I have done numerous personality quizzes over the years for both work and pleasure.
They’re never accurate for me. Of course they aren’t; they’re calibrated for the neurotypical. So what tends to happen, particularly with the more business-oriented ones, is that the questionnaires pick up on the analytical nature of the autistic brain and the overlap between the questions to assess introversion and autism. And therefore the category I am placed in tends to reflect the condition I have rather than the person I am.
The most amusing time was when I had to complete a psychometric questionnaire as part of a job interview. I answered the questions completely honestly, only to be told that I presented so differently in person that they couldn’t use the output of the questionnaire to assess my suitability for the role.
But if the ‘standard’ questionnaires don’t work for people with autism, what’s the alternative? Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be one. So I’ve come up with my own.
My version identifies five separate personality types. It doesn’t look at introversion or extroversion, as I don’t think that’s a particularly helpful classification for people on the autism spectrum as we may have sensory or social issues that skew our responses to questions measuring that trait.
So my suggested model is:
This personality type is one of the autism ‘stereotypes’ and is characterised by having one or two intense special interests, often in the areas of science fiction or transport. More introverted Geeks may choose to pursue their hobbies alone, or interact with others through social media / online forums. More extroverted Geeks may actively seek out like-minded individuals to attend groups and events based around their specialist interest.
At work, Geeks may thrive in an environment where there is routine, structure and / or a clearly defined set of tasks to complete. Ideally, their employment will have a connection to their special interest, allowing their encyclopaedic knowledge of the area to be appreciated.
Careers that Geeks might want to consider: librarian, administrator, IT support
This personality type is the other autism ‘stereotype’ and is characterised by their ability to think logically and apply that logic to real-life situations, although in their pursuit of a logical solution to a problem Vulcans may not always consider the human factor. Vulcans can be rigid in their thinking, but can be persuaded to change their mind if a logical counter-argument is presented to them. Vulcans may also be a good chess player or may have savant skills.
At work, more introverted Vulcans may prefer to be given a specific task which they are left alone to complete. More extroverted Vulcans may seek out positions of authority, although their managerial style may verge on the dictatorial at times.
Careers that Vulcans might want to consider: computer programmer, military officer, scientist, actuary
The opposite of Geeks, who predominantly engage socially based on a shared special interest, Socialites are characterised by their more general interest in people and their desire to put groups together and see how it all works. Socialites are always happy to talk, although they may not always realise when they are talking too much or when others do not want to listen. Socialites may have sensory or other difficulties meaning that they need to control their social interactions quite closely, but this doesn’t mean that they want to be left alone.
At work, Socialites need to be around people. This is the one personality type for whom open plan offices can work extremely well if any sensory issues can be managed.
Careers that Socialites might want to consider: politician, public relations, project management, training
The opposite of Vulcans, Artists are characterised by their ability to think creatively. Artists are the most flexible thinkers of the personality types and are often kinaesthetic learners. Their ability to hyper-focus means that they are happy to spend hours on a creative project. More extroverted Artists may be drawn to areas where they can express their creativity in a social yet focussed way, such as amateur dramatics.
At work, Artists may be temperamental. They may interpret rules differently or find creative ways to comply with the letter rather than the spirit of the rules.
Careers that Artists might want to consider: graphic designer, journalist, marketing executive, architect
The Hybrid, although a distinct personality type, incorporates elements from all the other personality types. At their best, Hybrids are logical but creative thinkers who are capable of harnessing their own knowledge of a specialist area and communicating it to others. At their worst, Hybrids can be obsessive, unwilling to listen, histrionic and overbearing.
At work, Hybrids tend to have a good understanding of social rules but their somewhat chameleonic nature can mean that relationships with colleagues may be relatively superficial. Finding a balance between group and solo working is also likely to be important for Hybrids, as they may be extremely good at masking and therefore a stress reaction may appear to come from nowhere.
Careers that Hybrids might want to consider: law, medicine, teaching, economics
Obviously, I’m not an expert and the model hasn’t been tested. But, intuitively, it feels at least as accurate than many of the models I’ve had experience of in the past. (And just in case anyone was wondering, I identify as a Hybrid.)
If you want to find out where you might fit in on the model, a questionnaire is here. (Disclaimer: it’s just for fun, completely unscientific and could well be wrong…)