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The History of the OPQ Report and its uses within HR

OPQ Personality Test – Strictly speaking, it is called the OPQ – the Occupational Personality Questionnaire – but most refer to it as the OPQ Test or OPQ Personality Test.

What is an OPQ Test?

The OPQ (otherwise called the OPQ32) is a well-researched personality tool used all around the world by many organisations.  The first Occupational Personality Questionnaire (OPQ) was launched in 1984 by Saville and Holdsworth Ltd – now SHL – as the OPQ Concept Model.  This was a model of occupational personality with questions and descriptors relevant to the workplace.  It was updated in 1999 to measure a total of 32 personality characteristics and renamed as the OPQ32.  Quest Partnership’s MD, Max Choi is a British Chartered Occupational Psychologist specialising in psychometrics, personality and talent management. Max was part of the team involved in this update.

The History of the OPQ Test

SHL | Peter Saville, Roger Holdsworth, and company in 1984. 


OPQ has a quality pedigree and Professor Peter Saville is the key person behind it. He is a British Chartered Occupational Psychologist specialising in psychometrics.  The test was authored by Peter Saville, Roger Holdsworth, and company in 1984.

The OPQ32 was published in 2 versions: –


    • OPQ32n
    • and OPQ32i


The OPQ32n is a normative questionnaire asking candidates to rate the accuracy of a statement on a scale of 1 to 5. It also has a measure of ‘Social Desirability’. For example; an indication of whether the individual has tried to give a good impression of themselves.

The OPQ32i is an ipsative questionnaire forcing candidates to choose from a series of statements. They have to select both the one that ‘best described’ them, and the statement that ‘least described’ them. This is called a ‘forced choice’ approach.  It included a measure of consistency i.e. whether the candidate had selected similar descriptors throughout the questionnaire. The forced choice approach was an attempt to reduce faking. However, critics would argue that ipsative profiles are internalised profiles. That is to say, we do not know how they compare to others.

Initially launched in English with just 2 comparison groups (UK General Population and UK Managers & Professionals), the OPQ Personality test is now available in over 30 languages and with a wide range of comparison groups.

The original versions were developed for supervised administration. However, research following the rapid development of internet applications indicated that unsupervised testing had no adverse effects. It also showed online technology increased the accuracy of scoring.

The latest version of the OPQ is the OPQ32r which was published in 2012.  Available online, it is essentially a slightly shorter version of OPQ32i, using a forced choice approach. It takes approximately 30 minutes to complete.  Using a forced choice approach and it is normed, so you can now compare the individual against available comparison groups.


Proven to be a good predictor of future performance, the OPQ32 questionnaire has a wide range of uses including:

• Recruitment (How to minimise recruitment risk)
• Development & Coaching
• Team development & Performance Management
• Organisational change, Restructuring & Succession Planning


The OPQ Personality Test generates an extensive range of reports which can be used by HR Professionals, line managers and candidates. It provides information on key areas of behaviour which can have an impact in the workplace. The reports are built around 3 areas:

• Relationships with People
• Thinking Style
• Feelings and Emotions

OPQ Personality Test - Sample Reports

The Interview Report

to support interviewers – see sample report here >>>

Manager Plus Report

supports line managers and HR professionals with recruitment at all levels – see sample report here >>>

Leadership Report

to support senior level recruitment and development – see sample report here >>>


For more information on the range of reports provided by the OPQ Personality Test and to see samples of the reports, visit our Online Shop, or contact us on 01285 861734.