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Big Five Interview Guide

Introduction

This guide can be used with the Traitify Big Five personality questionnaire. The questionnaire is designed to measure a candidate's personality, across five dimensions, in an everyday work context.

The five dimensions, which in psychology research are often called the 'Big Five', are Openness (to new experiences), Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness and Emotional Stability.

These dimensions of personality have been found to have a direct and significant impact on behaviour. For example, Openness is essentially about ideas and problem solving. It focuses on how someone thinks about problems, and particularly, on how receptive they are to new types of information. All of these factors contribute to the way they make decisions and, therefore, to their work style.

In a business or organisational context the five dimensions map directly onto core work competencies. These are Solving Problems (O), Delivering Results (C), Engaging with People (E), Influencing People (A) and Managing Pressure (ES).

The Traitify Big Five questionnaire identifies where someone scores on each of these five dimensions. However it's important to realize that the results from the questionnaire describe general tendencies and what someone is likely to be like at work, based on their own individual personality. In this way the results give an indication of typical behaviour, not what someone will do on every occasion. After-all no one is always just one way, but everyone’s personalities contribute to stable patterns of behaviour.

In order to get the fullest picture, and to validate the questionnaire results, it's important to explore them alongside other sources of information about the candidate’s work behaviour. This is often part of the interview process, which is of course concerned with identifying stable patterns of behaviour: what someone is likely to do, think or feel in a particular situation.

Before you begin, remember:

  • Personality is neither 'good' nor 'bad'. There are potential benefits and 'pitfalls' relating to where-ever someone comes on a personality dimension. For example, being highly people orientated may be useful in some situations, and far less so in others.
  • People develop coping styles. Just because someone appears to have a particular type of personality does not mean that they have not developed ways of managing it. For example, the naturally disorganised person may actually go to great lengths to be more systematic in what they do.

Essentially the job of the personality-related interview is to find out whether someone's personality will help them in their job, and if they have worked out ways of moderating behaviours that might be a problem.

Personality at Work

Solving Problems

At the top level, Solving Problems (O) concerns how someone thinks about work problems, projects and challenges, how receptive they are to new or different information or approaches, and the way this influences their decision making.

The benefits of being open-minded are likely to include approaching problems in original ways, making quick connections, pushing boundaries, seeing the bigger picture, and not getting stuck in the detail. In contrast someone who is pragmatic likes to solve problems in practical ways, and prefers tried-and-tested solutions or established rules and regulations. They are likely to have a fine eye for detail, be results oriented, and able to bring experience to bear on a problem. Those who are a mixture of both (open-minded/pragmatic) are best described as approaching problems in a systematic way, being able to flex between different options, capable of seeing situations at different levels of detail, and as bringing healthy caution to decision making.

These personality characteristics provide the basis for asking a particular sequence of questions of each of the personality 'types'. The first question is looking to confirm what they should be like; the second two explore areas of possible concern.

A. Open-Minded People

To get things going you might like to start with this question:

Question 1:

Tell me how you would go about solving a work problem you have not encountered before.

What are you trying to find out? Do they talk about a number of different ways of approaching the problem? Are their ideas new, original or different in any way? Do they link their suggestions with a broader (maybe more strategic) view of what could be achieved? Generating options, being imaginative, playing with new ideas and taking a long term view should all be aspects of the open-minded character.

And to probe into possible issues with being open-minded:

Question 2:

(Your results suggest you like to think about new ideas and possibilities). Give me an example of a time when you had to be practical and realistic, and work to a fixed set of rules.

What are you trying to find out? How comfortable are they working in a step-by-step manner? Do they seem to find it difficult to focus on the detail and keep their mind on the job? Are they tempted to change things despite there being an established way of doing a task?

Have they developed a coping style? Do they recognise that sometimes the best approach is to use an existing procedure or process? Can they describe how they (proactively) implement sets of rules and regulations? What strategies have they developed to stop their mind wandering off the details?

Question 3:

(Your results suggest you are a future orientated person.) Can you describe a work situation where you realised that you hadn't learnt from a similar situation in the past. What happened and what did you do?

