Perhaps the best known of the SHL psychometric tests is the Occupational Personality Questionnaire (OPQ) which is a broad personality inventory.

Occupational Personality OPQ personality profileQuestionnaire (OPQ32) Overview

  • Untimed and takes approximately 45 minutes to complete
  • Very “face valid” - read more face validity
  • Measures 32 separate personality scales
  • Has both a normative version 230 questions and an ipsative version with 104 questions

Unfortunately, SHL have consistently pushed ipsative versions of their tests for recruitment, which have some serious downsides and are not generally recommended by psychologists who are taught about test construction - Read more about ipstative tests ipstative personality measures

The most recent version of the OPQ, called the OPQ32r, is now only available in an ipsative version which we would not recommend.

Occupational Personality Questionnaire (OPQ32) Scales

Low score description


High score description

Relationships with People

rarely pressures others to change their views, dislikes selling, less comfortable using negotiation


enjoys selling, comfortable using negotiation, likes to change other people’s view

happy to let others take charge, dislikes telling people what to do, unlikely to take the lead


likes to be in charge, takes the lead, tells others what to do, takes control

holds back from criticising others, may not express own views, unprepared to put forward own opinions


freely expresses opinions, makes disagreement clear, prepared to criticise others

accepts majority decisions, prepared to follow the consensus

Independent Minded

prefers to follow own approach, prepared to disregard majority decisions

quiet and reserved in groups, dislikes being centre of attention


lively and animated in groups, talkative, enjoys attention

comfortable spending time away from people, values time spent alone, seldom misses the company of others


enjoys others’ company, likes to be around people, can miss the company of others

feels more comfortable in less formal situations, can feel awkward when first meeting people

Socially Confident

feels comfortable when first meeting people, at ease in formal situations

makes strengths and achievements known, talks about personal success


dislikes discussing achievements, keeps quiet about personal success

prepared to make decisions without consultation, prefers to make decisions alone


consults widely, involves others in decision making, less likely to make decisions alone

selective with sympathy and support, remains detached from others’ personal problems


sympathetic and considerate towards others, helpful and supportive, gets involved in others’ problems

Thinking Style

prefers dealing with opinions and feelings rather than facts and figures, likely to avoid using statistics

Data Rational

likes working with numbers, enjoys analysing statistical information, bases decisions on facts and figures

does not focus on potential limitations, dislikes critically analysing information, rarely looks for errors or mistakes


critically evaluates information, looks for potential limitations, focuses upon errors

does not question the reasons for people’s behaviour, tends not to analyse people


tries to understand motives and behaviours, enjoys analysing people

favours changes to work methods, prefers new approaches, less conventional


prefers well established methods, favours a more conventional approach

prefers to deal with practical rather than theoretical issues, dislikes dealing with abstract concepts


interested in theories, enjoys discussing abstract concepts

more likely to build on than generate ideas, less inclined to be creative and inventive


generates new ideas, enjoys being creative, thinks of original solutions

prefers routine, is prepared to do repetitive work, does not seek variety

Variety Seeking

prefers variety, tries out new things, likes changes to regular routine, can become bored by repetitive work

behaves consistently across situations, unlikely to behave differently with different people


changes behaviour to suit the situation, adapts approach to different people

more likely to focus upon immediate than long-term issues, less likely to take a strategic perspective

Forward Thinking

takes a long-term view, sets goals for the future, more likely to take a strategic perspective

unlikely to become preoccupied with detail, less organised and systematic, dislikes tasks involving detail

Detail Conscious

focuses on detail, likes to be methodical, organised and systematic, may become preoccupied with detail

sees deadlines as flexible, prepared to leave some tasks unfinished


focuses on getting things finished, persists until the job is done

not restricted by rules and procedures, prepared to break rules, tends to dislike bureaucracy

Rule Following

follows rules and regulations, prefers clear guidelines, finds it difficult to break rules

Feelings and Emotions

tends to feel tense, finds it difficult to relax, can find it hard to unwind after work


finds it easy to relax, rarely feels tense, generally calm and untroubled

feels calm before important occasions, less affected by key events, free from worry


feels nervous before important occasions, worries about things going wrong

sensitive, easily hurt by criticism, upset by unfair comments or insults

Tough minded

not easily offended, can ignore insults, may be insensitive to personal criticism

concerned about the future, expects things to go wrong, focuses on negative aspects of a situation


expects things will turn out well, looks to the positive aspects of a situation, has an optimistic view of the future

wary of others’ intentions, finds it difficult to trust others, unlikely to be fooled by people


trusts people, sees others as reliable and honest, believes what others say

openly expresses feelings, finds it difficult to conceal feelings, displays emotion clearly

Emotionally Controlled

can conceal feelings from others, rarely displays emotion

likes to take things at a steady pace, dislikes excessive work demands


thrives on activity, likes to keep busy, enjoys having a lot to do

dislikes competing with others, feels that taking part is more important than winning


has a need to win, enjoys competitive activities, dislikes losing

sees career progression as less important, looks for achievable rather than highly ambitious targets


ambitious and career-centred, likes to work to demanding goals and targets

tends to be cautious when making decisions, likes to take time to reach conclusions


makes fast decisions, reaches conclusions quickly, less cautious

Click here to read about the SHL’s Ability test suite.

We have other assessment tools in the following categories:

























Go to Top


























Go to Top