Career Choice and Career Development: Using the MBTI ® and Personality Type
By Ross Reinhold, INTJ
Page 4 (continued)
Marketing Yourself, Job Search
Another use of knowing your strengths that are closely related to personality type involves your effective job search preparation. Job Interviewers often seek to have you state what you consider your strengths and your weaknesses. They may not be this direct, yet understand that this could well be what is being sought in more oblique questions.
So how do you assess yourself? Do you parrot the Boy Scout Code; try to guess what the interviewer wants to hear; try to guess the right answer? Treating these strength and weakness self-assessment questions like a quiz and trying to provide the right answer will earn you no better than a C grade and could be worse. Getting caught trying to project a false image to get hired will end your employment chances right there. Do not pass go, do not collect $200.
Constructing a profile of your strengths around traits drawn from your personality type insures credibility. They are genuine and individually they hang well together as they are tied to a common theme: your personality type. Be able to describe the overall theme of who you are as well as being able to list your strengths. I'm not sure I'd recommend actually saying I'm an ENFP (or whatever is your type) but I'd hope you'd be able to describe yourself drawing upon aspects of your type you find most relevant to you.
The other important portion of your profile is your potential weaknesses. These are the traits that are the polar opposite of your strengths. Again, we insure credibility because they are true - not some trumped up failing that you trot out in hopes that it doesn't make any difference. But the real beauty of being able to identify real areas of vulnerability is that you can, at the same time, contrast them with your strengths. Example: "Because I've found one of my main assets or strengths is my ability to adapt to changing circumstances, think on my feet, plan on the go . . . I feel constrained when I am in a 'highly pre-planned and structured' situation." OK, you say what happens if in they were looking for someone who does well in "highly pre-planned and structured" situations. Good point, but why in the world would you want that job anyhow? You just saved yourself from getting hired into the wrong job. The Job Interview is a two way street; you are evaluating the job as well as the employer evaluating you. If what you reveal about yourself tells the interviewer that this is not a good fit, the process is working like it should.
Being Pro-Active in Your Job Search
What I've essentially recommended here is that you prepare a customized Personality Type Job Search Profile. It will materially enhance the effective presentation of yourself. It also will help you better focus your job search.
From your strengths and areas of potential vulnerability, you can infer important characteristics about a job and work environment that you ought to seek . . . or ought to avoid. An example:
John is pursuing a job in sales. On the regular MBTI preference dichotomies he comes out on the Extraverted side; overall he prefers extraversion. But on the Step II inventory trait scale results, on the Gregarious - Intimate scale, John comes out on the Intimate or introverted side. John verifies this result: he is most comfortable in one-one relationships and his friendship circle tends to be smaller and long-lasting. What does this suggest about the type of job situation John ought to seek? In my experience John would be ideally suited for a situation where sales to and maintenance of existing accounts is very important. His preference for more intimate relationships will be an asset as he will naturally cultivate relationships with these existing accounts. On the other hand, a situation with a lot of cold-calling and which is dependent upon selling a big ticket item that may be the last sale to that customer for years is not a good fit. While he may be able to "handle" such a situation, it is not drawing upon one of his important people strengths so he'll need to find ways to compensate for that missing connection.
Review your Personality Type Job Search Profile's strengths and vulnerabilities. See if you can infer some positive and negative aspects about the nature of jobs and organizations that may be "green lights" or "flashing yellow" or "red lights." Develop an understanding of what you are seeking in a job. Have more depth than the usual salary, fringe benefit, and perks list.
When you network with people, you'll be able to sketch a more meaningful profile of the kind of job and work situation you are seeking. You aren't networking for job opening information; you are networking for potential good fit work situations and contacts in those situations. You may hit a situation two weeks before active recruitment begins or you may hit a situation one month after recruitment has been suspended because it wasn't successful. Both of these are advantages because you have the attention all to yourself; you are not in a parade of contestants for a job.
I've also seen situations where the "right" person showing up and getting an introductory interview ends up creating a job opening. Hiring is time consuming and sometimes risky business. Most managers don't have the constitution, unlike Donald Trump, to say "you're fired." They end up suffering through a hiring mistake and looking for indirect ways to encourage that person to move on. So not all employment needs are instantly serviced; some lie in waiting for a need to get greater or the right person to come along.
A pro-active job searcher goes to the action and goes prepared to present his or her case for who he/she is and what he/she is seeking.
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Demarest, L. (1997). Looking at Type in the Workplace. Gainesville, FL: Center for Applications of Psychological Type.
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Kroeger, O., Thuesen, J., and Rutledge, H. (2002) Type Talk at Work: How the 16 Personality Types Determine Your Success on the Job (Revised) New York: Delacorte.
Macdaid, G., McCaulley, M. and Kainz, R. (1991). CAPT Atlas of Type Tables. Gainesville, FL: Center for Applications of Psychological Type.
Martin, C. (1995). Looking at Type and Careers. Gainesville, FL: CAPT.
Myers, I., McCaulley, M., Quenk, N., and Hammer, A. (1998) MBTI Manual, 3rd Edition. Palo Alto, CA: Consulting Psychologists Press, Inc.
Lawrence, G. (1993). People Types & Tiger Stripes. Gainesville, FL: Center for Applications of Psychological Type.
Lawrence, G. (1997). Looking at Type and Learning Styles. Gainesville, FL: Center for Applications of Psychological Type.
Kummerow, J., Barger, N., and Kirby, L. (1997) Work Types. Lebanon, IN: Grand Central Publishing.
Tieger, P. and Barron, B. (2007) Do What You Are: Discover the Perfect Career for You Through the Secrets of Personality Type. Lebanon, IN: Little, Brown & Co.
Almost all of the above titles are available through Amazon's bookstore. Select "books" as the product category and enter the book title in the search window.
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