By Laura George, The Hot Spot Tanning Salon
How do you select the right new hire when almost every applicant states that they have great customer service skills, are trustworthy, reliable, friendly, and fast learners? You interview them for 10 to 15 minutes; they are on their best behavior and answering your questions by the book. So how do you know who you are really hiring?
About ten years ago I took an assessment designed to measure people’s preferences to how they perceive the world and make decisions, the Myers-Briggs Type indicator® (MTBI®). The assessment was based upon the theory that we all experience the world in four principal psychological functions: sensation, intuition, feeling and thinking.
I was in an academic setting when I took the test and my first reaction was that it was ridiculous. There was no test that could provide insight into who I am, how I think and react, or how I will be perceived by others. After taking the test, the first things I learned about my “type” was that I would be cynical about assessment and its results. As I read on, I realized that my “type” was me in a nutshell. The MBTI test is fairly simple. It asks approximately 70 easy-to-answer questions in order to determine the tester’s preferences. The results provide the four psychological preferences with the level of preference represented as a percentage.
To run a salon, you need a strong sales staff, but you also need worker bees. Most of the staff at out salon are ENFJs (Extravert, Intuitive, Feeling, Judging), also known as “smooth-talking persuuaders.” ENFJs are more attuned to other people’s needs and emotions. They tend to be responsive, responsible, sociable, and try to involve others, often providing leadership.
So what do we gain from knowing an employee’s type? We know that someone who is high percentage Extravert and Feeler will most likely be a talker and gravitate to taking care of clients. They may also allow themselves to get wrapped up in conversations, ignoring cleaning and other duties.
At the moment, our salon is made up of different personality types, but all of us are Judgers to varying degrees. Judgers may sound bad, but it simply means that they have a solid perception of right from wrong, like things to be planned and organized. Perceivers on the other hand are not as black and white, are more flexible and enjoy change but may also be a little scattered.
Also, Judgers do not do well with sudden change, and can have a very cynical or negative reaction. Managers know that change needs to be communicated as early as possible. This dislike for change may also explain why we don’t have a high turnover rate and see the same seasonal staff back every year.
Understanding people’s preferences not only helps us manage, it allows employees a better insight into their coworkers. It has honestly helped employees realize why they communicate better with one employee over another and shows us why we need to work at communication.
If you would like to learn more, there is a free Myers Briggs test available at www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/jtypes2.asp. We have every applicant take the test between their first and second interviews. If you are interested in learning more about managing the different types based on your own personality type, I would suggest the book “Type Talk at Work.” It covers specific issues, such as miscommunication and work approach.