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Michael O'Neill

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What Type of Job – and Company – is Right for You and Your Personality?

08/31/2016 08:00AM | 8926 views

Merrick Rosenberg is a personality expert and the CEO of Take Flight Learning. To make the four quadrant model of the brain more accessible to people, he has likened the different personality styles associated with each quadrant to four distinct birds: eagles, parrots, doves and owls. Understanding people – and yourself – in these terms can help you make a strong first impression, sail through the interview process, and land the perfect job.

At a high (intuitive) level, here’s how the four types break down:

• Eagles: are business-like and very results driven.

• Parrots: are social and engaging; talkative types.

• Doves: are harmonious and want everyone to get along.

• Owls: are logical/analytical and want things done right.

By adding awareness of these four types of people to a few core principles of the most successful people, you’ll be much more likely to find a job and a company that’s the right fit for you and your personality type.

1. Start by Honing Your Self-Awareness

According to Rosenberg, the most successful people are also the most self-aware people. “When you understand your personality style, you have a sense of what type of role is going to feed you versus drain you,” he says.

“For example, if you’re a parrot, a job that involves a lot of networking and interaction with other people is going to feed you and nurture your well-being,” explains Rosenberg. “But the same job would drain an owl, because they are very task-focused. Having to socialize with multiple people on a daily basis is going to take them away from the task at hand.”

2. Become Adept at Reading Others

Most people prepare for a job interview by practicing their answers to a list of standard interview questions. But what trips most people up in an interview is not the questions, but the interviewer asking them. To truly be ready for an interview, you’ve got to practice your answers to match each of the four different personality styles you may encounter.

Rosenberg offers another example. “If the interviewer is all business, firing off questions at you and never going ‘off script,’ you know that they’re an eagle,” he says. “So if you’re a parrot, talkative and bubbly – and trying too hard to lighten the mood – you’re not going to create a connection with this person.”

You’ve got to be able to read the person who is interviewing you so that you can adjust your style closer to theirs. The better you understand the four personality styles, the easier it becomes to pick up on behavioral cues and figure out what type of person you’re dealing with – so that you can connect with them as quickly as possible and make a strong first impression.

When you meet an eagle, their firm handshape and intense eye contact will immediately give them away. They’re confident and direct and all business from the moment you’re introduced.

A parrot’s body language will be completely different; they’re much more expressive, and they’ll greet you more enthusiastically and come across as more charismatic.

A dove will project a softer energy, offering a warm smile and a gentle handshake. They’ll have a genuineness about them and will go out of their way to make you feel comfortable and welcome.

Finally, an owl will be extremely poised and professional. Though not as assertive as the eagle, they too are all business and their questions will be more matter of fact, as they walk through the meet and greet process.

3. Be Prepared to Tell Stories

Many of us underestimate our background and experience. This is especially true of recent graduates and first time job seekers. But even at 21 or 22 years of age, you’ve got your own lifetime of stories and experience so far. There’s always something in your background you can share that demonstrates you have the knowledge and skills to perform – or learn – the job.

“Don’t get in your own way,” advises Rosenberg. “Even though your story may not have taken place in corporate America, it’s still a valid one to convey who you are and the value you can bring. Prepare and practice your life stories and don’t get caught up in the fact that they took place outside of the workplace. For example, if you trained for a marathon – or even if you just run every day – this conveys a lot about who you are and your personality, i.e., your discipline, commitment, focus and willingness to work hard consistently.”

4. Make Sure You Fit the Culture

Understanding who you are as person and what you want from a job is key to making sure you’re a good fit for the culture of the company. Getting back to the personality types, if you’re an owl, you’ll find it conducive to work in a structured environment with clear processes to follow. But a parrot will be more productive in a looser environment, free to roam outside the lines and reach goals on their own terms.

When you work in a culture that is very different from how you are wired – and a job that doesn’t align with your personality – it drains you. You spend too much time and energy trying to adapt to the culture and make the job fit, and not being authentic to who you really are.

“But if you understand what type of culture you would thrive in,” concludes Rosenberg, “then right from the first interview you can begin asking questions about the culture to make sure it’s a place where you can succeed and even find significance in your career. It goes back to having the self-awareness you need to succeed. When you work in an environment that matches your personality, it energizes you like nothing else can.”


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