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How Your Personality Determines The Right Job Fit


Are you calling in sick at work more often lately? Does getting ready for work every morning feel like a battle you’re losing? You’re not alone. Most of us have been through this at some point in life, but if you routinely feel physically, mentally and/or emotionally exhausted from work, the problem may be deeper than you realize.

Several studies have linked extreme workplace stress to being stuck in the wrong job. And, if things are not remedied, it can take a massive toll on your entire life. While for some, a job change can do the trick, for others it may call for a complete career overhaul. I’ve written about the importance of finding the right work environment, but you also need to take a long, hard look at your own self to make sure you’re happy and satisfied with your professional life, which will, of course, reflect in your personal life.

Are you a square peg in the round hole? 

Switching career lanes can be unnerving and it’s often a decision most people find hard to make for the fear of things going wrong again. However, staying put in a wrong job can be worse. A recent study has found that an incompatibility between a person’s personality and their job can increase the odds of them burning out. For example, someone who works best alone when asked to manage a team will find the situation too stressful. Equally, an individual with strong leadership skills will be frustrated in a junior role.

In today’s “candidate-driven” market where people are more frequently changing jobs and companies are constantly looking for skilled individuals to fill out empty cubicles, it doesn’t make sense to put up with a workplace environment that makes you feel like a misfit.

Know your personality to find a job you’ll love

If your work environment doesn’t feel right, it may be worth your time to look for a job that matches your personality traits and characteristics, rather than just your passion. Many new studies reveal that choosing a job to which you are inherently suited — as opposed to one that pays well or you’re interested in — will lead to better performance and job satisfaction, which will increase your chances of landing higher paychecks and more lucrative opportunities in the future.

Today, employers are increasingly looking beyond an impressive resume and interview smarts to ensure they’ve hired an individual who’s the best fit for their company culture and environment. According to CEB, 62% of HR professionals are including personality tests in their recruitment process to vet candidates. Therefore, taking stock of yourself and your traits will also give you an advantage when applying to job postings and cracking interviews.

Knowing your natural strengths and what works for you will allow you to showcase your best attributes and also ask the right questions to determine if a company’s culture and environment would be right for you.

The ‘Big Five’ of job success 

Our personalities are consistent in driving our behavior and how we react or respond to people and situations at work. However, we can also alter or modify our behaviors to a certain extent for a period of time. Some can keep at it for a longer duration while some just can’t do it at all. But eventually the situation will become stressful because it is not an effortless fit. This is exactly what happens when you’re working in an environment where you can’t play with your natural strengths and you have to maintain those altered behaviors for too long. That’s when it leads to “burn outs”.

The five-factor model – the most widely accepted model of personality — uses five distinct scales to recognize different personalities. Knowing which boxes you tick can help you assess if a job matches your personality. Here are the five factors:

  • Conscientiousness – the extent to which one is dependable and persistent
  • Emotional stability – one’s calmness and self-control
  • Extraversion – a measure of sociability, ambition and narcissism
  • Agreeableness – the extent to which one is cooperative and altruistic
  • Openness to experience – a measure of creativity and novelty-seeking

Your characteristics and personality traits are a unique blend of these five factors, and it impacts your success at work in three main ways.

  1. Our personality profile determines how and why we’re motivated to achieve certain goals. People who display higher levels of extraversion, for example, are more motivated to achieve a goal if there’s a reward involved.
  2. According to studies, conscientiousness, extraversion, and agreeableness are positively correlated with job satisfaction, which indirectly affects organizational citizenship behavior. In other words, happy and satisfied employees are likely to be more self-motivated, committed, responsible, and can even go beyond their call of duty, when needed.
  3. Your personality impacts your interpersonal relationships, which is key differentiator of success when it comes to situations that require getting along with other people.Research has found that individuals who score high on conscientiousness and agreeableness appear are likely to be more productive in a team environment.Sales, for example, requires a higher level of social interaction, so individuals with a good mix of conscientiousness and agreeableness in their personality may be naturally drawn to these types of roles.

Besides the five-point model, there are other personality assessment scales such as DISC and Myers-Briggs as well. They are, however, designed for the same purpose — to eliminate the wrong choices and to help determine ones that are psychologically right for you.

So if you’re not happy with your current job and looking for a change, instead of jumping on to the next option available to you, take a step back to think — are you getting into yet another job that you’ll end up hating in few weeks? A personality test may answer that question.