How to Navigate Different Job Seeker Personalities

An office manager, not unlike the general manager of an athletic team, has to be mindful not only of the skills of the players he assembles, but their personalities as well.

Different Job Seeker Personalities

The workplace, not unlike an athletic arena, is an environment where chemistry matters. Personalities are the puzzle pieces that make a successful team. This requires a manager to drill deeper than an employee’s education, resume and cover letter to discern his or her personality and what it brings to the organization.

Skills can be taught in a matter of months, but personality is the ingrained gift that contributes—or detracts—from your organization’s goals long after training. As a result, companies increasingly are elevating personality over experience in making their hiring decisions, as studies have shown links between personality and job performance.

Is your potential hire an extrovert? An agreeable team player? A hands-on problem solver? A creative free spirit? Ambitious? Empathetic? Routine-oriented? There’s a place in every organization for all of the above. But if the mix isn’t right, chaos can ensue.

It’s crucial for both employee and employer to understand the link between personality and job satisfaction, which can affect productivity and workplace morale. To assemble your dream team of personalities, you need to recognize these characteristics, including the “Big 5” personality traits recognized by psychologists. 

Four Major Types

Four major personality types exist, but everyone has some traits of all four and at least 80 percent of the population are dominant in two types, says Angel Tucker, an expert personality profiler, certified human behavior consultant, and author of “Stop Squatting With Your Spurs On!”

About 100 models use different words, symbols and other approaches to describe the breakdown of personality types. The DISC model of behavior, which is an acronym for Driver, Inspiring, Supportive and Contemplator, has been used since the 1930s and has “tons of validity studies that show the accuracy to be at 87 percent,” Tucker says. 

Below are tips on how to recognize each personality type and ways employers can approach the interview: 

1.  D or Driver Types

These extroverted job seekers are go-getters. Motivated to get things done, these candidates offer a firm and quick handshake. They sit on the edge of a chair and lean forward. They also make short, blunt, authoritative motions with their hands.

2.  Interview tips

Spend less time on small talk and more time on determining if they’re a good fit for the job. These candidates have a time-is-money mindset and prefer to accomplish the task of the interview, says Tucker. “They are motivated by status and prestige and like to be praised for their accomplishments. This means a potential employer should point out job benefits that would make others notice them such as awards or public recognition.”

3.  I or Inspiring Types

These outgoing job candidates light up a room by walking in it. Animated, they have big smiles and bigger hand shakes. Outgoing and energized by people, they tend to be forgetful in nature and struggle with time management.

4.  Interview tips

Avoid jumping into the interview right away. Ask about their friends, family and future plans. This personality loves to talk and “their favorite topic is themselves,” says Tucker. The employer should stress how rewarding and fun it is to work for him or her and how the candidate’s accomplishments would be recognized. “Take a more laid back and casual approach and not make the I type feel like the interview is all business or being rushed.”

5.  S or Supportive Types

Reserved, these candidates have a gentle, peaceful and friendly demeanor and offer a softer handshake. They will usually head straight for a chair. They speak slower and in a lower volume.

6.  Interview tips

Ask personal questions about such topics as family and pets. Take time to build the relationship. Speak in softer and slower tones and “emphasize aspects of the job that refer to safety and security such as health, retirement, death benefits.” This type of job seeker needs time “to ask questions about assignments or tasks to make sure they understand the project clearly and can produce their best work.” 

7.  C or Contemplative Types

These job seekers have a rigid posture and typically will not sit unless they ask or the hiring manager asks them to do so. They speak slower and pause before responding. They sometimes have a furrowed brow. They can also have the “dead fish” hand shake. They use limited hand gestures.

8.  Interview tips

They prefer to stick to business instead of discussing personal things unless they bring up something personal first. Hiring managers should speak slower, allow time for questions and use items such as charts and graphs whenever possible. “They also want to discuss methodology of the company. This type loves details! The more complex and thought-provoking the better!”

Whether seeking employees with the same personality or a mixture, understanding how best to interview candidates with behavioral differences optimizes your ability to hire the best employees.  

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