2023 CIA Personality Test Study Guide & Practice Test
by Sarah Duncan
So you want to be a part of the esteemed society, the CIA, otherwise known as the central intelligence agency? Maybe you’re familiar with the organization and are completing your application, or you are interested in the application process and conducting some research.
As you know, the CIA hiring process is an extensive one and can last up to one year to get on the team if selected. After you complete the initial application process and only if approved can you move on to the CIA personality test portion.
What does the CIA personality test consist of? This guide will illustrate everything you need to know to prepare for the personality test and ace the exam. Read on to cement your position on the national intelligence team.
Table of Contents
What Is the CIA Personality Test?
Personality tests are pre-employment examinations that look into the character of the proposed applicant. Personality tests vary between organizations, but most agencies use some kind of popular, general exam. For example, The Myers Briggs or the Enneagram to get a specific view into the applicant.
The CIA uses a group of different tests to narrow down their applicants. The tests determine how you will react in the field of work, and since the CIA is a competitive field, they look for more refined personality traits than other lower-stakes jobs.
There is not a specific way to pass a personality test, but there are ways to prepare for the test to make sure you answer the questions to the best of your ability and to indicate the most honest version of yourself.
Some Traits the CIA Looks for With Personality Tests
Since working in the CIA is a high-stakes position and a competitive field, there are some personality traits they primarily look for and some they can do without.
Some characteristics they look for are:
They want people who like to socialize as it makes the job easier and the process smoother. If hired by the CIA for any available position, you will need to talk to co-workers and strangers on a daily basis. You need to know how to handle conflict, how to communicate with others effectively, and how to care for other people without draining your social battery.
You can work at the CIA if you’re introverted, but you might have a more challenging time with the work expected of you.
Ability to Multi-Task
If you work in the CIA, you need to be able to do many tasks at once with ease. Many days you will work on multiple assignments, and it might seem you need to be present in two places simultaneously. Of course, that is not possible, but if you can skillfully handle multiple activities at once without showing too much stress, you’d make a great candidate for the CIA.
Can Work Under Stress
Even though it is a misconception that everyone who works in the CIA is a secret agent, you still work in a risky environment, one consumed with stress and tension. To perform well in this environment, you need to be able to divert stress away from you and not let it affect your job performance.
Again, you will face multiple tasks at once, which is stressful, but if you find tactics to divert this stress, you will stand out on personality tests.
High Level of Intuition
You need to be able to navigate tricky situations and trust your gut. If you are wishy-washy about every decision, your supervisor will not want to send you on assignments. When working in the CIA, more times than not, you will have to make a split-second decision. If you normally have a high level of intuition, the recruiter will notice this trait when you complete a personality test.
During the hiring process, the CIA looks for those eager to move up in the workforce and prove their position in the agency. The CIA is competitive and does not have time to waste on unmotivated or lazy people. They want you to succeed, but only if that is what you want as well.
How to Prepare for the CIA Personality Test?
The test prep company Job Test Prep has prepared pre-employment practice materials for those who want to study for their CIA personality test.
What does the online Test Prep Pack Include?
- Study guide- Although it is impossible to truly study for a personality test, you can prepare for hypothetical questions by taking practice tests that are similar in format and content.
Job Test Prep’s package shows you how to answer these questions to the best of your abilities. It writes out explanations for the example questions and explains why you have to answer them a certain way.
- A personality test- This prep pack includes a full personality test where you answer all the questions, and the test decides which professions best suit you and your personality.
If you don’t like the jobs the test suggests that match your personality, you can input the job you do want and see which personality characteristics best align with that profession.
Perfect for those wanting to go into the CIA but don’t know if their personality matches the requirements or preferences.
- Practice questions with personality traits you don’t have- The test can show you which personality traits fit best with the job you want, and it also can take single characteristics you don’t have and teach you how to answer questions about those traits.
For example, if you score on the introverted scale but want to work in the CIA, this section shows you questions related to introversion/extroversion and how to answer so you still stand out on your application to improve your chances of getting your desired job.
Options for Payment for the Online Personality Practice Test Prep
- A one-week subscription to the online personality practice tests is $79
- A one-month subscription to the online personality practice tests is $89
- A three-month subscription to the online personality practice tests is $99
If the product doesn’t work for you, all options come with refund options and 24/7 online support if you need assistance.
Personality Types the CIA Looks for According to Myers-Briggs
Katharine Cook Briggs and her daughter, Isabel Briggs Myers, made it their life’s work to develop an intensive and comprehensive personality test. The original test came out in 1943, and since the first assessment, this method has been recognized internationally and used by many employers during pre-employment.
