Have You Got (the Right) Personality?

POSTED BY MARIO PATENAUDE ON FEB 24, 2012 IN BLOG, JOB MARKET TRENDS | 4 COMMENTS

The reason why talent seekers (or at least the good ones) spend a fair amount of energy and money attempting to determine a candidate’s fundamental personality is because they understand certain personalities fit specific roles better than others. Many of them will use psychometric questionnaires to determine your personality. What they mean by “fit” is that fulfilling the accountabilities of the job requires the person to behave in a certain way. They know that if an individual can behave naturally, or at the reflex level, while performing the job, he/she will perform better. The word “personality” is often substituted with the term “motivational profile”.

The individual’s personality, or motivational profile, is the second of the four parameters that drive how well a person will fit (and therefore perform) in any give job. I will cover it in detail in this post. Once again (I did this in a previous post), I remind you of those parameters:

The skills, knowledge and abilities (SKA’s), or “competencies”
The personality, motivational profile, or reflexes
The individual values to match the organization’s culture
The capability to quickly learn and understand “information” and “people”
In everyday organizational or personal life, we describe colleagues, friends or family members in terms of personality elements, or stereotypes. We’ll say about someone that they’re introverts or extroverts, assertive or not, patient or not, or my favorite – detail-oriented or not. We’ll use stereotypical statements such as: “cheerleader,” “cool dude,” “nerd” or “Type A” to quickly describe someone’s personality profile. At the risk of being somewhat controversial (I really don’t mind at all), I would venture to say that there are indeed stereotypes when it comes to jobs or occupations.

The reason for that is that some jobs tend to attract individuals with certain personality profiles (Librarian jobs tend not to attract extroverted party animals, for example). Of course, stereotypes mean that a great proportion of these individuals have similar personalities, rather than it being a universal rule (Yes, there are quiet salespeople out there). The way people figure out that they will like or dislike certain jobs is essentially based on their natural personalities or innate needs. (People who are very assertive simply have a higher need to control or drive their environments.)

As you can imagine, it’s only logical that someone who is “a natural” for a job would be better at it. They would not have to spend energy trying to fit into a job for which their personality is ill suited. Of course, there are always parts of a job that don’t fit an individual’s personality, so they need to adjust or compromise. While the perfect fit does not exist (I said that earlier), the fit is to be relatively good, with the bulk of the behaviors required in the job fitting the job holder’s personality.

If you have been required to perform a task for which you’re not well suited for an extended period of time, you’ll get home and complain you’re “mentally” drained or tired. That’s because you’re burning a lot of your mental energy completing a task for which you’re not very well suited. (If you’re an introvert and have had to run the crowded cocktail-party circuit for a while, you know what I mean.)

My advice to job seekers? Invest in an occupation or profession in which your natural personality will be a good fit, and don’t assume all jobs in your field require the same personality. If you don’t fit, your performance and career will suffer. Also, realize that the personality you need to get through school or training is not necessarily the same that will serve you well to do the actual job. Rely on your contacts to let you know if you would fit well in the jobs they know about. The recruiters will ask them about your personality when they call the same contacts as your references.

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