- An individual’s personality may dictate their career path at an early age.
- Performance in the workplace has been linked to the employee's personality.
- Work ethics can be improved by placing employees in roles that agree with their personality. Employees who love what they do perform better.
Hiring managers, networking contacts and new acquaintances making small talk often ask, "What made you want to work in your field?" People typically answer by saying that they've always been interested in it, or that they have a knack for the required skills. But part of the reason you're drawn to a certain line of work could simply be that it aligns with who you are.
It seems like common sense to say that individuals are often best suited to careers and work environments that fit their personality type. A well-recognized test to determine your core personality is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) tool. This test, which assesses a person's psychological preferences in how he or she perceives the world and makes decisions, assigns people one of 16 distinct personality types, coded by combining the following letters:
E (extrovert) or I (introvert), in interacting with others
According to Truity Psychometrics, the developer of the MBTI-based Type Finder personality and career assessments, extroverts like working on teams and in busy spaces, while introverts prefer independent work in calm, quiet spaces. Extroverts are outgoing in nature and prefer to work in positions where they interact with others. They are very helpful and excel in customer-service-facing roles. They are great team leaders as they are easily able to boost the attitudes of others by being upbeat and happy.
Introverts prefer independent work in calm, quiet spaces. They are best suited to work as information and technology personnel as they stay behind computers all day. An introvert can, for example, serve in an accounts payable role as there is minimal interaction with people and vendors.
S (sensor) or N (intuitive), in processing information
Sensors enjoy working with concrete things like people, data, and machines, whereas intuitive work best with abstract theories and ideas. Individuals with the sensor personality focus on the present. They see things as they are, as they are literal and concrete thinkers. They are mesmerized by practical ideas. They are best suited to be entertainers, craftspeople or artists.
An intuitive personality is more focused on the future and is immersed in its possibilities. Intuitive personalities process information through impressions and patterns. They are attracted by deep ideas and concepts. They are best suited to be engineers, strategists, chiefs and advocates.
T (thinker) or F (feeler), in making decisions
Thinkers want a job that lets them use their intelligence, and feelers want their work to help others and reflect their personal values. Thinkers are objective in their decision-making as they are very analytical, and weigh the pro and cons of every situation. They find logical explanations for every situation while trying to maintain fairness. Thinkers are best suited to be a financial analyst, system analyst or research analyst.
Feelers, on the other hand, are sensitive to others. They are sensitive to conflicts and make decisions based on relationships. They are known to value common good over objectivity. Feelers are best suited to serve in the roles of nurses and psychologists.
J (judger) or P (perceiver), in dealing with the outside world
Judgers prefer structure and organization in the workplace, but perceivers would rather have flexibility and freedom. Individuals with the judging personality think sequentially; their day-to-day is based on structure and schedule. They are strict on deadlines. They are best suited to be chiefs, examiners, confidants or mentors.
Perceivers, on the other hand, quickly adapt to changes and are flexible. They are random thinkers and prefer to keep their options open. They prefer starting a task rather than finishing it. They treat deadlines as a mere suggestion and play as they work. They are best suited to be craftsmen, entertainers or dreamers.
Truity characterized ideal "job types" based on a person's four-letter MBTI personality code. A list of specific job suggestions based on your MBTI type is available on Truity's infographic, published on Undercover Recruiter.
A pragmatist individual is straightforward and does not make decisions based on emotions. They are practical and result oriented. They are content with what they can achieve and will not overstretch to achieve what they feel is beyond their level of achievement.
According to Elinor Greenberg, author of Borderline, Narcissistic, and Schizoid Adaptations, a pragmatist is more likely to make compromises in order to achieve the desired outcome. They are best suited to be supervisors, general managers or school administrators.
- ESTJ: Practical supervisor
- ISTJ: Productive realist
- ESTP: Agile troubleshooter
- ISTP: Adaptable technician
Caretakers are loyal to traditions and the organization. They are very compassionate and caring, and work toward fulfilling the needs of others before their own. They own impression on others is important to them as they prefer to viewed as trustworthy and reliable. They best play the role of group secretary or back-office support.
- ESFJ: Caring provider
- ISFJ: Sensible helper
- ESFP: Outgoing entertainer
- ISFP: Attentive artisan
Theorists individuals are inspired by coming up with new ideas. They like to invent things and find new ways of doing things. They are best suited to be project managers or project strategists.
- ENTJ: Driven director
- INTJ: Strategic mastermind
- ENTP: Inspired inventor
- INTP: Independent scientist
Empaths are overly caring and put the needs of others before their own. They work toward ensuring that the needs of the team are met at whatever cost even when it means foregoing their own. Empaths are best suited in the role of fire brigades or divers or homecare attendants.
- ENFJ: Inspiring guide
- INFJ: Compassionate counselor
- ENFP: Expressive advocates
- INFP: Creative individualists
When you've chosen a prospective career based on both your personality and your general interests, the next step is to lay out a "road map" to help you discover the possibilities within your field, said John Schwarz, CEO and founder of workforce analytics company Visier.
"Build a path in two-year increments [to] lay out what is possible," Schwarz told Business News Daily. "Set your goals high. What are the necessary steps you need to go through, and what personal and professional characteristics [should you] develop to get there? Then, pursue it."
If you're not sure what options are available to you based on your skill set, work with a career coach, mentor or human resources professional to help you figure out which areas to pursue, Schwarz said. He advised revisiting your road map every two years to see if you're still on the right trajectory to get to where you want to go, or if you've hit barriers that must be overcome.
"You may have to adjust your goal downwards as you progress, but if you don't set that ambitious goal, chances are, you'll never get there even if you could," Schwarz said. "You won't know if you've met your ultimate objective unless [you set] the objective to begin with."
The management of any organization must work toward ensuring that employees are assigned roles based on their personality types. Employees who love what they are doing, perform better in their roles. When an introvert is placed in the role of a sales person, they are likely to under achieve as this role demands dealing with people which introverts are uncomfortable with. Undergoing a personality test before assigning roles would be beneficial to the company.