The Myers-Briggs personality assessment asks 93 questions with no time limit. Most people complete the test within a half-hour, and the questionnaire grades your answers based on four major sections.
- Introvert(I) /Extrovert (E)
- Sensing (S)/Intuition (N)
- Thinking (T)/ Feeling (F)
- Judging (J)/ Perceiving (P)
After answering all these questions, you calculate the majority of each section and write down the letter that best applies to your answers. There are 16 possible combinations on the Myers-Briggs. The CIA prefers candidates with ENTJ personalities, or Extrovert, Intuition, Thinking, and Judging.
You don’t need to have an ENTJ personality to work in the CIA, but the combination of those traits makes you a likely candidate for advancement in the hiring process. ENTJ is the second rarest personality type following the INFJ.
ENTJs work well in the CIA because they have motivation, can see how small decisions affect the big picture, can notice issues quickly, and can solve issues quickly and reasonably.
The Big Five Personality Test
Another personality test the CIA could use to determine your eligibility is the Big Five Personality Test. This exam has fifty questions, and with each question, you read a statement. You must rate on a scale of one to five, one being strongly disagree, five being strongly agree, how you feel about each problem.
You have unlimited time to complete the test, but most people take between five and seven minutes to answer each question.
The Big Five are:
- Extroversion– measured on a scale of introverted or extroverted
- Agreeableness– measured on a scale of hostile or agreeable
- Openness– measured on a scale of open or closed
- Conscientiousness– measured on a scale of spontaneous or conscientious
- Neuroticism– measured on a scale of stable or neurotic
The test result most seen in CIA employees is the SCOEI (stable, conscientious, open, extroverted, and agreeable) which is equivalent to the ENTJ personality type from the Myers-Briggs test.
Those with SCOEI personalities are confident, self-assured people who stand up for what is right. SCOEIs have discipline in their professions, and they do not let people take advantage of them. Plus, they do not overreact in high-stress environments or jump to conclusions without thinking. This personality type has every characteristic a CIA agent needs to succeed.
George Gurdjieff invented the enneagram in 1915 based on ancient occult symbols. Gurdjieff’s enneagram was not the fleshed-out version it is today but rather a symbol to represent a process.
Today, the enneagram is a personality test representing the human psyche. It examines how you think about the world and how you view certain situations. The enneagram diagram is a circle containing a triangle and a hexagon. It has nine different personality types.
- Reformer– a rational thinker that likes to plan, has self-awareness and self-control
- The helper– dedicated their life to servicing others and assisting in times of need
- The achiever– needs to succeed, goal-oriented, self-involved
- The individualist– Sticks to themselves, creative, emotional
- The investigator– Inquisitive and secretive, leads their own life
- The loyalist– values friends and family above all else, tends to have anxiety and a lot of fear
- The enthusiast– sees the positive in everything, spontaneous, unstable
- The challenger– self-important, argumentative, assured of themselves
- The Peacemaker– Carefree, kind, up for anything, wants everyone to get along
The test has subtypes centering around three characteristics: action, feeling, and thinking for a more complete read of your personality type.
The subtypes are as follows:
- Gut/Instincts apply to The challenger, the peacemaker, and the reformer
- Heart/feelings apply to the helper, the achiever, and the individualist
- Head/thinking applies to the investigator, the loyalist, and the enthusiast
Even further, the enneagram breaks these subtypes down into other compatible personality traits.
The exam assesses you with either 105 questions and no time limit or 144 questions. Most people complete the shorter version in ten minutes, and the longer version is 40 minutes.
The score that best reflects those in the CIA is the 5w6. This means that a person has a lot of type six (the loyalist) characteristics, including loyalty, problem-solving, organization, and logical/practical thinking skills.
You can take a free online enneagram test to see where your personality falls.
The CIA is a competitive, high-stakes environment with trusted and hard-working employees. Like most other jobs, the CIA uses personality tests to see if you match the candidate’s requirements they look for. The CIA does not note which specific test they use, but there are some options to practice and prepare with.
You can take online Myers-Briggs, Big Five, and Enneagram tests to get ready for your CIA personality tests. In addition to these tests, Job Test Prep has exclusive CIA prep for interested applicants. Enroll today and prepare for the most important personality test you will ever take!
Sarah is an accomplished educator, researcher and author in the field of testing and assessment. She has worked with various educational institutions and organisations to develop innovative evaluation methods and enhance student learning. Sarah has published numerous articles and books on assessment and learning. Her passion for promoting equity and fairness in the education system fuels her commitment to sharing insights and best practices with educators and policymakers around the world.