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Enneagram Type 5: Traits, strengths & potential careers


The Enneagram personality test categorizes individuals into one of the nine Enneagram personality types. Each Enneagram type outlines an individual’s core motivations, fears, and personality traits.

Personality tests like the Enneagram help hiring managers, recruiters, and employers gain deeper insights into their current and potential employees. By evaluating your job applicants’ personality traits, you can identify which will fit into your team and company culture the best. You can also use Enneagram tests with your existing employees to understand their unique personalities and tap into their full potential.

One of the nine Enneagram types is Type Five. These individuals are deep thinkers with naturally logical minds but can have trouble maintaining relationships.

Below, we explore the Type Five personality in more detail and show you how to use TestGorilla for Enneagram testing.

What is Enneagram Type 5?

Enneagram Type Five is known as the Pioneer, the Investigator, or the Observer. This is due to their independent nature and motivation to understand the world around them. Type Fives are highly analytical and able to understand complex concepts and processes.

Type Fives’ core fear is being incompetent. They strive to gain knowledge to avoid situations that make them feel inadequate. 

A Type Five’s intense need to understand, coupled with a fear of incompetence, can make them become isolated and have difficulty building and maintaining relationships.

Enneagram Type 5 strengths

Enneagram Type Fives possess numerous strengths. These individuals are:

  • Cerebral

  • Highly analytical 

  • Open-minded

  • Innovative

  • Self-reliant

  • Independent

  • Perceptive

  • Detail-oriented

Enneagram Type 5 weaknesses

On the other hand, Type Fives have some traits that can hold them back. These include:

  • The fear of being incompetent

  • A tendency to overanalyze situations

  • Difficulty forming and maintaining interpersonal relationships 

  • A tendency to find external demands overwhelming

  • An impulse to withdraw and become detached

  • Difficulty relaxing

strengths and weaknesses of enneagram type 5 the pioneer graphic

Type 5 Wings

Enneagram “Wings” refer to the two personality types that neighbor each core type, or “dominant” type, on the Enneagram. They add nuance to an individual’s main Enneagram type, influencing and complementing it in various ways.

Core Type Fives can have Type Four, the Contemplator, or Type Six, the Devoted, as Wings.

Type 5w4

Type 5w4s have the Type Five fear of being incompetent combined with the Type Four fear of vulnerability.

5w4s strive to be helpful as well as knowledgeable. They tend to be more emotionally attuned to others than the average Type Five, but they can still withdraw and distance themselves from others. Type 5w4s like to feel appreciated and can find criticism overwhelming.

Type 5w6

5w6s are usually more loyal than their Type Five counterparts, influenced by the Type Six traits of enthusiasm, passion, and determination. While they possess the usual Type Five struggle to form relationships, they don’t have such a strong inclination to become isolated. However, Type 5w6s can withdraw in stressful situations.

Despite their drive to pursue knowledge, Type 5w6s may lose motivation when they don’t have a personal interest in the topic.

Enneagram Type 5s in the workplace

Technical experts

Fives have a strong desire to accumulate knowledge and understand complex issues easily, making them great technical experts. Being detail-oriented helps them complete difficult tasks with a high degree of accuracy.

Innovative problem-solvers

Type Fives have highly analytical minds and take a rational approach to problem-solving. However, they also can keep an open mind. This enables them to develop new ideas and creative solutions.

Autonomous workers

Being self-reliant makes Type Fives well-suited to work that requires minimal supervision. They don’t feel the need to focus on building relationships with colleagues and typically prefer the freedom of working independently. 

Skilled instructors

Type Five traits share several traits with skilled instructors. They can explain complex concepts in an easy-to-understand way. Despite their difficulties interacting with people, they tend to give well-thought-out responses.

Even though Type Fives don’t prioritize engaging with colleagues, they tend to enjoy the opportunity to show off their knowledge, motivated by their fear of being seen as “useless.”

Excellent researchers

Type Fives are motivated to learn and use their knowledge, which allows them to process information, spot patterns, and draw conclusions. They’re also capable of deep-diving into topics they find interesting, making them an ideal choice for complex investigations and in-depth research.

