Using Personality AI to Improve Your Recruiting

Since hiring is ultimately all about bringing people together, it can be messy, unpredictable, emotional, and stressful.

Why personality matters for hiring

If you have built or managed a team over any length of time, you have likely fumbled the hiring process at one point; I certainly have. I’ve hired great people for the wrong roles, lost promising candidates to other companies after I thought our meetings went well, and mistakenly turned away people who could have been an excellent addition. In my current role at Crystal, I frequently find myself in conversations with other leaders, managers, and recruiters, and I know I’m not alone. Many of these very competent, experienced people experience similar pain in the hiring process and want to make better, more consistent decisions. 

Since hiring is ultimately all about bringing people together, it can be messy, unpredictable, emotional, and stressful. With limited information and limited time, you are often in a position to make huge decisions on behalf of people who you only recently met, for roles that are critical to the success of your company. Differences in personalities, desires, goals, and motivations make this a problem with many variables, and the outcome is often all-or-nothing.

Because of this, leaders and hiring managers are seeking out more and more data to support their decisions, including personality profiles.

In this guide, we will explain how personality profiles and behavioral information can help you  communicate more effectively with candidates, conduct more efficient interviews, reduce or eliminate your biases throughout the hiring process, and put new hires in positions where they are most likely to succeed.

Understanding personality

Historically, the only way you would be able to fully understand someone’s personality is by either getting to know them really well, which takes lots of time and emotional intelligence, or having them take a personality test. Both of these approaches require that you have an established relationship with the person, which doesn’t tend to work in the world of outreach communication, since we are often trying to connect with new people who we have never spoken with before.

Thankfully, there is a new technology that unlocks another way to learn about someone’s personality without an assessment - Personality AI. We wrote about this in detail in another ebook titled, Personality AI (which you can download for free). This new technology analyzes publicly available information on websites like LinkedIn to predict someone’s personality, using artificial intelligence and machine learning. We built our product, Crystal, to harness Personality AI and enable anyone to identify personalities online to improve their communication and build stronger relationships, all based on the core principle of empathy.

Without getting too technical, when Crystal’s AI predicts personality, it uses a framework called DISC to classify personalities into a few categories that we refer to as D (dominance), I (influence), S (steadiness), and C (conscientiousness). Each of us has a primary DISC type in one of these categories and sometimes a secondary DISC type in another. To keep things simple, we separate these into easy-to-remember labels called Archetypes. 

You can see them all on this graphic called the Personality Map:

Below is a breakdown of common personality traits within each of the categories in DISC.

 D Personality Types: Captains, Drivers, Initiators, Architects

  • Motivated by control over the future and personal authority
  • Tend to prefer instant, concrete results and having an advantage over competition
  • Communicate clearly and succinctly

I Personality Types: Influencer, Motivator, Encourager, Harmonizer

  • Motivated by innovative, unique, creative ideas and excited by the future
  • Tend to prefer building new relationships and experiences
  • Communicate in a casual, expressive way

S Personality Types: Counselor, Supporter, Planner, Stabilizer

  • Motivated by peace, safety, and others’ wellbeing
  • Tend to prefer security, reliability, and trust
  • Communicate in a friendly and genuine way

C Personality Types: Editor, Analyst, Skeptic, Questioner

  • Motivated by logic, information, and problem solving
  • Tend to prefer accurate information and quality solutions (quality over quantity)
  • Communicate in a business-like, fact-based way

These differences are extremely important to understand when approaching a conversation with anyone. For example, someone who is a warm, people-oriented Supporter (S) is less likely to engage in a discussion about facts and data. They’d usually prefer to engage in a more personal, get-to-know-you conversation. An Analyst (C), on the other hand, tends to enjoy learning more about specific, concrete information. By identifying someone’s personality type, we can learn how to best communicate with them.

COMMUNICATE MORE EFFECTIVELY

When your goal is to hire the best candidate, it’s important to set your company apart by approaching candidates in a way that resonates with their individual personalities and placing them in the right positions for their personality. Understanding a candidate’s personality can give insights into the best ways to meet, call, and email them, what their ideal workplace is, and assess their core motivations.