What are you trying to find out? Do they learn from the past? Do they have a tendency to re-invent the wheel? Do they tend to be so busy moving forwards they miss the obvious?

Have they developed a coping style? Do they know they need to 'take five' and think carefully before trying something different? Can they give an example of immediately moving towards a tried-and-tested approach? How do they ensure that they apply the lessons they have learnt in the past?

B. Pragmatic People

To get things moving you might like to start with this question:

Question 1:

Tell me how you would go about solving a typical problem at work.

What are you trying to find out? Do they talk about using well tested and familiar ways of approaching the problem? Is their approach practical and aimed at achieving an immediate result? Do they talk about the here-and-now, and possibly a bit of fine tuning, rather than considering the longer term implications of fixing a problem. Using an established method, pushing towards an obvious solution and bring experience to bear are all aspects of the pragmatic character.

And to probe into possible issues with being pragmatic:

Question 2:

(Your results suggest you like to solve problems using approaches you know work well.) Give me an example of a time when you've had to come up with a completely new way of solving a problem.

What are you trying to find out? How confident are they in generating new ideas? Are they able to make intuitive leaps? Do they tend to default to things they feel comfortable with (rather than take a risk)?

Have they developed a coping style? Do they recognise there may be better ways of doing things? How do they stimulate more creative thinking? Can they describe trying something radically new (radically new for them, that is)?

Question 3:

(Your results suggest you like to work in the here-and-now and are not overly concerned with the future.) Can you describe a work situation where you realised you needed to take a much longer term view of things?

What are you trying to find out? Do they miss the bigger picture? Do they actively avoid looking too far into the future? Is there a preference for the 'known' rather than the 'possible'?

Have they developed a coping style? Do they know they need to contemplate the longer term implications of their actions? Can they provide an example of thinking two, five or ten years hence? What are they doing to tune up their strategic sense (especially in a work context?)

C. Open-Minded/Pragmatic People

To get things going you might like to start with this question:

Question 1:

Tell me how you would go about solving a work problem you have not encountered before.

What are you trying to find out? Do they talk about a number of different ways of approaching the problem? Are their ideas new, original or different in any way? Do they test new ideas against what seems feasible, both now and in the longer term? Producing new ideas but checking their viability, and implementing balanced and timely solutions, are all aspects of the open-minded/pragmatic character.

And to probe into possible issues with being open-minded/pragmatic:

Question 2:

(Your results suggest you like to think about new ideas and possibilities). Give me an example of a time when you had to be practical and realistic, and work to a fixed set of rules.

What are you trying to find out? How comfortable are they working in a step-by-step manner? Is there a tension between this and wanting to try something new? Does this 'conflict' sometimes show itself in taking a very cautious approach?

Have they developed a coping style? Do they recognise that sometimes the best approach is to use an existing procedure, or to be far less cautious and try something radically different? Can they give an example of using either of these extremes? What do they do to stop themselves getting stuck on the 'middle way' of doing things?

Question 3:

(Your results suggest you are a grounded person but also someone who thinks about future possibilities.) Can you describe a work situation where you realised that you hadn't learnt from a similar situation in the past. What happened and what did you do?

What are you trying to find out? Do they sometimes not learn from the past? Do they move on too quickly without consolidating what they have learnt? Do they sometimes override their experience because they think they need to demonstrate original thought?

Have they developed a coping style? Do they know they sometimes confuse knowledge with foresight? Can they provide an example of sticking with experience, and the tried-and-tested, even though they wanted to try something fresh?

Delivering Results

At the top level, Delivering Results (C) concerns work style and how someone directs their efforts and attention toward completing tasks. The level of self-discipline, dedication, orderliness and reliability are all hallmarks of the organised person.

The benefits of being focused are likely to include obvious things like creating a structure for work and being task focused; but also having pride in doing a job well, paying attention over the long term, and being disciplined even when work is routine or 'boring'. In contrast someone who is flexible probably prefers to approach tasks in a dynamic manner, quickly reacting to things as they occur, side-stepping anything that isn't of personal interest, in order to achieve rapid results. Those who are a mixture of both (focused/flexible) are best described as able to focus on the process and the goal, and allocating their energies in a measured way whilst continually reviewing what needs to be done next.

