What are SHL OPQ Assessments?

The SHL OPQ test is a psychometric tool used by many employers as a structured and objective way to evaluate an individual’s personality and potential for success in the workplace.

SHL OPQ assessments are self-reported personality questionnaires requiring candidates to select the most appropriate response based on how they perceive a workplace situation or prefer to behave in the given scenario. Questions cover a range of personality traits, with the results being collated into a report that aligns with a framework.

The report provides insight into an individual’s personality. From this, the SHL OPQ assessments provide recruiters with information on how an individual’s workplace behavior and characteristics contribute to their success in a role and to the organization and whether they are suitable for the role they have applied for.

What does the OPQ test measure?

OPQ stands for occupational personality questionnaire and is specifically designed to assess an individual’s behavioral styles and personality traits in a work context.

The assessment comprises multiple-choice questions that measure various aspects of an individual’s personality traits, such as motivation, communication style, leadership potential, and problem-solving skills providing employers with a deeper understanding of an individual’s traits as aligned to those required for success in a role.

What are the OPQ dimensions?

The OPQ measures candidates alongside 32 different dimensions of personality. These dimensions are categorized into three categories of personality.

Relationships with people

  • Sociability (outgoing, socially confident, affiliative)
  • Influence (outspoken, controlling, independent, persuasive
  • Empathy (Caring, modest, democratic)

Feelings and emotions

  • Emotions (relaxing, trusting, emotionally controlled, optimistic)
  • Dynamism (Vigorous, decisive, achieving, competitive)

Thinking styles

  • Creating change (conventional, innovative, conceptual, variety seeking, conceptual, adaptable)
  • Analysis (evaluative, data rational, behavioral)
  • Structure (rule-following, detail-oriented, forward-thinking, conscientious)

SHL OPQ Test Structure

The SHL OPQ comes in three different formats:

  • OPQ32r
  • OPQ32i
  • OPQ32n

Each online questionnaire differs in format and comprises between 100 - 400 questions depending on the questionnaire type.


The OPQ32r, also known as the shorter ipsative version, is a shorter version of the OPQ. This questionnaire comprises 104 questions. The evaluation is untimed but generally takes around 20 minutes to complete.

In the OPQ32r, candidates are presented with questions in the form of 3 statements. You must select which statement best represents, and least describes you.


The OPQ32i is also known as the ipsative version. In this questionnaire, candidates complete around 300 questions. Questions are given as blocks of four statements. Candidates select which of the four statements most closely represents them and which statement least represents them.


The OPQ32n, also known as the normative version of the OPQ comprises approximately 416 questions and takes up to 60 minutes to complete.

Candidates are presented with a statement. They must rank these statements on a 1-5 scale according to whether they strongly disagree with the statement or strongly agree with the statement.

What is a good score for the SHL OPQ assessment?

There is no specific “good” score on an OPQ, as it depends on the particular job requirements and organizational culture. A higher score on certain traits, such as conscientiousness and emotional stability, may be desirable for many jobs.

It’s important to remember that the OPQ is just one selection tool among many used to evaluate a candidate’s suitability for a role. It is used by employers alongside other factors such as experience, skills, and qualifications when determining a candidate’s suitability for a position.

Are SHL OPQ tests proctored?

SHL OPQ tests are online assessments. The evaluation may be proctored depending on the organization and its requirements when using the tool for recruitment and selection.

How long is the SHL OPQ?

The length of the SHL OPQ varies according to the type of questionnaire. Employers have a choice of three questionnaires according to the type and focus of the role they are looking to fill. Questionnaires can take between 20 - 60 minutes to complete.

Which Companies Use The OPQ test?

Several companies use the SHL OPQ tests as part of their recruitment and selection process. These include:

  • Coca-Cola
  • Goldman Sachs
  • Heineken
  • Adecco Group

Tips for Acing the SHL OPQ Assessment

To ace the SHL OPQ assessment, there are a few tips you can follow:

Tip 1: Understanding the Desired Competencies

Make sure you understand the assessment and its purpose. The OPQ measures 32 personality traits that are relevant to work performance, such as conscientiousness, emotional stability, and openness to change. Knowing what the assessment measures can help you better prepare and understand what the employer is looking for when recruiting for the role.

Tip 2: Managing Your Time Effectively

Completing the SHL OPQ can be time-consuming. Allocate sufficient time to complete the questionnaire without being rushed. This will allow you to answer each question thoughtfully and accurately rather than panicking and selecting answers that aren’t your preferred response.

Tip 3: Developing a Systematic Approach

A systematic approach to completing the questionnaire is essential to accurately represent your workplace behavior and personality traits. This could include reading each question to ensure you understand what is being asked of you and make sure you consider the broader context of each situation.

Tip 4: Reviewing and Reflecting on Your Answers

Understanding your personality traits and behavioral tendencies will help you answer each question more accurately. Take the time to reflect on your personality and behavior before answering each question.

Tip 5: Familiarizing Yourself with the Test Format

There are three types of SHL OPQ. It is essential to familiarize yourself with the format of the test you will be completing. Make sure you have read the instructions and know how to answer each question.

Tip 6: Practicing Sample Questions

Practicing sample questions such as SHL style assessments, situational judgment tests, and personality questionnaires. This ensures you are familiar with the style of questions and how you react when under pressure. By practicing, you become more confident in taking the questionnaire, meaning you can answer the questions truthfully to provide an accurate picture of your workplace characteristics and behaviors.