Improve your interviews

Because interviews are among the best opportunities to understand if a candidate is a good fit for a role, the importance of communicating effectively cannot be overstressed. 

Each personality tends to prefer different styles of interviews.

More direct, logical types on the left side of the Personality Map, D-types and C-types, tend to prefer professional, focused interviews that give them the information they need, like compensation, day-to-day tasks, and specific expectations to understand the job. They likely will appreciate meeting one person at a time, rather than being overwhelmed by a group. 

People-oriented types on the right side of the Personality Map, including I-types and S-types, generally prefer more personal, casual interviews that allow them the opportunity to build connections with the interviewer. They may be more comfortable with personal questions about their life outside of work.

Those near the top of the map, D-types and I-types, tend to be more high-energy and fast-paced; they generally prefer to work through meetings and interviews quickly. However, those close to the bottom of the Personality Map, S-types and C-types tend to be more thorough and thoughtful; they usually prefer to take their time in interview discussions.

Use Role Reports as a Guide

When working to understand a candidate’s potential, personality type alone cannot tell you if they are a good fit. You also need to understand: 

  • The behaviors you and your team are expecting from the role.
  • The strengths and blind spots typically associated with the candidate’s personality. 
  • If the candidate has developed the necessary skills to manage their blind spots

Blind spots are behaviors that do not come naturally to a person, but are sometimes necessary for a particular situation and require the person to adapt.

You can gather this kind of data from a tool like Crystal using a Role Report. The Role Report helps you see how specific candidates are likely to fit the expectations for a certain position. It also gives interview questions that allow the candidate to share how they will handle situations where they may need to adapt or adjust their behavior to succeed. There are a few steps to using Role Reports:

1. Take a Role Expectations Survey

Each member of your team who is a stakeholder in the hiring process, such as the hiring manager, recruiter and key co-workers, should complete this brief survey. The survey allows them to rate a list of behaviors on a five point scale from Unimportant to Important. It allows each person to share their input on what behaviors the ideal candidate should possess. For example, are we looking for someone who is comfortable following a routine process each day or someone who needs to constantly brainstorm ideas to create new processes? 

For example, let’s say you are looking to fill a Product Manager position at your company. The hiring manager and anyone who needs to work alongside this person would complete the survey to outline the expected role behaviors.

2. View ideal personality type

Once everyone has completed the survey, Crystal will calculate the ideal personality type for the role and show it visually on the Personality Map.

In this case, your team has requested qualities most typical of an Questioner (CD): they should be able to analyze lots of data, work well independently, and remove emotions from decision making.

In this case, your team has requested qualities most typical of an Analyst (C): they should be able to analyze lots of data, work well independently, and closely follow procedures.

3. See how candidates compare  

The next step is to have candidates complete the Crystal Personality Assessment so you have the most accurate personality profiles. In the example below, a candidate had the assessment result of a Driver (DI), which is very far across the personality map from your expected behaviors for the Product Manager role. 

This does not necessarily mean that the candidate cannot succeed in the role. They may actually still be a very good fit. However, it does mean that you need to verify that they have developed the skills to adapt to the behaviors that do not come as naturally for them. position. In general, DI-types like Initiators tend to be more confident, direct, and driven by instinct. For this role, they would need to work in a very different style.

To understand this, you can ask the candidate the suggested interview questions on the Role Report. They reflect the important behaviors for the role that are most likely outside of the candidate’s comfort zone.

By verifying that they can perform the expected behaviors for the role, you can insure you hire the right candidate.

Eliminate bias

As humans with limited perspective, we all tend to weigh our unique past experiences too heavily in our decisions, which can lead us to make poor judgements in certain scenarios. Personality data can help eliminate our own biases by focusing on behavioral patterns or preferences for each person, rather than our own pre-existing bias

and assumptions. 

For example, you may have an existing belief that “all good salespeople are direct and assertive.” But, for your particular sales role, the job might require someone who is more outgoing, consistent, and warm. 

If you made this decision based on your pre-existing assumptions rather than behavioral data, you have a much stronger chance of choosing the wrong candidate and costing your company time and money. However, if you are able to view the hiring process focused solely on behavior, you are more likely to choose someone who will succeed in the role.