These personality characteristics provide the basis for asking a particular sequence of questions of each of the personality 'types'. The first question is looking to confirm what they should be like; the second two explore areas of possible concern.

A. Focused People

Question 1:

Describe a situation where you needed to work in a highly organised and systematic way.

What are you trying to find out? How content are they working within obvious constraints? What sort of self-organisation skills do they appear to use? How well do they manage working systematically towards a goal (rather than seeing immediate results)? Being at ease with highly structured tasks, paying as much attention at the end of a job as at the beginning, and having obvious techniques for keeping a project on track should all be aspects of the organised character.

And to probe into possible issues with being organised:

Question 2:

(Your results suggest you are a highly organised person.) Tell me about a time when you needed to act quickly at work, without having a plan of action.

What are you trying to find out? How comfortable are they being put on the spot? Do they delay acting because they have no obvious plan of action? Do they start to doubt their abilities because they are unable to plan ahead?

Have they developed a coping style? Do they recognise that sometimes you just have to act? Can they give an illustration of how they have rapidly re-prioritised things in the past? How do they maintain their composure when there is no Plan-B?

Question 3:

(Your results suggest you have a strong desire to achieve and to do a good job.) Talk me through a work situation where you were unable to do your best work. What happened? What got in your way?

What are you trying to find out? How do they deal with a situation where they cannot complete work to their desired standard? What happens when their sense of commitment to a job (or organisation) is frustrated? Does all this knock their confidence?

Have they developed a coping style? Do they realise that it is not always possible to give every job a final polish? Can they give an example of how they keep their desire for 'perfectionism' in check? Generally, have they developed a good sense of what constitutes a task performed 'well enough'?

B. Flexible People

Question 1:

Describe an occasion at work where you needed to react very swiftly to a rapidly moving situation.

What are you trying to find out? Are they able to adapt to situations? Can they change direction of thought (and travel) quickly? Are they able to suspend the need for a plan in order to achieve a rapid solution to a problem? Being able to use a variety of different approaches, pivot and change priorities, and react in 'real time' are all aspects of a flexible character.

And to probe into possible issues with being flexible:

Question 2:

(Your results suggest you are someone who likes to 'do their own thing'.) Describe a work situation where you needed to work closely to someone else's plan.

What are you trying to find out? How do they respond to working to an established plan or process? Do they become critical of the purpose? Do they try and short-circuit parts of the plan in order to achieve their goal?

Have they developed a coping style? Do they see the importance of systematically working towards a common goal? What do they do to keep their need to change things under control? Can they provide an example of taking an existing plan and using it, rather than making a 'plan' up as they go along?

Question 3:

(Your results suggest you tend to avoid work activities you consider unnecessary, repetitive or unpleasant.) Can you describe a time at work when in order to produce your best work you needed to perform a task in a slow and very detailed way?

What are you trying to find out? Are they intolerant of small details? Do they sacrifice quality for speed? Are they continually pushing on even when something needs to be done in a slow, considered and organised manner?

Have they developed a coping style? Do they see that systems, processes and details are important for efficient working? Can they tell you about times when they have focused, laser-like, on a single approach? (Even if they found it tedious!)

C. Focused/Flexible People

Question 1:

Describe a situation where you needed to work in a highly organised and systematic way.

What are you trying to find out? How comfortable are they working within obvious constraints? Do they recognise when some constraints are unnecessary? How well do they manage process and task, and the need to regularly revisit the ordering of tasks? Adopting a 'tight/loose' approach to work and realising the degree of planning that is needed at any given moment, and regularly re-prioritising what needs to be done with an eye on the end goal, are all aspects of the focused/flexible character.

And to probe into possible issues with being focused/flexible:

Question 2:

(Your results suggest you are an organised person.) Tell me about a time when you needed to act quickly at work, without having a plan of action.

What are you trying to find out? Are they slow to decide which way to jump: act immediately or stop and make a plan? Do they spend too long weighing things up? Does the fact they know they can switch between different approaches mean they leave things open for too long?

