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Enneagram Type 4: Traits, strengths & potential careers


The Enneagram test divides individuals into nine personality types, visualized by a nine-point diagram. Understanding the personality types you have on your team and in your candidate pool can help you improve team dynamics, reduce turnover rates, and make better hiring decisions.

Here, we’re going to look in depth at Enneagram Type Four individuals, who are typically creative and introspective but may be quite sensitive to criticism.

We’ll offer insights into Type Four candidates' motivations, behaviors, and potential contributions, and suggest how you can test candidates and employees.

What is Enneagram Type 4?

A Type Four may be labelled “The Contemplator,” “The Individualist,” or “The Romantic.” These individuals are usually introspective, creative, sensitive, and expressive. On the downside, they can also be prone to mood swings and struggle with criticism. It’s thus important to know how to support them so you can bring out their best while mitigating any weaknesses.

Type 4 wings

Each type also has two potential “wings” that represent crossover characteristics from types that appear near them on the Enneagram chart. Type Four wings are Type Three and Type Five.

Type 4s with a 3 Wing

Also known as “The Aristocrat” or 4w3, this individual combines the ambition and energy of a Type Three with the emotional insights and introspection of a Type Four. 

These individuals are communicative and outgoing, and can be highly productive as well as creative. They are people-focused and often very adept at pursuing their creative dreams. 

Some of the factors that can hold these individuals back include narcissism and jealousy. Sometimes, Aristocrats can also become depressed or fall prey to immature behavior or alienation.  

Type 4s with a 5 Wing

Sometimes known as “The Bohemian” or 4w5, these individuals balance analytical thinking and curiosity with the creativity of Type 4. They’re often great at research and pursuing complex ideas, and can help your team with problem-solving, too.

This personality type tends to be introverted and interested in pursuing their creative passions for themselves rather than for recognition. They are comfortable with themselves and are good at thinking outside the box because they don’t need others’ approval.

Some of the drawbacks of a Bohemian is that they can become isolated and cut off, living in their own world. This can even lead to depression. They may need additional support to come out of their shell and interact with others on the team. 

Personal traits of Enneagram Type 4

Type Fours possess a distinct set of positive personal traits:

  • Emotional depth and empathy, allowing them to connect with their own feelings and the emotions of others

  • Creative expression and innovation, including out-of-the-box thinking

  • Authenticity, which encourages them to express their true selves in a genuine and honest way

  • Introspection and self-reflection

  • A keen eye for aesthetics and beauty

  • A desire for personal growth and learning

  • A need to find meaning and to be seen as special

While Enneagram Type Four individuals possess many strengths, some factors may hold them back, such as:

  • Emotional sensitivity, which may lead to mood swings

  • Perfectionism, which can lead to excessive self-criticism

  • A tendency to withdraw, disconnect, and isolate

  • Challenges with routine, repetitive tasks, especially when those tasks don’t offer any creative license

  • Resistance to change and criticism

Personal traits of enneagram type 4 the contemplator featured image

Type 4 potential careers and roles

Type Fours should be given roles in which they can make the most of their creativity, authenticity, search for purpose, and expressiveness to make a positive contribution. They tend to be suited to careers in the following areas:

  • Creative fields such as graphic design, writing, photography, interior design, or fashion.

  • Counseling and therapy, where they can help others navigate complex emotional landscapes.

  • Media and the entertainment industry, such as acting, filmmaking, music, or visual arts.

  • Writing, journalism, or content creation, where they can use their creativity to connect with audiences.

  • Nonprofit and social impact careers, using their desire for meaning and authenticity to contribute to causes they care about.

  • Creative entrepreneurship and leadership roles.

How to support Type 4s in the workplace

Supporting Enneagram Type 4 individuals helps you build thriving and inclusive teams. Here are some practical ways you can support them.

