How HR can Leverage Personality Tools Effectively

Using Insights from Human Design, Enneagram, and MBTI

When helping businesspeople assess needs or understand business problems, the question of team composition invariably arises.

We should all be focused on surrounding ourselves with people who are better than us. Done right our teams will learn from each other and help develop each other’s strongest attributes and skills. This type of behavior is intrinsic to building a successful team in any environment. 

When HR contemplates developing a team that drives innovation, collaboration, and success, it needs to ensure balance. Using tools is a necessary element in building any matrix. While all such tools are imperfect, if used appropriately, they can provide helpful insights to HR when hiring and developing talent.. Lately, I’ve been looking into insights from Human Design, Enneagram, MBTI, and other assessment tools, and while all such tools are imperfect, they can provide HR with helpful insights when hiring and developing talent.

Whether you are building a company or transforming it, one of the most important hires you will make is your head of “People Operations,” which is a more expansive role than Human Resources (HR). People operations guide HR with strategic human capital planning that looks years ahead. Their assessments are incredibly proactive and help shape the company culture and even focus years ahead by aligning strategic plans by foreseeing market shifts and planning for the company to have the right staff in place, learning the ropes to succeed.

With a direction established, Human Resources (HR) teams take the tactical steps required to assemble diverse and well-balanced teams to execute the strategic vision and mission.  There are a myriad of factors that HR teams look at, many of which are covered in my book “Assholes Matter.”  Ideally, HR will hire people not just based on skills, but attitude and cultural fit as well.  Success will be driven more by attitude and soft skills than by hard skills. For most roles, the functional skills required to succeed can be learned, but the right attitude cannot be taught.  Attitude can be developed, but the seeds need to be present for that to occur.

When HR is contemplating how to build a team that can drive innovation, collaboration, and success, they need to ensure balance. Using a combination of tools to assist them in discovering what they need to know to feel comfortable making decisions is never wrong. Using any tools properly must be the key element in building any matrix.

Practical Strategies for Balancing Hiring Teams

  • Assessing Existing Team Dynamics: Before making new hires, HR should assess the current team’s strengths, weaknesses, and dynamics using personality tools. This understanding will guide the selection of new team members to fill gaps and enhance overall effectiveness.
  • Creating Diverse Interview Panels: When conducting interviews, HR should assemble diverse interview panels that represent a variety of personality types and perspectives. This ensures a comprehensive evaluation of candidates and reduces bias in the selection process.
  • Encouraging Collaboration and Feedback: HR should promote a culture of collaboration and feedback within hiring teams. Encouraging open communication and constructive feedback helps team members understand and appreciate each other’s strengths and differences.
  • Offering Training and Development: HR can provide training and development opportunities focused on interpersonal skills, communication styles, and conflict resolution. This equips hiring teams with the tools they need to work cohesively and effectively.
  • Regular Team Assessments: Periodic assessments using personality tools can help HR track team dynamics, identify areas for improvement, and make necessary adjustments to maintain balance and productivity.

In the past, when most people worked together in offices, HR teams had simpler challenges when considering how to build the right teams. Today, as a result of lowered rates of personal interaction, HR professionals need to augment their datasets to offset the lack of interpersonal interactions that they would normally use to help them assess a candidate. Many are turning to personality assessment tools like Human Design, Enneagram, and Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) to gain insights into candidates and create more harmonious and effective hiring teams. 

In this article, we will explore how HR teams can leverage these tools to balance their hiring teams effectively.

Understanding Human Design

Human Design is a unique system that combines elements of astrology, the I Ching, Kabbalah, and the chakra system to create a comprehensive profile of an individual’s personality. It categorizes individuals into five types: Manifestors, Generators, Projectors, Reflectors, and Manifesting Generators, each with specific characteristics and traits.

Using Human Design in HR assessments can offer unique insights into individuals’ personalities and how they interact within a team or organizational context. However, like any assessment tool, Human Design has its pros and cons that HR professionals should consider.