Have they developed a coping style? Do they recognise they may be slow to select a suitable style or approach? Can they give examples of pivoting between different ways of responding? How do they achieve a balanced approach?

Question 3:

(Your results suggest you need to fully commit to a task to do your best work.) Can you think of a time when you didn't have a sense of ownership and this affected your work? What did it feel like?

What are you trying to find out? Do they manage the energy they put into tasks? Do they hold back if they cannot commit or see the point in doing something? Are they distracted by the fact that they do not feel fully on-board?

Have they developed a coping style? Can they override the need to feel fully invested in a task before giving it their full attention? Can they provide an example of committing without ownership, e.g. completing a task for someone else, or putting all their energy into a task they personally would not have started?

Engaging with People

At the top level, Engaging with People (E) concerns someone’s interest, investment and comfort in developing relationships with others - customers, clients, work groups or colleagues.

The benefits of being extraverted are likely to include being people orientated, approachable, fun loving, energetic, fast to act, and 'full on'. In contrast someone who is introverted probably prefers to work independently, and is more likely to be dispassionate, thoughtful and measured, to think before acting and to stand back. Those who are a mixture of both (extroverted/introverted) are best described as socially skilled, quick to connect, energetic, thoughtful and action orientated, and enthusiastic.

These personality characteristics provide the basis for asking a particular sequence of questions of each of the personality 'types'. The first question is looking to confirm what they should be like; the second two explore areas of possible concern.

A. Extraverted People

To get things going you might like to start with this question:

Question 1:

How would you describe the way in which you deal with new people in a work situation?

What are you trying to find out? How comfortable are they approaching new people (work colleagues, customers etc)? What sort of interpersonal skills do they describe using? How much energy do they invest in trying to connect with other people? Actively approaching other people, using a variety of social skills, and investing energy in activities and relationships, should all be aspects of an extraverted character.

And to probe into possible issues with being extraverted:

Question 2:

(Your results suggest that you like to work with other people.) Tell me about a time when you needed to work quietly by yourself on a lengthy and important task. What were you doing and how did you feel about it?

What are you trying to find out? How comfortable are they working alone? Are they likely to be distracted because they need to be in constant contact with other people? Do they get bored if they have to stick to a task, by themselves, for a long time?

Have they developed a coping style? Do they recognise that working alone is not what they would prefer, but they have a way of dealing with it? Can they describe how they handle working alone? How do they keep themselves on-task?

Question 3:

(Your results suggest that you like to get on with things and may not always think before you act.) Can you describe a work situation where you leapt in too quickly? What did you do? What was the result?

What are you trying to find out? Do they sometimes misjudge situations? Do they always channel their energy in the right direction? Do they tend to think before acting?

Have they developed a coping style? Do they know they might need to reflect more? Can they provide an example of being more reflective? Do they apply their 'thinking before acting' technique consistently?

B. Introverted People

To get things moving you might like to start with this question:

Question 1:

How would you describe the way you approach working by yourself at work?

What are you trying to find out? How content are they working independently? Do they seem to prefer to work through things in their own head? (Before asking anyone else) Do they appear to control the 'access' other people have to them? Being 'self-contained', thoughtful and reflective, and wanting to be in control of how/when people have access to them, should all be aspects of an introverted character.

And to probe into possible issues with being introverted:

Question 2:

(Your results suggest that you like to work by yourself.) Tell me about how you deal with new people in a work situation.

What are you trying to find out? How comfortable are they approaching or working with other people? Are they likely to come across as being a bit cool or detached? Are they likely to concentrate on the task and forget about the other people?

Have they developed a coping style? Do they recognise that working with new people is not what they would prefer, but they have a way of dealing with it? Can they describe this to you? What interpersonal skills do they use?

Question 3:

(Your results suggest that you like to think things through before acting.) Can you describe a work situation where you have 'over-thought' what needed to be done? What was the situation? What was the result?

What are you trying to find out? Do they get stuck in the thinking or analysis 'phase' and find it difficult to move forward? Do they find it hard to act instinctively?