Recognize their contributions

Type Fours need to feel special and can feel misunderstood. To bring the best out of them, ensure you give plenty of public recognition and positive reinforcement. For example, praise their imaginative problem-solving skills or the artistic flair they bring to projects.

Encourage open communication

Create a safe space for Type Four individuals to express their emotions and ideas by encouraging open dialogue and active listening. Regular one-on-ones can also provide an opportunity for them to share their ideas.

Provide opportunities for development

Type Fours love to learn, so provide them with opportunities for mentorship, training, workshops, and conferences that enable them to boost their creativity and learn practical ways to collaborate and express themselves, as well as to understand other personality types better.

Choose roles carefully

Type Fours appreciate autonomy in their work. Provide them with opportunities to work independently on creative projects, but also encourage collaboration where they can exchange ideas and receive feedback so they can grow.

Give them a chance to brainstorm

One of the advantages of having Type Four employees is their ability to think outside the box. Call on your Type Fours whenever you need problem solving, and set up whiteboards or suggestion boxes in the workplace where employees can add their insights on various projects. 

Offer constructive feedback

Type Four individuals sometimes struggle with criticism and change. It’s important to provide constructive feedback in a way that is positive and encourages their personal development.

Give Type Fours a chance to process constructive criticism on their own. Then, offer them specific ideas, such as classes they can take, to improve. This ensures these individuals do not stay rooted in the past and use feedback to move forward. 

Create meaning at work

Assigning Type Four employees projects that have a significant impact or align with their personal values can ignite their motivation. For instance, involving them in social impact initiatives or projects that contribute to a greater cause can fuel their sense of fulfillment.

Type 4 team members can be strong contributors if you’re defining your company culture, core values, or mission. They can help you develop these parts of your company and champion them across your organization.

Offer variety

Consider roles that allow Type Four employees to explore different tasks, collaborate with diverse individuals, or engage in projects with evolving challenges. This can keep their work engaging and inspiring.

Understand what motivates your team

Type Four individuals are motivated by creative expression, meaningful work, recognition, and personal growth. They can pair especially well with Enneagram Types Five and Nine. TestGorilla has a handy guide to interpreting Enneagram types so you understand what drives each employee so you can create complementary teams.

How to determine a candidate’s Enneagram type

An Enneagram test can help you determine what personality types you have on your teams. TestGorilla offers an Enneagram test that is developed by subject matter experts and peer reviewed for accuracy.

It takes about ten minutes and includes questions that ask job candidates to describe themselves and indicate their preferred communication styles.

There are also multiple-choice questions. For example, test-takers may be asked to check a box indicating “I rarely display signs of affection” or “I’m not afraid to display signs of affection.” They must check the statement they identify with most.

TestGorilla makes it easy to create complete assessments that also evaluate an applicant’s job qualifications, personality, preferences, and more, so you get a complete picture.

Just indicate what job you’re hiring for and you’ll see recommendations of tests you might want to use. Add your own custom questions and send a link to candidates so they can complete the assessment from their favorite device.  

Once your applicants complete their assessment, you’ll get a full report outlining their Enneagram test type, the opportunities and challenges that come with the type, and even interview questions you might want to ask. 

TestGorilla also has a free guide to help you interpret Enneagram test results so you can make the most of the insights.


Understanding the traits, strengths, and potential best roles of Enneagram Type Four individuals helps you build high-performing teams.

Type Fours bring a unique blend of creativity, authenticity, and emotional depth to the workplace. By recognizing their need for meaningful work, creative expression, and personal growth, you can provide an environment that fosters their motivation and satisfaction.

It all starts with an accurate and reliable Enneagram test. Fortunately, TestGorilla makes it easy to identify Enneagram and other personality types, even before you speak to an applicant. 

TestGorilla has a full guide explaining why Enneagram tests are powerful during hiring. Check it out today to learn more about this personality test.

TestGorilla’s Enneagram test is available with a free plan. Sign up now so you can see for yourself how powerful the Enneagram test can be.


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