About NEO Personality Tests

The NEO Personality Inventory was created by Paul T. Costa and Robert R. McCrae in the 1970s. Since then it have been updated and revised as the NEO PI-R-3.The NEO personality test is used worldwide for various purposes, one of which is job recruitment. Employers use this test to determine if applicants possess traits desirable for the position for which they are applying.

There are many different companies that distribute the NEO PI-R, including SIGMA, PARR, and Hogrefe.

Currently, there are two versions of the NEO—the NEO-PI-3 and the NEO-FFI-3. These personality tests measure the five major domains of personality: Neuroticism, Extraversion, Openness to Experience, Agreeableness, and Conscientiousness. Six specific facets define each domain.

The results provide information on the five basic dimensions of personality and their facets. Your results will be presented using graphs, numbers, high and low trait descriptions, and scale descriptions that are insightful and easy to understand.


The NEO Personality Inventory 3 (NEO-PI-3) is an updated version of the NEO-PI-R. This test is used by various businesses. The NEO-PI-3 was designed to provide a general description of a normal personality. One type of report you can receive is a business report, which is used for employment.

The test contains 240 personality items, same as the NEO-PI-R. It takes 35–45 minutes to complete.


The NEO Five-Factor Inventory-3 (NEO-FFI-3) is an updated version of the NEO-FFI. It provides a quick and accurate measure of the five domains of personality.

The NEO-FFI-3 can help employers understand candidate's basic emotions, as well as interpersonal, experiential, attitudinal, and motivational styles.

This test is a 60-item version of the NEO-PI-3. It takes 15 minutes to complete.

Traits on the NEO Personality Inventory

The traits assessed on both the NEO-PI-3 and the NEO-FFI-3 are divided into five factor scales. Each of the factor scales has six facet scales, as well as high and low score descriptions.

Factor Scale Descriptions


  • High scores – This refers to a tendency to experience negative emotions, such as fear, sadness, embarrassment, anger, guilt, and disgust.
  • Low scores – Low scorers tend to be emotionally stable. They are usually calm, even-tempered, relaxed, and able to face stressful situations without becoming upset.
  • Facet Scales – The six facet scales of Neuroticism are anxiety, angry/hostility, depression, self-consciousness, impulsiveness, and vulnerability.


  • High scores – This usually depicts someone who is sociable. High scorers are assertive, active, talkative, upbeat, energetic, and optimistic.
  • Low scores – This refers to someone who is reserved and independent. Introverts (opposite of extraverts) prefer to be alone and are unhappy or pessimistic.
  • Facet Scales – The six facet scales of Extraversion are warmth, gregariousness, assertiveness, activity, excitement-seeking, and positive emotions.

Openness to Experience

  • High scores – High scorers tend to have an active imagination, aesthetic sensitivity, attentiveness to feelings, and independence of judgement.
  • Low scores – Low scorers tend to be conventional in behavior and conservative in outlook.
  • Facet Scales – The six facet scales of Openness to Experience are fantasy, aesthetics, feelings, actions, ideas, and values.


  • High scores – High scorers are sympathetic to others and eager to help them.
  • Low scores – This refers to someone who is egocentric, antagonistic, and skeptical of others' intentions.
  • Facet Scales – The six facet scales of Agreeableness are trust, straightforwardness, altruism, compliance, modesty, and tender-minded.


  • High scores – This refers to people who are purposeful, strong-willed, and determined.
  • Low scores – Low scorers are less likely to apply moral principles and more likely to lack determination.
  • Facet Scales – The six facet scales of Conscientiousness are competence, order, dutifulness, achievement striving, self-discipline, and deliberation.

NEO Results

The NEO results are broken down into sections. Each test provider may provide different types of reports. The reports generally consist of a summary, a profile, and a detailed report.

The summary is meant to give you a general idea of how your personality may be described. This can help an employer get an idea of the type of person you are.

The profile is a graphical representation of your score characteristics according to the five factors and the 30 facets. The 35 scales are graphically grouped from left to right so that the five factor scores are presented first, followed by each of the six facets of every factor. The profile visually groups the factor scales and the facets so that the clusters are easily differentiated. The profile is accompanied by both the numerical value of the data and their graphic representation. All the scales are presented so that the high scores are placed in the upper side of the graphic and the low scores are placed in the lower side of the graphic.

The NEO PI-3 profile indicates under the name of each scale the raw score obtained for that scale. The profile is generated on the basis of this raw score, but it visually presents standardized T scores. The T scores take into account the scores obtained by other people in the normative sample that was used for scoring the test.

The detailed report offers a drilldown of the characteristics measured by the NEO PI-3 that are already pictured in the NEO PI-3 profile. The charts and the comments presented in this section are also based on the norms selected during the scoring of the test. They are indicated in the introductory part of the profile. This section may be used by an employer to evaluated how a candidate did on the test.

Another part of the results is the Job Profiler. This section can help employers find the right candidate for a job based on personality traits needed to be successful in that position.

Understanding how your personality is scored and viewed by potential employers can help you prepare for the test.

What Do Your NEO Results Tell You?

Your NEO report presents you with an analysis based on what you said about yourself. It may not always be accurate, and it may not always be what you would like to hear. Remember also that we do not always respond in the same way in all situations, so it may be useful when reviewing your analysis to visualize yourself in a variety of different situations that you normally face in life.

Is the NEO-PI-3 the Same as Neo IPIP?

The NEO IPIP is the original free version of the NEO-PI-3. They both use the same personality traits to measure a person's personality.

Prepare for the NEO Personality Test

JobTestPrep provides comprehensive practice materials that can help optimize your NEO score. Our individualized, in-depth analysis of your practice test results provides you with a better understanding of what can be found in your actual results. Our personality practice test follows the principles of the NEO Personality Inventory to enhance your familiarity and comfort with the NEO personality tests.

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