Have they developed a coping style? Do they know they might need to be more proactive? Can they provide an example of being more action orientated? How do they break out of being too much 'inside' their own head?

C. Extraverted/Introverted People

To get things going you might like to start with this question:

Question 1:

How would you describe the way in which you deal with new people in a work situation?

What are you trying to find out? How comfortable are they approaching new people (work colleagues, customers etc)? What sort of interpersonal skills do they describe using? How much energy do they invest in trying to connect with other people? Do they also hint at juggling the need to connect with new people and being able to back off when needed? Being skilled at relationship building, approaching other people but being able to step back when needed, should all be aspects of a person with a balance of extraverted and introverted characteristics.

And to probe into possible issues with being extraverted/introverted:

Question 2:

(Your results suggest that you like to work with other people.) Tell me about a time when you needed to work quietly by yourself on a lengthy and important task. What were you doing and how did you feel about it?

What are you trying to find out? How comfortable are they working alone? Are they likely to be frustrated because they cannot employ their face-to-face social skills? Do they get bored with apparently low energy situations?

Have they developed a coping style? Do they recognise that working completely alone is not what they would prefer, but they have a way of dealing with it? Can they describe how they handle working alone? How do they keep themselves mentally engaged?

Question 3:

(Your results suggest that you like to think things through and then act promptly) Can you describe a work situation where you leapt in too quickly or didn't move quickly enough? What did you do? What was the result?

What are you trying to find out? Do they misjudge situations? Do they sometimes think and are then slow to act, or vice versa? Do they tend to 'sit on the fence'?

Have they developed a coping style? Do they know they sometimes read situations the wrong way? Can they provide an example? How do they decide whether to turn up the social/action orientated side of their character, or turn it down?

Influencing People

At the top level, Influencing People (A) concerns the way someone balances their emotional understanding of other people, and their respect for differing viewpoints, with the style in which they try to influence or negotiate with them.

The benefits of being agreeable are likely to include accommodating other people's points of view, tuning into their particular wavelength, starting from a position of trust, being non-confrontational, and steadily working towards harmonious outcomes. In contrast someone who is independent will probably be questioning and challenge assumptions, will speak their mind, be competitive, and try and influence others in a direct and impersonal manner. Those who are a mixture of both (agreeable/independent) are best described as natural negotiators, as they will take a realistic view of others, but will also adopt a relational style and search for a 'win-win' outcome.

These personality characteristics provide the basis for asking a particular sequence of questions of each of the personality 'types'. The first question is looking to confirm what they should be like; the second two explore areas of possible concern.

A. Agreeable People

To get things going you might like to start with this question:

Question 1:

Tell me how you go about getting your views across at work? (This could be in a team or group, with a work colleague, a customer etc.)

What are you trying to find out? Are they tuned into other people's thoughts and feelings? How accommodating are they? Do they avoid confrontations? What skills do they use to smooth situations over? Putting effort into seeing things from someone else's perspective, keeping feelings under control and looking for common ground, and being the 'peacemaker' should all be aspects of the agreeable character.

And to probe into possible issues with being agreeable:

Question 2:

(Your results suggest that you like to listen, and try to always see things from someone else's perspective.) Tell me about a time when you went along with something at work but it turned out you should have stood your ground.

What are you trying to find out? How comfortable are they saying 'no'? Are they naturally self-effacing or overly compliant? Do other people seem to be able to 'pull the wool over their eyes'?

Have they developed a coping style? Do they recognise that they may need to be more questioning of people's motives? Can they provide an example of having done this? How do they balance their need to trust with the need to be more critical?

Question 3:

(Your results suggest you are the person who likes to keep the peace in any given situation.) Can you describe a work situation, or work project, where you should have just let people get their thoughts off their chest (and maybe spoken your mind yourself)?

What are you trying to find out? How confident are they voicing their thoughts? Do they avoid confrontation at the expense of their own or other people's welfare? Do they realise that it is often necessary to be assertive?

Have they developed a coping style? Do they see that healthy argument is often the way to sort out problems? Have they thought about how they can be more assertive? Can they provide an example?

