As candidates search for jobs, the most frequent request they get is to list their experience. How proficient are they at performing these particular job functions already? Before they even walk through the door, they’re asked to demonstrate the skills required for the role. But what if that isn’t the most important part? What if this candidate’s personality assessment strongly suggests that they may be better aligned with another role? Just because they can do something, doesn’t mean they should.

At Caliper, we feel that an individual’s potential speaks louder than their past experience. Our late founder, Dr. Herb Greenberg, always used to say, “10 years of experience could just be 1 year of bad experience repeated 10 times.”

Encourage Candidates to Lean Into Their Personality

There’s no such thing as a right or wrong personality. There’s a job for everyone — you simply have to find the roles that provide your candidates with the things that interest and motivate them. The more a candidate understands their own strengths and weaknesses, the things that drive them, and the things they dislike, the more likely they are to target jobs that feed what makes them happy. It helps their managers manage them better and coworkers to understand them more.

What’s In a “Type”

Most people fall into certain categories that have common traits and shared strengths and weakness. Most commonly known are the Meyers-Briggs personality types, which suggest that different individual traits are, in fact, part of an orderly and consistent spectrum of methods people use to perceive data and draw conclusions. Similar constructions have been made using the same basic psychological principles, and here at Caliper, we’ve spent decades studying and perfecting our personality assessment specifically for the workplace.

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By understanding the different types of personalities or dominant traits, management and HR teams are afforded a more thorough understanding of how a candidate might think, behave, the factors that motivate them, and the factors that derail them. When you understand how personality affects learning, behavior, and production, you can identify roles that work with those personality traits and build out a development plan that compliments a candidate’s style and preferences.

For example, a few personality traits that are measured by the Caliper Profile which we have found to contribute to sales success include:

Ego-Drive: A person with a high ego-drive is motivated by the ability to persuade others. For a salesperson, that means they only feel good when they make a sale, so they’ll do whatever it takes not to lose. They’re driven by the desire to feed their ego.

Empathy: An empathetic person considers how the things they say and do affect others. A salesperson with strong empathy will pay attention to the reactions of their prospects and adjust their tactics based on response. They are constantly taking the temperature of the conversation and will pivot as soon as they feel something is amiss.

Urgency: Urgency means that a person feels compelled to complete a task quickly and efficiently. For salespeople, that means proactively setting up calls, following up promptly, setting hard timelines, and consistently pushing the conversation forward.

Based on our research around sales success, we find that candidates that possess these traits are most likely to succeed and enjoy a sales role. However, it’s also important to look at the way their unique individual traits come together to shape a personality. Making an assumption based on a single trait won’t give you the big picture. Perhaps a candidate does exhibit the traits above, but they are also introverted, reserved, and cautious. They may be driven by success and work quickly to meet their goals, but they probably won’t enjoy being on the phone all day every day trying to make a sale. If your candidate suppresses this more reserved side of their personality, they’re placing themselves in the running for a job they won’t like, which could impact their success in the role as well as their engagement with it. It’s important to be open and honest about all facets of their personality.

The Power of Potential

At Caliper, our belief is that once you understand an individual’s motivations, training can come later. Work should be stimulating, engaging, and interesting. Today’s workforce is motivated to find a job that isn’t just a paycheck, and the first step is knowing how to meet their values.

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Our assessment was specifically developed to gauge who a candidate is, not what they’ve done in the past, as well as what motivates them today. They may have been a computer programmer in the past, but if it bores them now, you shouldn’t put them in that role. Find what sparks their interest, and place them there. If they’re actively interested, they’ll learn quickly. And when an employee is engaged, motivated, and inspired — and their personality is aligned with the role — the entire production cycle goes up. A happier employee is a more productive employee.

Asking the Right Questions

So, how do you translate personality from an assessment to an interview? If you want to get to the bottom of what motivates a candidate, ask questions about how they handled adversity, recovered from a mistake, or when they were really proud of something. What projects have they worked on that got them excited, and why? When you speak to their references, don’t just ask if they were good at their job, ask what they were like, how they got along with their colleagues, and what kind of attitude they had. Focus on their nature, not on the things that can be coached later.

A powerful by-product of focusing on personality is that it’s the great leveler. There’s no right or wrong, pass or fail, there’s just potential. There’s no discounting based on race, gender, socio-economic status, physical abilities, or sexual preference. Everyone is of value and has something to contribute. Dr. Herb Greenberg struggled to find work early in his career due to his blindness. To use his words, forget the disability. Grab the ability, and ride it to death.