9: The Research

The author provides details about a four-part research project.

Returning to an earlier point, every personality is a good fit for some profession - but a personality that thrives in one profession may be disastrous in another. With that in mind, there is no single "service personality," but personality traits that work well in a variety of industries and situations, including: bank tellers, loan officers, fast-food restaurant cashiers, high-end restaurant waiters, repair servicemen, convenience store clerks, retail store associates, auto dealers, airline ticket agents.

There were variances by position and industry, so the suggestion is to seek a personality profile that's right for your own industry. However, care is necessary: if you simply swag it, you could end up hiring the wrong kind of personality. It's not always intuitive.

He also notes that there are different profiles that fit different positions. He gives the example of auto repair shops: the qualities that make a person a good service writer (who interacts with customers and writes up repair orders) are different than those of a service technician (who actually does the repair). And ironically, it's common practice in the industry to promote good technicians to a service writer's job, where many of them turn out to be a bad fit.

The Profile

The instrument and methodology of the study were the McQuaig Word Survey, which measures personality in four dimensions.

(EN: this is a new one on me, so I may need to take closer notes or research this instrument separately to better understand the parameters.)

It's noted that people can adopt a personality style for a situation. It is not uncommon for people who are attempting to gain something by influencing other people (salesmen, con artists, job applicants, politicians, public speakers, interrogators) can adopt or feign a different personality style for a short period of time, hiding their real personality. The author acknowledges that the greater the difference between the real self and the attempted self, the more difficult it is to sustain an attempted personality.

(EN: I'd debate "for a short period of time." It's not at all unusual for a person to adopt different personality styles in different situations. A person behaves differently at their job than they do at home, at church versus at a social event, etc. This is sometimes denounced as living in bad faith, but it's very common behavior and not necessarily disingenuous or evil. It's also a matter of personal growth that's commonly seem when a person changes roles - they begin by acting "like" the role they want to adopt, and over time the behavior becomes natural).

An interesting note: the Talmud suggests that, prior to a marriage, a woman should seek to observe her intended under three circumstances: when he is drunk, when he is sick, and when he is angry. The logic is that in these states, a person is dealing with distractions and stress and is less likely to conceal their true nature.

The author then provides a few quick anecdotes in which he found himself in a stressful situation and behaved in ways that were contrary to what he considers to be his "normal" personality.

On the Fly

You don't need to subject others top a survey to assess their personalities: the "little things" they do in everyday life will provide cues: a person may dominate a conversation or listen passively, they may have a relaxed or focused posture, they may be inclined to go along with others or suggest an alternate plan. The choices they make reveal their personality.

However, don't be too hasty to pass judgment -a given behavior is a never a "sure sign" of a given trait, merely an indication. There may be instances in which a behavior can be misinterpreted - for example, a person who seems to talk a lot may be social, or maybe they're domineering, or maybe they're excited about a topic, or maybe there nervous about something else entirely. And as mentioned previously, people who are in the situation of applying for a job may be masking their personality, seeking to make an impression upon the interviewer that they think is appropriate, regardless of their actual personality.

He then returns to the notion of "hiring slowly," with an anecdote about a seminar with business executives. In the story, there was one who made a major equipment purchase, another who hired a director-level employee whose salary was about the same as the equipment purchase. The amount of effort put into justifying the equipment purchase and evaluating alternatives was far more significant than that of hiring the director, even though the cost was the same (and the impact of the director potentially more significant to the business.