As time goes on, you will likely begin to understand the ideal personality profiles for each role, but the results may still surprise you. Use the Crystal Role Reports first when recruiting to get the most accurate insight for each unique job, role, team, or situation to ensure you are hiring based on the expected behaviors of the role. 

SET UP NEW HIRES FOR SUCCESS

When you find the right candidate to join your team, they may initially find themselves overwhelmed with new responsibilities. Fresh starts, career changes, and new positions are intimidating for most people. Completing on-boarding tasks, learning the company culture, adjusting to an unfamiliar environment with different rules, projects, and new expectations can be overstimulating and draining. 

Consider what you can do to help them avoid some of this stress. For starters, you can communicate with them in a tailored, energizing way. Crystal’s Personality Reports can help offer insight into effectively doing that for their specific personality.

For example, here is how an Analyst (C) might want to interact with their boss, peers and

direct reports: 

With D-types, get right to the point and avoid lengthy pleasantries.

Sociable I-types generally enjoy brief small talk.

 S-types should be asked questions about themselves.

Be formal with C-types, but careful not to make unsupported claims. 

YOUR BOSS

  • Provides enough time to research and process information independently.
  • Answers questions thoroughly and specifically.
  • Provides a logical, accurate, & precise description of performance expectations.
  • Gives you autonomy to discover new ways to complete an assignment.
  • Values careful planning and preparation.

YOUR PEERS

  • Explain the reasoning behind their claims and recommendations.
  • Give you opportunities to demonstrate your skills and expertise.
  • Work within an established set of systems and standards.
  • Communicate with formal, business-like language.
  • Respect your schedule and routine.

YOUR DIRECT REPORTS

  • Consistently deliver high quality results.
  • Provide compelling logic to back up their ideas.
  • Avoid taking unnecessary risks.
  • Ask for feedback frequently, especially in writing.
  • Work within the rules that you have established.

 

Motivating them to succeed

Because people are naturally diverse, they are likely to respond differently to certain behaviors or tasks in their role. Typically, they tend to be more actively engaged in work that addresses their innate, primary motivations. 

Primary motivations are what drive people; understanding different personality type’s motivations offers insights into why people seek certain environments, behaviors, and positions. For example, an Encourager (Is) will likely thrive in a position that involves joining a social work environment, exploring new ideas, and engaging in frequent collaborative discussion, as this includes three of their primary motivations.

D Personality Types: Captains, Drivers, Initiators, Architects

  • Exceeding performance expectations and overcoming challenges
  • Competition and winning
  • Producing results and making tangible progress
  • Efficiency and timeliness

I Personality Types: Influencer, Motivator, Encourager, Harmonizer

  • Exploration and discovery
  • Fun, novelty, and excitement
  • Feeling accepted and welcomed by others
  • Learning through open discussion and brainstorming

S Personality Types: Counselor, Supporter, Planner, Stabilizer

  • Long-term trust and loyalty
  • Harmony and predictability
  • Environmental and relational predictability
  • Being able to help others

C Personality Types: Editor, Analyst, Skeptic, Questioner

  • Accuracy and precision
  • Building an effective process
  • Building more skill, competence, and expertise
  • Environments where though and analysis are valued

Energy driving vs. energy draining behaviors

Some of the most important factors to consider when structuring a new role are energy driving behaviors. Personality profiles can help you understand which actions tend to excite and inspire someone to work effectively. Personalities on the left of the Personality Map, D-types and C-types, tend to enjoy more logical, independent tasks, while those on the right, I-types and S-types, usually prefer interactive, social actions. 

Those near the top of the map, D-types and I-types, also tend to be naturally high-energy and thrive in environments that are fast-paced, while personalities near the bottom, S-types and C-types, are generally calmer and prefer a slower-paced environment. For example, if someone with a Captain (D) personality type has tight deadlines to abide by, they’re likely to feel energized and excited.

