The benefits of profiling your team

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Team contribution by Carmen Botes, Crayon's Ops Crayon...


"To know thyself is the beginning of wisdom."


Would you believe me if I said that it took me days to come up with that opening sentence? Ridiculous, right? It's not even my own idea—It's one of the most cliched quotes by a guy who has been dead for over 2,000 years. But as it turns out, Socrates was right.


When the Chief Crayon asked me how this blog was coming along and I told him I was still struggling with the opening sentence, he immediately responded, "You're probably battling with an intro sentence because you're a Thinker." Ain't that the truth? I've always known that I tend to (over)think about pretty much everything in life and work, but when I first got the results of my Crayon personality profile, the conspiracy theories about the government (and apparently Crayon) spying on us weren't so far-fetched.


But more important than me knowing my personality, the fact that the people I work with know my personality and traits allows us to bring out the best in each other. As soon as someone else highlighted that I'm a Thinker, it made me take a step back and reevaluate why I was struggling so much to do something I've done hundreds, if not thousands of times before.


Cool story, but what does that have to do with anything?


Often when we're chatting to hiring managers or business owners about the type of candidate they're looking for, they list qualifications, experience, or types of people they don't want based on past nightmare experiences, but they might not always have given much thought to the kind of personality they do want in a candidate. 


As is evident in my overthinking, Ivan* in IT's shyness, or Annie* in Accounts' oversharing, personality is a major driving force behind attitudes, behaviour, and habits and can therefore be used as a strong predictor of job success. Understanding our own and others' personality quirks us to make decisions and communicate in a way that considers what works best for individuals and the broader team. It allowed our Chief Crayon to build a team where every person is placed in the role that suits them best, ensuring that we perform to the best of our abilities as individuals and a company, and pushing me to finally finish this blog.


Think about it, when you're hiring for a position in advertising, you're probably looking for a Don Draper type, or whoever is in charge of Nando's slogans. But Don probably won't fare too well if you hire him as an accountant and put him alone in an office with Excel spreadsheets to slog through (and that’s not just because computers weren't widespread yet in the 60s). And at the same time, you're also hiring to complement your current team, or to disrupt the status quo and introduce some fresh thinking.


Profiling allows you to identify your baseline starting point, and from there, you can design your next employee from the ground up! When it comes to baseline personality profiling, it's crucial to keep in mind that there are no right or wrong personality types or good or bad combinations. Rather it's about relating the specific personalities to the jobs or positions they'd be best suited to.


Personality profiling as part of recruitment allows you to tailor interview questions to get a feel for a candidate’s strengths and weaknesses and find out how they would handle certain workplace situations, so you don't have any unexpected surprises down the road


For example, if some part of a candidate's personality doesn't align with the role, instead of dismissing the candidate as a non-starter immediately, personality profiling allows the interviewer to instead find out how they would approach these challenges and whether any of their other strengths can help them overcome them.


It’s important to keep in mind that the best teams are diverse. The Crayons in our box are all different colours and complement each other. The introverts and overthinkers sometimes need socialisers and risk-takers to help them push their boundaries, while the Chatty Cathys sometimes need the more reserved and severe thinkers to draw in the reins. In the same vein, our approach to hiring is also not just focused on personality but incorporates it as part of a holistic approach along with grit, social media, active sourcing, and good old-fashioned hard work and determination.


Ultimately, no one wants a box where all the crayons are the same colour (unless you're going through your blue period), and the best art comes from understanding how colours can complement each other to create something unique (ok, we're done with the metaphors now).


Book a chat with us, and we'll work with you to conduct a free baseline personality assessment of your team so you can also play together nicely.


*Names and job titles changed for privacy (and because they're made up)