A critical detail is missing from most discussions of who to hire. The companies who consider it have a competitive advantage (and happier teams). Want to know what it is?

Most open job postings specify the experience required, academic background expected, or software proficiencies needed to be a good fit for the role. 

But what if that’s missing a critical detail? What if one of the best predictors of a candidate’s fit is their temperament?

We think it is and have now worked with dozens of companies who agree. (In fact, many now use the digital “What’s My Temperament?” assessment as part of their hiring process.) 

Knowing a candidate’s temperament can tell you:

  • Whether they are task- or people-oriented.
    Will they thrive in collaborative settings or work best as an individual contributor?
  • How analytical, creative, or detailed they may be. 

Are they gifted at spotting and solving potential problems? Are they wired for adventure? Can they tolerate risk?

  • Whether they process internally or externally.
    Will they add words and energy to team meetings? Will they need time and space to formulate their thoughts?
  • How they typically approach projects.
    Are they slow to start or quick to get busy? Do they delegate? Procrastinate? Do deadlines overwhelm them or invigorate them?
  • What kind of fit they might be with their manager and the rest of the team.
    Will their enthusiasm exhaust others? Will their insecurity be draining for their boss? Will they be cautious and quiet at first or confident and brash?

Deeply understanding each of the four temperaments is the best way to gauge which one(s) might be right for a role, but here’s a quick cheat sheet to jumpstart your thinking. 

YELLOW candidates… 

  • Are good fits for roles that require relationship-building. 
  • Have energy and enthusiasm for days and know how to turn on the charm. 
  • Struggle with details and repetitive tasks and often move on when things get boring.
  • Process externally (i.e., they think by speaking), so they have a tendency to hog airtime in meetings.    
  • Can appear scatter-brained but more often than not, come through in the clutch.
  • Are optimistic, creative thinkers who are undaunted by big challenges.

RED candidates… 

  • Are visionary leaders who can instantly see the path (and make a plan) for getting from A to B. 
  • Prize efficiency and produce output. They are doers!
  • Thrive with autonomy (especially around decision-making) and will bristle at being micro-managed. 
  • Struggle to soften their words, slow their pace, and moderate their expectations of others. 
  • Are resourceful and determined when facing setbacks, delays, or daunting challenges. 
  • Know how to inspire and engage others toward a common goal. 

BLUE candidates…

  • Are uniquely gifted at spotting and solving potential problems. 
  • Thrive in roles that require detailed, focused, precise work.
  • Finish what they start and hold themselves to very high standards along the way.
  • Struggle to get started without all the details or when they are unsure of themselves or the best way forward.
  • Approach others cautiously but are deeply loyal once trust has been established. 
  • Process internally and often need time and space to gather their thoughts. 

GREEN candidates…

  • Are good fits for supporting roles where their people skills can be leveraged.
  • Stay calm and kind in the midst of chaos, are often unbothered in stressful scenarios.
  • Typically meet deadlines but may procrastinate on getting started until the eleventh hour.
  • Avoid drama, stay out of office politics, and can see both sides and compromise.
  • Hesitate to jump into discussions or offer their opinion unless they are explicitly asked.
  • Are easygoing and relaxed (sometimes to the point of appearing detached). 

Knowing a candidate’s temperament gives you insight into the strengths and weaknesses they’ll bring to the job, but perhaps more importantly, gives you a glance into how they’ll fit your team’s culture and mesh with their colleagues. The most effective, efficient, harmonious teams have a balance of temperaments, with each team member in a role they are wired to do well.

Leave a Comment