DISC TYPE

ENERGY DRIVING BEHAVIORS

D Personality Types

Types: Captains, Drivers, Initiators, Architects

  • Completing ambitious projects on a tight deadline
  • Communicating with quick conversations and messages, only when necessary
  • Taking primary responsibility and ownership over large projects

I Personality Types

Types: Influencer, Motivator, Encourager, Harmonizer

  • Regularly interacting with a large, diverse group of people
  • Providing verbal encouragement and telling stories
  • Explaining things with emotional, expressive language

S Personality Types

Types: Counselor, Supporter, Planner, Stabilizer

  • Regularly interacting with a large, diverse group of people
  • Helping and counseling others to navigate through emotional challenges
  • Explaining things with emotional, expressive language

C Personality Types

Types: Editor, Analyst, Skeptic, Questioner

  • Solving problems with thorough analysis of the existing data
  • Taking time to meditate on a problem before making a final decision
  • Working on projects independently and bringing results back to a group

 

On the other side are energy draining behaviors. Situations that require someone to step well out of their comfort zone tend to involve actions that will likely deplete that person’s energy. If a Supporter (S) has to constantly rush to keep up with the same tight deadlines as a Captain (D), they’re likely to feel exhausted and overwhelmed. When people feel this sort of stress in their positions, they tend to eventually leave. By placing people in positions that frequently drain them of energy, you’re setting yourself up to lose qualified, capable people. 

DISC TYPE

ENERGY DRAINING BEHAVIORS

D Personality Types

Types: Captains, Drivers, Initiators, Architects

  • Patiently listening to questions from others and responding thoughtfully
  • Building long-term trust with consistent and predictable behavior
  • Responding to difficult situations with compassion and empathy

I Personality Types

Types: Influencer, Motivator, Encourager, Harmonizer

  • Solving problems with thorough analysis of the existing data
  • Spending a lot of time to research the root causes of a problem
  • Creating procedures, rules, and guidelines for other people to follow

S Personality Types

Types: Counselor, Supporter, Planner, Stabilizer

  • Making decisions on behalf of other people without much group input
  • Communicating with quick conversations and messages
  • Critically questioning existing practices and procedures

C Personality Types

Types: Editor, Analyst,

Skeptic, Questioner

  • Discussing abstract ideas instead of concrete ones
  • Understanding and responding to other people’s emotions
  • Bouncing between multiple ideas at once

 

As a recruiter or hiring manager, you can make sure the person you hire has a personality that is well-aligned with their role, which will help ensure that they spend the majority of their time working on tasks that motivate and energize them- making them passionate about their work and more productive.

Avoid key mistakes

When we started Crystal, I took on many roles that didn’t necessarily excite me, but needed to be filled. It’s the typical founder story; my focus had to be on the success of our company, rather than my personal preferences.

As a result, I ended up spending most of my time juggling a variety of different responsibilities.

On any given day, I was analyzing spreadsheets, taking customer support calls, running our sales process, and many other activities that were well outside of my comfort zone. After a couple of years, I was burnt out and exhausted. Getting out of bed to drag myself into work at my own company was not a struggle I imagined myself facing.

As the months dragged on, the burnout persisted, and I started having doubts about my own ability to continue as CEO. I was not doing a good job, in my own estimation, and I certainly was not enjoying my work. However, Greg, my business partner, was able to diagnose some of my issues and snapped me out of it after one career-altering meeting. 

We sat down together one day to explicitly write out my list of jobs and we quickly realized that not only did I have way too many different roles, but most of those roles took me too far from my “home” in the Influencer (Id) region too often. That’s why I always felt like I was running on an empty tank of gas.

We immediately got to work reorganizing and reassigning tasks. Greg, a true Architect (Dc), ended up taking on much of my data-driven, analytical tasks, while I was able to focus more on what excites me: product strategy, design, and marketing. Focusing on the work that drives me, gives me energy, and motivates me was an immediate game-changer for my career at Crystal. I started staying “close to home” for the majority of each day and it had a compounding effect on my performance. The majority of the responsibilities I took on gave me energy, which let me effectively complete the draining tasks that I still needed to accomplish.

Since Greg and I have complementary personalities, this allowed each of us to double down on our strengths, manage our blind spots, and thrive in our respective roles. If we had initially thought to structure my role around tasks that excite me, we could have avoided an intensely stressful situation. 

By understanding a candidates personality, you can ensure you keep them engaged with work that energizes and motivates them; improving your teams effectiveness and avoiding costly mistakes in the hiring process.

Get started for free at www.crystalknows.com

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