the test, try not to be disheartened – this does not mean you have a ‘bad’ personality. 

Try to reframe the test as a way to find out whether you are likely to be happy in a job role. Finding a job that is well suited to your personality is the key to achieving a good score on the OPQ32 test.

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