What Is the Caliper Test and Does It Help With Hiring?

Personality tests are a popular way to assess job applicants during the hiring process. The purpose of pre-employment personality tests like the Caliper test is to find the best candidate through a series of multiple-choice and other puzzle-like assessment questions that use pattern recognition to deduce a candidate's profile.

In this article, you'll learn more about the Caliper test questions, what the answers aim to reveal, and some expectations vs. reality when it comes to using personality tests for hiring.

What Is the Caliper Test?

While pre-employment testing has been around for decades, the Caliper Profile is one of the oldest personality tests out there. This 180-question personality assessment is used to measure various personality traits like thoroughness, assertiveness, and risk-taking as they relate to four professionally related core skills categories. 

The Caliper test is primarily initiated for executive-level positions that require a significant amount of responsibility rather than entry-level positions. It can be conducted online or on paper — the questions are the same on both formats.

If you are looking for work in the financial sector and are in need of an all-rounder practice test you can also check out the Korn Ferry assessment test.

Caliper Test Questions and Test Results

The Caliper test is a little different from other personality assessments like DiSC or Myers-Briggs. Here are some things to note about the structure of the questions and results.


The test has no time limit. While it's marketed to job applicants as a “no wrong answers” exercise, the patterns identified through the test results indirectly qualify them as right or wrong for the job opening based on an ideal profile. 

The questions are multiple-choice and all 180 of them must be answered. Questions include statements where job applicants select the option that best describes them, puzzles, and problem-solving tasks. 

A sample question might look like this:

Rank the following from “most” to “least”:

A. I am good at meeting deadlines

B. I have a hard time following instructions

C. I am good at connecting with new people

D. I believe in the importance of rules and structure

Since the options are somewhat unrelated, it can be difficult for candidates to know what the best response is. Candidates may choose to prepare with JobTestPrep training beforehand to better understand how they can accurately portray themselves during the assessment.

Caliper Profile Results

The test results are graded by professionals who have specific Caliper test training.

Results are grouped into four main categories, broken into subgroups, and scored accordingly:

  • Persuasiveness or leadership skills: assertiveness, ego, empathy, resilience, risk-taking, ambition, and cautiousness
  • Interpersonal skills: flexibility, openness to others and their ideas, skepticism, and teamwork
  • Problem-solving or decision-making: creativity, thoroughness, abstract reasoning, cautiousness, risk-taking, and urgency
  • Personal organization or time management: risk-taking, thoroughness, and motivation

What Caliper Profile Results Reveal

Caliper test: Woman holds up two large puzzle pieces

Personality tests are meant to accompany the interview process. It's one piece of the puzzle rather than the ultimate decision-making tool when making a new hire.

Hiring managers might use the Caliper Profile results to cross-reference a candidate's behavioral interview responses

The purpose of the Caliper test is to reveal whether the position is in alignment with the candidate's strengths and weaknesses. It might be considered helpful in balancing a team dynamic by having these deeper insights into the candidate's personality traits. 

A Hiring Manager’s Expectation of the Caliper Assessment Test

Personality tests are a popular hiring tool for a reason. Let's explore a few of the reasons why the Caliper test is believed to be a useful tool for hiring. 

Understand Culture Fit

If a company has the resources to invest in potential hires, it can be rewarding to invest in ways to gain deeper insights into their behaviors and motivations and use this to determine culture fit.

Uncover Candidate Priorities

Candidates may answer questions more directly in the assessment than live during the interview process. 

Weed Out Candidates Who Aren't Serious

The test itself is quite an undertaking with the average time to completion ranging between 2-3 hours so any candidates who are on the fence will likely opt out beforehand. 

The Reality of the Caliper Assessment Test (and a Better Solution)

While tests like the Caliper assessment have all the best intentions, they fall short when it comes to efficient, accessible hires. The beauty of today's marketplace is that we are constantly innovating processes.

Searchlight aggregates referencing data that has been provided directly to the platform by candidates’ former managers and colleagues. It’s able to predict top performers and intelligently provide a summary of the candidate’s strengths and coachable areas to effectively predict team fit for potential employers. 

Let's take a look at where the Caliper test falls short and how Searchlight can fill in the gaps:

Caliper Profile: Time-Consuming

You can effectively weed out passive candidates by introducing the Caliper test early in the hiring process due to the time-consuming nature of the exercise. While this can be a good thing, you may also unintentionally lose out on top talent. It’s not uncommon for in-demand candidates who want to move quicker to take a job elsewhere as a result of a slow-moving recruitment process.

How will you know the difference between passive candidate drop-off or rockstar talent that was scooped up by the competitor? You won't. You'll miss out on the talent in both cases.

Searchlight: Quicker Results

Searchlight is also set up to objectively evaluate candidate strengths, coachable areas, and other “beyond the curtain” candidate insights — it just does so far quicker. On average, Searchlight reduces time to fill by seven days.

Caliper Profile: Rigid 

Even with a “no wrong answers” approach, this method of assessing candidates is outdated and in some cases, inaccessible. Not every candidate can afford to spend the time training on an assessment for a job they might not get.

The language can also be difficult to decipher. With 180 questions, there's room for misunderstanding and inaccuracy, which defeats the purpose of the test altogether.

Searchlight: Flexible Candidate Experience

Searchlight allows candidates to compile references at their own pace and keeps a record of them throughout their careers. The insights gathered are based on verified, third-party data that is automated, centralized, and scientifically backed.

A short setup process and user-friendly design mean that using Searchlight doesn't feel like a burden during the candidate experience. Instead, it’s empowering.

Caliper Profile: Subject to Bias

The Caliper test is a self-assessment, which means that candidates are being relied upon to have an unbiased and accurate sense of their job performance and personality traits. Even the most self-aware job applicants are bound to have blind spots. 

This is coupled with the fact that results are interpreted by Caliper-trained professionals who are looking for a narrow scope of what a good match is versus a bad match. It doesn't leave much room for outliers.

Searchlight: Lets Science Speak

The Searchlight platform is focused on predictive insights about past performance, soft skills, and culture add that are provided by former colleagues and co-workers. The platform aggregates referencing data from candidate profiles. The top performers naturally shine as more data is collected. The science speaks for itself without any complex interpretations required.

Searchlight Seamlessly Shines a Light on Top Talent 

Caliper test: Five spotlights shining on a blank space

My co-founder and I saw there was a need to elevate the hiring process by building a tool that eliminates unconscious bias, bolsters diverse hiring, and makes the hiring process effective for candidates and hiring managers alike. 

By looking at all kinds of common hiring tools and practices like the Caliper test, it became clear to us that there needed to be a better way to assess these data points and allow for candidates to shine outside of the box.  

Helping candidates find a position where they can thrive is our passion, which is why we developed our Support a Colleague function. Searchlight helps you write powerful words of support that highlight strengths and work styles, so that your teammate isn’t just another name in a pile of resumes. We'll share your words with hiring teams, both in our network and yours, which helps hiring managers make the best hire, faster.

Want to hire more high performers and increase retention?

Serchlight’s Talent Intelligence has got you covered