B. Independent People

To get things started you might like to start with this question:

Question 1:

Tell me how you go about making sure other people at work know where you stand on a particular activity/task/topic? (This could be in a team or group, with a work colleague, a customer etc.)

What are you trying to find out? Do they assert their point of view? Do they freely speak their mind? Do they question and not accept everything at face value? Are they willing to take an unpopular stance? Using their questioning abilities to get to the root of an issue, even if it makes other people uncomfortable, whilst being honest, transparent and dispassionate, should all be aspects of the independent character.

Question 2:

(Your results suggest you can be quite a competitive character.) Tell me a work situation where you found it was necessary to be far more collaborative.

What are you trying to find out? Can they accept working to other people’s rules? Do they value cooperation and see its value? Are they willing to join in on equal terms with other people?

Have they developed a coping style? Do they see that wanting a 'personal win' can be to the detriment of the team or group? Can they give an example of letting someone else take the lead, or make the decisions, even though they thought they were better placed to do it?

Question 3:

(Your results suggest you like to 'do your own thing'.) Tell me about a work situation where this has worked but has also caused some problems.

What are you trying to find out? Do they tend to follow their own agenda? Does this mean they miss important signals from other people? Has this approach damaged working relationships?

Have they developed a coping style? Have they developed a mature appreciation of needing to work cooperatively with other people? What's their best example of this? Do they see that it is sometimes necessary to 'give in' for the good of everyone else?

C. Agreeable/Independent People

To get things going you might like to start with this question:

Question 1:

Tell me how you go about getting your views across at work? (This could be in a team or group, with a work colleague, a customer etc.)

What are you trying to find out? Are they tuned into other people's thoughts and feelings? How accommodating are they? Do they use a realistic but sympathetic style? Do they push their case in an open and sensitive way? Taking people at face value, but not being a pushover, and making their case in a positive way, should all be aspects of the agreeable/independent character.

And to probe into possible issues with being agreeable/independent:

Question 2:

(Your results suggest you feel for other people and deal with them in an understanding but practical manner.) Tell me about a time when you went along with something at work but it turned out you should have been more questioning.

What are you trying to find out? Are they too open-minded and accepting of different opinions? Whilst they recognise that no one is perfect, do they let sympathy get in the way of action? Do they sometimes lose out to more assertive colleagues?

Have they developed a coping style? Do they recognise that it can be important to be more objective and less people-orientated? Can they give an example of being more hard edged? How did this feel?

Question 3:

(Your results suggest you are the person who acts like the 'referee' at work.) Can you describe a work situation, or work project, where you should just have let people confront their differences head-on?

What are you trying to find out? Do they sometimes intervene when it is not needed? Do they over-manage the people side of situations? Do they let their desire for harmony get in the way of people properly 'clearing the air'?

Have they developed a coping style? Can they see that sometimes a hands-off style is needed? Can they give an example of recognising that some people will never be friends but are able to work together?

Managing Pressure

At the top level, Managing Pressure (ES) concerns the manner in which someone deals with pressure, and the way in which they control their emotions and underlying tension in order to stay on task and cope with everyday challenges.

The benefits of being resilient are likely to include remaining calm in difficult situations, quickly getting over criticism, keeping feelings under control, and not being easily discouraged. In contrast someone who is reflexive will probably be more of a worrier, but also highly tuned in to the world; likely to take things to heart but be able to use tension to drive their work forward. They are also likely to be attuned to other people's emotional states. Those who are a mixture of both (resilient/reflexive) are best described as even tempered but responsive, realistic about criticism, able to actively manage their feelings, and to cope with most eventualities.

These personality characteristics provide the basis for asking a particular sequence of questions of each of the personality 'types'. The first question is looking to confirm what they should be like; the second two explore areas of possible concern.

A. Resilient People

To get things going you might like to start with this question:

Question 1:

Tell me about dealing with a highly pressured and difficult work situation.

What are you trying to find out? Do they remain calm and able to function well? Do they stay positive? When a situation has passed, do they move on rather than dwell on what has happened? Being able to respond to pressure calmly and without over-reacting, whilst retaining direction and determination, and 'letting things go', should all be aspects of the resilient character.