Pros of Using Human Design in HR Assessments:

  • Holistic Understanding: Human Design provides a holistic view of an individual’s personality, incorporating elements of astrology, the I Ching, Kabbalah, and the chakra system. This comprehensive approach can offer deeper insights than traditional personality assessments.
  • Unique Typing System: Human Design categorizes individuals into five types (Manifestors, Generators, Projectors, Reflectors, and Manifesting Generators) with specific characteristics and traits. This unique typing system allows HR professionals to tailor their approach to recruitment, team building, and talent development.
  • Team Dynamics: Understanding Human Design types can help HR teams assess and optimize team dynamics by ensuring a balance of leadership styles, collaborative abilities, and communication preferences within teams.
  • Personal Growth: Human Design insights can contribute to personal growth and self-awareness among employees. By understanding their Human Design type, individuals can leverage their strengths, navigate challenges, and improve their interpersonal relationships.
  • Innovative Approach: Incorporating Human Design into HR assessments demonstrates an innovative and forward-thinking approach to talent management. It can enhance the organization’s ability to attract, retain, and develop top talent.

Cons of Using Human Design in HR Assessments:

  • Complexity: Human Design is a complex system that may be challenging for some individuals to understand or accept. HR professionals must ensure proper training and education on Human Design to avoid confusion or misinterpretation of results.
  • Subjectivity: Interpretation of Human Design results can be subjective, relying on the expertise and understanding of the assessor. This subjectivity may lead to inconsistencies in assessments across different HR professionals.
  • Limited Research: Compared to established personality assessment tools like MBTI or Big Five, Human Design lacks extensive scientific research and validation. This can raise questions about its reliability and validity in predicting job performance or behavior.
  • Integration with Existing Systems: Integrating Human Design into existing HR systems and processes may require additional effort and resources. HR teams need to ensure seamless integration and alignment with other assessment tools and practices.
  • Potential Bias: As with any assessment tool, there is a risk of bias in interpreting Human Design results. HR professionals must be mindful of biases related to age, gender, cultural background, or personal beliefs that could influence their assessment.
  • Legal and Ethical Considerations: HR teams must consider legal and ethical implications when using Human Design in assessments, ensuring compliance with privacy regulations and avoiding discriminatory practices.

HR teams can use Human Design insights to understand how individuals operate in a team setting. For example, Manifestors are natural leaders but may prefer working independently, while Generators thrive in collaborative environments and excel at executing tasks. By knowing these preferences, HR can balance hiring teams by ensuring a mix of leadership styles and collaborative abilities.

While Human Design offers intriguing insights into personality dynamics and team interactions, HR professionals should approach its use with caution and awareness of its limitations. Integrating Human Design into HR assessments can be beneficial for fostering personal growth, optimizing team dynamics, and promoting innovation, but it requires careful implementation, ongoing evaluation, and a balanced approach alongside established assessment practices.

Harnessing the Power of Enneagram in HR Assessments

The Enneagram is a personality typing system that identifies nine interconnected personality types, each with its motivations, fears, and behaviors. These types offer deep insights into how individuals perceive the world, interact with others, and approach tasks and challenges.

Using Enneagrams in HR assessments for hiring can provide valuable insights into candidates’ motivations, behaviors, and personality traits. However, there are both pros and cons to consider when incorporating Enneagrams into the hiring process.

Pros of Using Enneagrams in HR Assessments for Hiring:

  • In-Depth Understanding: Enneagrams offer a deep understanding of individuals’ core motivations, fears, and behaviors, allowing HR professionals to assess candidates beyond surface-level qualifications.
  • Behavioral Patterns: Enneagrams identify nine interconnected personality types, each with distinct behavioral patterns and tendencies. This information helps HR teams predict how candidates may respond to challenges, collaborate with others, and contribute to the organization.
  • Cultural Fit: Enneagrams can assist in evaluating candidates’ cultural fit within the organization by assessing their values, communication styles, and approaches to teamwork and leadership.
  • Conflict Resolution: HR professionals can use Enneagrams to anticipate potential conflicts and develop strategies for conflict resolution and team harmony. Understanding each Enneagram type’s strengths and weaknesses promotes effective communication and collaboration.
  • Personal Development: Enneagrams provide a framework for personal development and growth. HR teams can support employees’ professional development by leveraging Enneagram insights to identify areas for improvement and skill enhancement.

