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Personality Profiling

What is personality profiling?

Personality profiling – sometimes referred to as psychometric testing or psychological profiling – is a means of measuring an individual’s personality in a particular situation. It is not a measure of intelligence or ability – but of behaviour.

Profiling provides a snapshot view of the preferred behaviour that comes subconsciously to most people. This is the behaviour with which they are ‘comfortable’ and can sustain for long periods of time. This behaviour is social and intellectual – not physical.

The means by which this behaviour is measured is a questionnaire which asks the visitor to choose behaviour most and least like them. The results from this questionnaire provide a personality profile of the respondent.

The questionnaire is not a test – as there can be no right or wrong answer to psychological type. It is an evaluation of the individual’s habitual or typical way of dealing with the world.

There are as many definitions of ‘personality’ as there are famous psychologists, however, one very notable pioneer in this field was Swiss psychologist Carl Gustav Jung. His theories are widely used in the corporate testing arena and underpin the PeopleMaps personality profiler.

Profiling in practice

People are complex. The environment and other people can influence behaviour change on a regular basis. Behaviour has reasons, not causes – and if we understand the reasons why, we become increasingly empowered.

Psychological type gives a snap shot of the preferred behaviour that comes almost unconsciously to most people. This is the behaviour that they are comfortable with and can sustain for long periods of time.

It is worth noting that people can be versatile and can change, as the behaviour they are comfortable with will almost certainly not be suitable for every eventuality. People are often asked to “think and act outside the box” – in these situations they need to be confident that they can do this.

People are versatile

We all have the ability to access the range of Jung’s bi-polar scales. If our preferred attitude is for introversion we need to be aware that if extraversion is called for we can use this too. We will be less comfortable using it, as we have had less practice – and because of this we will possibly be slower, as we need to think about what we do rather than do it on automatic pilot. This may be a hidden blessing.

If we normally write with our right hand and injured this hand in an accident, we would be required to learn how to write with the left hand. This would be uncomfortable and slow until we did it often enough for it to become as automatic as using our preferred hand. It is exactly the same with the bi-polar scales – we have the ability to use the range but our preference for one/our way will make us lazy about learning another until forced into it.

If we brought this thought with us to team working we would discover that we were a whole lot more adaptable than we originally thought. Not only adaptable – but we could put ourselves in the other person’s shoes more easily and try them on for size. It would not be quick but it could be done, and with some great results ensuing.

The benefits of profiling

Human behaviour is probabilistic not deterministic. Using the profiles may tell us how people will probably respond to their environment. It will also help with the individual’s development, choice of job role and their best fit within the environment. It provides a starting point or compass to get the best out of a most expensive and valuable resource.

One of the greatest benefits in using profiling is surely that of development and team working. It provides a useful aid for recruitment when used as part of an overall process, but it is worth noting that twenty five percent of the recruitment process should be underpinned by a psychological profile – the other seventy five percent should be made up of interview, past experience/CV and qualifications.

The psychological profile designed by Peoplemaps was primarily for the purpose of development. The original target market was individuals who were trying to gain better self-understanding, to identify the career that would give them greatest satisfaction, and to help them promote their strengths and work on their weaknesses.

Organisations are looking for exactly the same information about the people they employ. Vast sums of money are spent on development but very little of it is targeted uniquely to an individual’s greatest needs. By providing a profile that acts as a compass identifying how best to understand each individual, employers will be able to target more cost effectively and provide solutions that will help satisfy and retain their employees.

But psychological profiling need not be limited to career applications – and with the PeopleMaps Personality Power Widget it isn’t! Our library of personality content covers a full range of behaviour that is influenced by personality. From subjects like being cut up in traffic, to your approach to gardening – you can be sure we’ve got it covered.