Matching candidates to your client’s existing culture is a recruiting task that presents a number of difficult-to-define challenges. People can learn new skills, but very rarely can they adjust their personalities to conform to a culture that simply isn’t right for them. As a recruiter, you take on the challenging task of determining not only the company’s overarching culture, but the unique personalities of your candidates and the teams as well.

The ultimate hiring choice won’t be yours to make in the larger recruitment process, so casting a wider net (of relevant skills and personalities) can make more sense in the early rounds of presenting candidates to your client. You have a legitimate reason to look for a wider range of personalities, as long as they have the right skills and experiences. Unless you’re getting overwhelmed early, you don’t want to scratch good options for bad reasons.

However, you’re in the reputation business just as much as you’re in the business of recruiting. If you’re always delivering candidates who instantly jive with your client’s team and hiring managers, then you’re building a lasting business relationship with a client who recognizes your skill in understanding their unique personalities and needs. In nearly every service across all industries, if you can make your client’s life easier, you’re creating value that puts you in a great position for long-lasting work and a positively-spreading reputation.

So even if the ultimate culture choice isn’t yours, let’s explore some ways for you to improve your ability to determine personality types.

Who uses personality assessments?

Companies use a variety of assessments to glean information about candidates’ personalities and the roles that best suit them. Arguably, one of the most popular tests is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, which almost 90% of Fortune 100 companies utilize. Although we know that personality assessments are not the panacea for matching new recruits to existing company cultures, they are still widely used and provide reasonably credible insight for hiring managers and HR teams.

With their popularity, it makes sense to look into them and the personality traits that they assess. If your client is familiar with these tests, you could have an easy shorthand when discussing potential candidates. Even if your candidates don’t take the actual test, you can still keep these traits in mind as you find great candidates for your client. It is important to note that the EEOC does have guidelines regarding employment and selection tests and the MBTI can only be administered by certified individuals.

Personality types determined by personality assessments

The Myers-Briggs test measures 4 different personality areas that are divided into binary categories. They yield a total of 16 personality types. The binaries are:

  1. Introversion vs. Extraversion – The preference to work in a solitary environment versus the preference for more interaction.
  2. Sensing vs. Intuition – The tendency to absorb information in smaller pieces versus the preference to look at the bigger picture.
  3. Thinking vs. Feeling – This category measures your decision-making preferences. Some people prefer to gather facts before coming to a decision while others feel comfortable allowing instinct to guide them.
  4. Judging vs. Perceiving – Generally, “judgers” prefer a planned organized approach while “perceivers” are more open to change and spontaneity.

With a few guiding questions, you can use these traits to gain a sense of candidate workflows and values. As you learn about a candidate’s accomplishments, you can also learn about the personality that achieved those accomplishments. Did they do it in spite of obstacles? Were they change leaders or team players? What setting seems to provide the best opportunity for them to be successful?

Additionally, you will have another set of insights to offer to your client. The choice between similar-sounding candidates (at least on paper) can be made easier because you have a set of tangible assessments, instead of gut feelings and vague thoughts.

Recruiting strategies for matching personality types to roles

Every role is different and every client is going to have their dream set of skills and personality characteristics. These points aren’t surprises, but we can still take a look at a few specific roles that you might be looking for right now. Don’t need to recruit for these roles? That’s ok too, consider how we’re applying the personality traits above to these roles and how you can do the same for jobs in your niche recruiting space.

How to recruit a data scientist

This candidate must be able to see the big picture as well as peice together smaller details, thus they must be both sensing and intuitive. But what about if they are introverted or extraverted? That of course will depend on the pre-existing team. Do they often present their findings publicly? How large are the work teams that are most familiar to them?

What to look for on the resume:

Look at projects that they’ve worked on, what role did they play? Were they responsible for fact-finding and organizing the data, or did they seem to feel more comfortable conveying data to others through presentations? Compare their past roles to what your client is looking for to see how the two can benefit one another.

What to look for in the phone screening:

You can ask them to tell you about past experiences and how they went about solving tasks. Did they seem to have a detailed plan for each aspect of their project or did they take a more flexible approach, handling tasks as they came at them? How does the team with the open position tend to work and will these styles be compatible?

How to recruit a lawyer

This candidate will likely need many of the same analytical skills that a data scientist will need, but whether or not they are introverted or extraverted may be more of an important factor for this position.

What to look for on the resume:

What type of cases does this candidate typically handle? Do they have more experience going to trial or handling other forms of legal arbitration? Are they joining a large team or does the role look more like a solitary counsel position?

What to look for in the phone screening:

Ask them about their workflow. Do they prefer to work alone or as part of a larger team? How does this experience compare to your client’s workflow? Do they seem to be more “thinking” or more “feeling,” as this may be a factor depending on the type of cases and clientele handled by the firm.

How to recruit a physical therapist assistant, occupational therapy aid, physician assistant, or someone in the medical field

This candidate will probably lean towards the extraverted, intuitive, and feeling side of the spectrum.

What to look for on the resume:

Take a look at how long they were in various positions. For example, perhaps they have histories of long stints at nursing homes but shorter stints at sports medicine centers. This could give you insight into their preferred type of environment.

What to look for in a phone screening:

These roles require a great deal of empathy and patience, so situational questions may prove to be the most effective. Find out how they treat patients and if their values and priorities align with those of your client.

No two personalities are the same

There are many variables to consider when navigating the multitude of personalities in a workplace. Unfortunately, no code or manual can give us complete insight into fully understanding workplace culture. Groups, from athletic teams to small corporate squads, succeed or fail on the mysterious interplay of chemistry, timing and support. A few dependable recruiting strategies can help you in your process though.

Personality assessments can make a great impact on your efforts. When it comes down to finding the right types of people for your clients, these scientifically-backed playbooks are there to increase your understanding of the personalities behind the countless resumes and candidate profiles that slide across your desk. Even if you choose not to administer personality assessments (they’re not for everyone), understanding the unique personality types in the world, and how they process their own surroundings, will help you make better recruiting choices, recommendations and referrals.


If you’re interested in seeing how Jobjet can help your recruitment process, use the link below to learn about our collection of powerful tools that help you find, organize and contact qualified candidates.