Growth opportunities for Enneagram Type 5

Type Fives can focus on several areas to improve their success in the workplace.

Making an effort to be more cooperative can help Type Fives better navigate professional relationships. Useful skills to develop include active listening, effective communication, and compromise.

Type Five individuals can also benefit from developing their emotional intelligence. Learning to recognize when they start to withdraw and what triggers those feelings can be particularly helpful for them.

The focus on their own intellectual capabilities can inadvertently result in Type Fives being less observant of other people’s achievements. Type Fives can become better team players by making an active effort to show appreciation.

In addition, cultivating inner confidence will help Type Fives be more comfortable when they don’t have all the answers. Trying new activities and seeking experiences that challenge them to think differently can encourage this growth.

Combating their fear of incompetence can also help Type Fives become faster decision-makers. This is because they’ll have more confidence in their decisions and be more inclined to seek input from others when they face tough decisions.

How to support Type 5s in the workplace

Supporting Type Fives in the workplace can optimize their performance, ensuring they remain an asset. Here’s how:

  • Give them sufficient personal space. Type Fives tend to be introverts who can get worn out by social interaction. Giving them time and space to be alone allows them to re-energize and can prevent them from becoming overwhelmed.

  • Encourage them to maintain relationships. The tendency to live in their heads and fear of being incompetent can sometimes cause Type Fives to withdraw rather than engage in team or group settings. Prompting these individuals to maintain communication can prevent them from becoming isolated in the workplace.

  • Create a safe space for them to express their ideas. Type Fives will be more open to sharing their ideas and opinions in non-judgmental environments. Creating this type of work culture also helps build trust between teammates.

  • Give them time to make decisions. Their tendency to overthink situations can prolong decision-making, but Type Fives don’t usually respond well to being rushed. Allowing them time to consider all available options can help them become more decisive.

  • Provide information. Type Fives appreciate knowing how their role fits in with their organization’s goals perhaps more than any other Enneagram type. Ensure they understand the big picture and the reasons behind their work. These actions can help Types Fives become more involved and connected with their team.

Potential careers for a Type 5

With their thirst for knowledge, Enneagram Type Fives are particularly well-suited to jobs that need specialized expertise. They can grasp complex concepts and excel in positions that allow them to put their analytical minds to work. 

However, people with Type Five personalities will likely have difficulty in roles that don’t involve much autonomy.

Potential careers for a Type 5 include:

  • Data Analyst

  • Research Scientist

  • Financial Analyst

  • Software Developer

  • Engineer

  • Technical Writer

  • Cyber Security Analyst

How to determine a candidate’s Enneagram type

The most effective way to determine a candidate’s Enneagram type is to conduct an Enneagram personality test. This way, you get a definitive answer regarding their personality type and traits.

TestGorilla's Enneagram Personality test has been created specifically for pre-employment screening with professionals in mind. You can assess both job applicants and current employees. 

It takes 10 minutes to complete, and test-takers can complete it from their mobile devices. During the test, they’re presented with 45 questions with two statements. They’re asked to choose the one they identify with the most.

When test-takers complete their assessment, you’ll get a detailed report of their Enneagram type – along with their best attributes, main challenges, and tips for communicating and collaborating with each type. This makes it easy for both you and your test-takers to interpret their Enneagram results.

Reports also include suggested questions should you decide to interview the candidate.


Enneagram Type Fives are knowledge-orientated and fiercely independent. Their ability to make sense of complex subjects, apply logic, and find innovative solutions makes them exceptional problem-solvers. However, their preference to work alone can lead to them becoming isolated. Achieving the balance between respecting Type Fives’ need for personal space and encouraging team participation can mitigate their inclination to detach.

Incorporating an Enneagram test into your recruitment process can help you identify candidates with any of the nine Enneagram personality types. When you know a candidate’s Enneagram type, you can better judge their suitability for a specific role and more accurately assess their fit for a team.

TestGorilla offers a fast, reliable Enneagram Personality test you can use in your hiring efforts. You can combine it with any of our 300+ other pre-employment tests to create comprehensive, tailored assessments in minutes.

Get started with TestGorilla for free today and see how pre-employment testing can improve your hiring decisions.


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