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How to attract and assess Defender (ISFJ) candidates during the hiring process


ISFJ personality types (Defenders) are dedicated and hard working, and when letting their strengths shine, they make great team-players and employees. 

Roles with clear expectations and lots of structure are great for Defenders. But some of their other traits – like their propensity to take on too heavy of a workload – could lead them to burnout, overwhelm, and frustration in the workplace. 

In this article, we go over why Defenders are a great asset to the workplace and how you can attract them during recruitment. We’ll also cover how you can use assessments in addition to personality tests to assess their fit for your open role.

ISFJ Candidates: Key strengths, limitations, and personality traits 

In the 16 personalities framework, ISFJ stands for introverted, sensing, feeling, and judging. ISFJs are known as “Defenders” or “Nurturers” because of their interest in protecting and helping others.  Even though Defenders fall into the introverted category, they’re usually very social and great at making connections. 

When ISFJs are well-supported, they often produce high-quality work, work well on a team, and are great at maintaining relationships. They’re supportive, loyal, and thoughtful and typically prioritize others’ needs over their own. 

Key strengths of ISFJ types: 

  • Detail-oriented: ISFJs pay attention to small details that others might miss. They’re meticulous and precise. 

  • Hard working: Defenders are highly likely to go above and beyond and take on extra responsibilities. 

  • Reliable: They’re reliable and responsible individuals you can count on to fulfill their duties and meet deadlines.

  • Collaborative: They value teamwork and work well with others, contributing positively to group dynamics and fostering a sense of team unity.

  • Service-oriented: ISFJs are naturally inclined to help others. They find fulfillment in roles that enable them to provide support, assistance, and care to individuals or communities.

Limitations of ISFJ types:

  • Resistance to change: ISFJs may resist change, preferring routine and stability. This makes adapting quickly to new situations or environments challenging for them.

  • Difficulty saying "no": ISFJs may struggle to decline requests – even if this means taking on more than they can handle. This desire to help others can lead to overcommitment and stress.

  • Perfectionism: ISFJs tend to set unrealistically high standards for themselves and others, which can lead to frustration when expectations aren’t met. This can also lead to them spending more time than needed on assigned tasks. 

What ISFJ applicants look for in a workplace 

Dedicated and practical, ISFJs are often great candidates, particularly for jobs that involve working closely with others and require high levels of detail and organization.

Understanding how this personality type fits into the workplace can help you attract Defender applicants. Here’s what they look for in their workplaces.

Structured environment  

With their resistance to change, ISFJs like a workplace with routine and structure. They like consistency and predictable working conditions. Also, they appreciate roles with stability where they can feel secure and plan for the future. 

Employers looking to attract Defenders should emphasize the structured and stable nature of their work environments in job descriptions and interviews.

Clear expectations 

Clear communication and well-defined expectations are important for ISFJs. They prefer knowing what employers expect of them. Fully outlining the role and responsibilities in your job description can help Defenders feel more confident applying to your open roles. 

On the job, they appreciate well-documented processes and clearly outlined procedures. 

Opportunities for collaboration 

Defenders are social and great at making connections. They’re generally team players who value cooperation and harmony. They work well in environments that encourage teamwork.

Consider using your website to showcase a workplace culture that values harmony, social connections, and group efforts to attract these candidates. 

Sense of purpose 

Defenders are motivated by helping others or contributing to a bigger picture, and they like to feel their work has a sense of purpose. Having a clear and meaningful company mission statement that embodies a corporate purpose – and showing ISFJs the impact that they make at your company – can motivate and excite them. 

Recognition and feedback

ISFJs are deeply invested in their work and appreciate recognition for their efforts. Regular positive feedback can help boost their motivation. To attract ISFJ candidates, use your hiring materials to highlight your company's practice of acknowledging and appreciating employees' contributions. 

How to assess ISFJ type candidates 

Knowing the personality type of your candidates can help you understand how they might fit into your team and contribute to the workplace dynamic. But employers shouldn’t rely on personality assessments alone, as this can lead to bias: favoring or discounting candidates solely because of their personality test results.

Success in a job depends on multiple factors, including skills and knowledge. This is why you must use other assessments in addition to personality tests when hiring for your role. 

TestGorilla’s pre-employment tests can help you better understand a candidate’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as how their specific skills align with the job. TestGorilla offers cognitive ability tests, role-specific tests, and more. Employers can even create custom assessments – by combining five or fewer tests and adding custom questions – to get the most comprehensive understanding of each candidate’s abilities. 

Assess soft skills

Instead of assuming a candidate possesses the traits you’re looking for because of their personality type, you can use skills-based testing to ensure they have the strengths you need and can perform well despite any potential shortcomings. Here are some skills typically associated with Defenders that you can test for: 

Communication skills 

Defenders often excel in interpersonal interactions, but you should still confirm their ability to communicate clearly and empathetically. TestGorilla’s Communication skills test can help you measure how well your candidate communicates in a professional setting. 

Attention to detail

Test their attention to detail, as Defenders are often meticulous and thorough in their work. TestGorilla has both visual and textual Attention to Detail tests that measure a candidate’s ability to pay attention to and process information thoroughly.  


At times, Defenders resist change. Since being flexible in the workplace is often important, you may want to test their willingness to adapt to changing situations. Consider asking for examples of adaptability with behavioral interview questions that probe their past experiences.

Time management

Defenders are typically very serious about deadlines and highly reliable, but sometimes they struggle with perfectionism or have difficulty saying no. This could lead to them overextending themselves. TestGorilla’s Time Management test can help you determine your candidate’s ability to prioritize and execute tasks. 

Team collaboration

While Defenders often work well with others, you should still confirm their collaboration abilities if teamwork is an important component of your open role. Evaluate their experience working in teams and their ability to collaborate effectively to achieve common goals. 

To do this, consider asking them questions about their teamwork experience, such as, “Can you provide an example of a successful project you worked on with a team? What was your role and how did you contribute to the team's success?”

Using job-specific tests 

You can use role-specific tests to further evaluate a candidate’s abilities. These tests check candidates' ability to perform specific job tasks. When combined with personality tests and other assessments, these tests can give you the full picture of your candidate’s abilities so you can hire more confidently. 

Assess and hire the right personality type for your business with TestGorilla 

ISFJ personalities make great teammates and employees. Their hard work and can-do attitude are positive contributions to any workplace.

When hiring ISFJ personalities, you should assess their strengths and weaknesses to understand how they’d perform in your role and lessen any future challenges related to their personality traits.  

TestGorilla makes it easy to assess and hire these candidates more effectively. With hundreds of tests to choose from, you can create a custom talent assessment to find the perfect Defender for your role. 

If you’re ready to start hiring your next great candidate, sign up for a free plan or book a demo to learn more.


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