And to probe into possible issues with being resilient:

Question 2:

(Your results suggest you come over as a very composed person.) Describe a time at work when being composed has not acted in your favour.

What are you trying to find out? Does their calm style mean that they do not always recognise the urgency of a situation (and react quickly enough)? Does the person's ability to keep their feelings in check mean they are difficult to read? Are they seen as rather detached, or even indifferent?

Have they developed a coping style? Do they realise that other people may need to see/hear how they actually feel about something? Have they worked out a way of recognising when immediate action is required? Can they give an example?

Question 3:

(Your results suggest you can let things go and get on with life.) Can you think of a time when you should have responded more actively to something like a negative comment?

What are you trying to find out? Do they take negative criticisms or comments on board? Do they recognise why they have been made. Do they learn from their mistakes?

Have they developed a coping style? Do they realise that there is a fine line between ignoring something and recognising its value as a learning opportunity? What techniques have they developed to elicit feedback from others? Can they give an illustration of readily changing their approach after a particularly stinging criticism?

B. Reflexive People

Question 1:

Tell me about dealing with a highly pressured and difficult work situation.

What are you trying to find out? Do they feel anxious or even want to 'escape'? However, are they able to use the tension they feel in a positive way to get stuff done? Are they sensitive and supportive to other people who find similar situations difficult? Being sensitive to pressure, but hopefully using it in a constructive way, and being aware of the emotional charge in a situation, are all aspects of the reflexive character.

And to probe into possible issues with being reflexive:

Question 2:

(Your results suggest you can come across as a rather indecisive person.) Tell me about a time at work when appearing indecisive has not acted in your favour.

What are you trying to find out? Are they seen as a rather changeable and unpredictable person? Do they find it difficult to settle on something (maybe because they are overly sensitive to what is going on in the world around them)? Are they seen as an inconsistent colleague?

Have they developed a coping style? Are they aware of being swayed by events, however small? What sort of coping mechanisms have they learnt? Can they give an example of actively managing their emotions?

Question 3:

(Your results suggest you wear your feelings on your sleeve.) Can you think of a time at work when you should have kept your feelings to yourself?

What are you trying to find out? Do they have a tendency to over-share negative feelings with their colleagues? Do they sometimes let their emotions get the better of them? Are they able to regulate their emotions if they need to?

Have they developed a coping style? Do they see there are times when everyone needs to be cool, calm and collected? Have they developed an early warning system that tells then when they are likely to be unable to cope? How does this work? When have they used it?

C. Resilient/Reflexive People

To get things going you might like to start with this question:

Question 1:

Tell me about dealing with a highly pressured and difficult work situation.

What are you trying to find out? Do they appear to respond with the appropriate level of concern? Are they able to deal with things in a calm and upbeat way? Do they keep their feelings under control? Reacting to situations in a proportionate way, but keeping an eye on what might change, and having a predictably reliable and controlled manner, should all be aspects of the resilient/reflexive character.

And to probe into possible issues with being resilient/reflexive:

Question 2:

(Your results suggest you come over as an even-tempered person.) Describe a time at work when being even-tempered has not acted in your favour.

What are you trying to find out? Does their dependable (emotional) style mean they do not show their true feelings? Do they sometimes seem a bit unconcerned or unresponsive? Are they slow to rouse, whatever the situation?

Have they developed a coping style? Do they realise that other people may need to see/hear, rather more frequently, how they actually feel about something? Have they worked out a way of increasing their energy level when needed?

Question 3:

(Your results suggest you do not let personal criticism interfere with your work.) Can you think of a time when you should have responded more actively to something like a negative comment?

What are you trying to find out? Do they take well-meant criticism or feedback seriously enough? Do they seek or avoid feedback? Do they see comments, even negative or critical ones, as a way of helping them to improve at work?

Have they developed a coping style? Do they fully acknowledge that feedback can be useful comment rather than personal criticism? Can they provide an example of immediately acting on feedback from someone else - even though it was difficult to accept?

 

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