Cons of Using Enneagrams in HR Assessments for Hiring:

  • Subjectivity: Interpretation of Enneagram results can be subjective and influenced by the assessor’s biases or limited understanding of the system. This subjectivity may lead to inconsistencies in assessments.
  • Complexity: Enneagrams are a complex system that requires expertise and training to interpret accurately. HR professionals must invest time and resources in understanding Enneagram types and their implications for hiring decisions.
  • Limited Predictive Validity: While Enneagrams provide valuable insights into personality dynamics, their predictive validity in terms of job performance or success in a specific role may be limited compared to established assessment tools.
  • Overemphasis on Typing: Focusing too much on Enneagram typing during the hiring process may overshadow other important factors such as skills, experience, and cultural fit. HR teams should use Enneagrams as one of several assessment tools rather than the sole determinant of hiring decisions.
  • Potential for Misinterpretation: Misinterpretation of Enneagram types or stereotyping based on type assumptions can lead to misunderstandings and misalignment between candidates’ actual capabilities and perceived traits.
  • Legal and Ethical Considerations: HR professionals must ensure that the use of Enneagrams in hiring assessments complies with legal and ethical guidelines, including avoiding discrimination and maintaining candidate privacy.

HR teams can use the Enneagram to balance hiring teams by considering the strengths and weaknesses of each type. For instance, Type 1 (The Perfectionist) brings attention to detail and high standards, while Type 7 (The Enthusiast) brings creativity and optimism. By including a variety of Enneagram types in a hiring team, HR ensures a diverse range of perspectives and approaches to problem-solving.

Enneagrams can be a valuable tool in HR assessments for hiring, providing insights into candidates’ motivations, behaviors, and potential fit within the organization. However, HR teams should approach their use with caution, addressing potential limitations such as subjectivity, complexity, and limited predictive validity. Integrating Enneagrams alongside other assessment methods and considering candidates’ holistic qualifications ensures a balanced and effective hiring process.

Leveraging MBTI for Team Dynamics

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is perhaps the most well-known personality assessment tool, categorizing individuals into 16 personality types based on their preferences in four key areas: extraversion/introversion, sensing/intuition, thinking/feeling, and judging/perceiving.

Using the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) in HR assessments for hiring has both advantages and disadvantages. Let’s explore the pros and cons of incorporating MBTI into the hiring process:

Pros of Using MBTI in HR Assessments for Hiring:

  • Insight into Personality Traits: MBTI categorizes individuals into 16 personality types based on preferences in four key areas: extraversion/introversion, sensing/intuition, thinking/feeling, and judging/perceiving. This provides HR professionals with valuable insights into candidates’ personality traits, communication styles, and work preferences.
  • Career Alignment: MBTI results can help match candidates with roles that align with their personality strengths and preferences. This alignment enhances job satisfaction, performance, and long-term retention within the organization.
  • Team Dynamics: Understanding MBTI types allows HR teams to assess and optimize team dynamics by ensuring a balance of personality traits and complementary skills within teams. This leads to improved collaboration, communication, and productivity.
  • Conflict Resolution: MBTI insights facilitate effective conflict resolution by helping individuals understand and appreciate differences in communication and decision-making styles. This reduces misunderstandings and promotes positive interactions within the team.
  • Professional Development: HR professionals can use MBTI results to tailor training and development programs to individuals’ unique learning styles and preferences. This personalized approach enhances employees’ growth and skills development.

Cons of Using MBTI in HR Assessments for Hiring:

  • Limited Predictive Validity: Critics argue that MBTI lacks strong predictive validity in terms of job performance or success in specific roles. The correlation between MBTI types and job-related outcomes is often questioned, leading to concerns about its reliability as a hiring tool.
  • Simplistic Categorization: MBTI’s classification into 16 personality types may oversimplify the complexity of human personality, leading to stereotyping and generalizations. This can result in candidates being pigeonholed into categories that do not fully capture their capabilities and potential.
  • Subjectivity and Bias: Interpretation of MBTI results can be subjective and influenced by the assessor’s biases or preconceptions about certain personality types. This subjectivity may introduce bias into hiring decisions and assessments.
  • Cultural and Contextual Variations: MBTI may not account for cultural or contextual variations in personality expression and preferences. Its applicability across diverse populations and global settings may be limited, requiring careful consideration of cultural nuances.
  • Ethical Considerations: HR professionals must ensure ethical use of MBTI in hiring assessments, including obtaining informed consent from candidates, maintaining confidentiality of results, and avoiding discriminatory practices based on personality type.

HR teams can use MBTI insights to balance hiring teams by considering how different personality types complement each other. For example, a team with a mix of extroverts and introverts can benefit from a balance of energetic communication styles and reflective decision-making processes. Likewise, pairing individuals with different thinking and feeling preferences can lead to well-rounded discussions and decision-making.

While MBTI can provide valuable insights into candidates’ personality traits and preferences, HR professionals should approach its use in hiring assessments with caution. Considering the limitations such as limited predictive validity, oversimplification, subjectivity, and cultural variations, MBTI should be used as one of several assessment tools in a holistic hiring process. Integrating MBTI results with other factors such as skills, experience, cultural fit, and job requirements ensures a comprehensive and effective approach to hiring decisions.

Balancing Tools to Ensure Objectivity

Human Resources teams face complex challenges when building well-balanced, high-performing teams to drive innovation, collaboration, and success. To achieve this goal and gain deeper insights into candidates’ personalities, motivations, and potential fit within the organization, tools become necessary to guarantee objectivity.

None of these tools are going to help you fulfill a complete and authentic assessment. But they assist you in asking the right questions as you assess people. By balancing the tools, you can more quickly focus on the appropriate behavioral questions to assess suitability. It’s easy to test a software developer by asking them to code, and it’s also straightforward for them to give you canned responses to typical questions.  However, by utilizing tools like Human Design, Enneagrams, and MBTI, you open the door to asking questions you know they will find thought-provoking and natural. While each of the tools listed offers unique perspectives on individual traits and team dynamics, relying solely on any one assessment can lead to biased or incomplete hiring decisions. Human Design provides a comprehensive view of personality by combining various elements, but limited research may raise questions about its reliability. Enneagrams offer valuable insights into candidates’ core motivations and behavioral patterns, but their subjective interpretation and potential for misinterpretation by subjective readers will require careful consideration. Finally, MBTI, despite its popularity, has been criticized for its limited predictive validity and oversimplification of personality traits.

I often counsel others through this process, as finding the right level of engagement with a candidate solicits a more natural conversation during the interview process. If you set the stage properly, how effectively people communicate with you during a stressful period will provide you with better insights into their attitude and suitability and their capacity to train others. If you can manage the interview in a way that allows the individual to demonstrate their true personalities, then you will learn more just by observing them than you would ever manage from standardized questions.

To identify the right candidates for roles and create well-rounded teams, HR teams must balance the insights gained from these tools with a range of factors beyond personality assessments, such as competence in the necessary skills to fulfill the role, work and life experiences, cultural fit, and job requirements. In doing so, HR professionals can make more informed hiring decisions that align with the organization’s strategic goals and values.

HR teams must exercise caution when using the tools listed above and balance their findings within a comprehensive, holistic hiring process. By leveraging the unique perspectives offered by these tools and considering factors beyond personality, HR professionals can identify the right candidates for roles, build high-performing teams, and drive organizational success in an ever-evolving business landscape.

By understanding the interplay between different personality types, communication styles, and decision-making processes, HR will ensure roles are filled with strong candidates while they foster a culture of collaboration, adaptability, and innovation within the organization.