How to interpret the results of an Enneagram test

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Though making the wrong hire can destabilize your existing team dynamic, there is an effective way to help you keep staff turnover low and maintain team cohesion.

As suggested by SHRM, using a personality test, such as an Enneagram personality types test can offer insight into how your candidates will cope with the role’s demands.

Before we get into the article, it’s important to bear in mind that your final hiring decision shouldn’t be solely based on the results of an Enneagram test.

Though an Enneagram test can enhance your journey from candidate sourcing to hiring candidates, there are other factors to think about along the way.

There are certain advantages to using an Enneagram test, though. So, keep reading this post, which focuses on the Enneagram explained. We have included:

  • What an Enneagram test is

  • Why Enneagram tests are important in the hiring process

  • When and how an Enneagram test should be used

  • How to use Enneagram tests in an unbiased way

  • How to interpret your candidates’ Enneagram test results

  • The benefits of using an Enneagram test

What is an Enneagram test and how was it created?

The Enneagram test is used by HR personnel to determine which of the nine personality types best describe their candidates. It also lets you know how your candidates’ core beliefs and values influence the perceptions of their work environment.

The Enneagram test’s name is composed of two key Greek words – ‘ennea’ and ‘grammos,’ which mean ‘nine’ and ‘symbol’. It is a comprehensive personality system that indicates how your candidates form relationships with their colleagues and how they make decisions in the workplace.

Going a step further, an Enneagram test will help you understand how your candidates manage difficult situations and how they will integrate into your team. 

The test is based on the theories and research of Oscar Ichazo and Claudio Naranjo – a teacher and psychiatrist, respectively, who each put together ideas on human personalities. It also follows some of the prior teachings of George Gurdjieff, whose ideas on personality were incorporated into Naranjo’s theories.

Continue reading until the end for the nine Enneagram types explained.

Why Enneagram tests are important in the hiring process

As well as giving you information on your candidate’s core beliefs and values, there are a couple of other reasons why Enneagram tests are important for the hiring process

Discover how candidates respond to stressful environments

The Enneagram test will augment your understanding of your candidates’ work styles. In addition, it will help you determine whether your candidates can perform well under pressure and in stressful environments by discovering more about their personality type. 

Suppose you are hiring for a leadership position, for example. In that case, the Enneagram test will reveal information on candidates’ leadership styles and whether they can cope with the responsibility of managing a team in challenging situations.

Find out whether your candidates’ values align with your company culture

Do your candidates’ values match your company culture? The best way to find out is by using the results of an Enneagram test, which will also indicate your candidates’ values. You can then use their values to improve or add to your company culture

Enneagram test results can also become the base upon which positive team collaboration is built, helping you align your candidates’ personalities with your team. This makes it simpler to put them in groups that work well together.

When and how Enneagram tests should be used

You should use an Enneagram test near the beginning of your hiring process, which will give you more information to use during the interview stage. This way, you will formulate your interview questions with less difficulty and base them on what you know about your candidates’ personalities. Keep reading for the Enneagram types explained in the context of the work environment.

In terms of using Enneagram tests, you might choose to add custom questions to the assessment. For example, you can choose from multiple-choice questions, file uploads, essays, and video questions. We recommend using custom questions in combination with the Enneagram test as this will give you a better insight into your candidates’ personalities.

How to use Enneagram tests in an unbiased way

As well as using custom questions, there are other ways to use Enneagram tests in an unbiased way. To do it, you should always use other tests alongside the Enneagram test to get a fuller picture of your candidates’ skills. Making your hiring decisions on the results of an Enneagram test alone could result in an expensive mis-hire. 

If you are hiring a software developer, for example, by all means, use an Enneagram test to understand their personality a bit more and develop your interview questions from the results of the test. But you should also choose to evaluate your candidates’ coding skills, debugging skills, WordPress developer skills, or other hard skills required for the position.

How to interpret your candidates’ Enneagram test results

The results of your Enneagram test are important when making a hiring decision. To interpret the results, keep in mind that there are nine personality type categories that your candidates can fall into.

Your candidate will receive a number from one to nine, corresponding to each of the nine personality types. So, for example, if your candidate receives type 9, they are categorized as The Agreeable.

If you need further information about each personality type, the following sections feature the Enneagram types explained and how you should interpret the results of your candidates’ tests. Take a look for more information.

Type 1 – The Improver

The word ‘thoroughness’ sums up candidates with type one personalities. They are incredibly diligent, hardworking, and aim to commit as few errors as possible in their work. They take responsibility for their tasks and set themselves goals to complete their work without making mistakes. 

Though they are incredibly thorough, they might struggle to strike the right balance between perfect work and work that is sufficient. This means they may also find effective time management a challenge in their pursuit of perfectionism.

Learn more about the Enneagram Type 1

Type 2 – The Giver

For type two personality candidates, communication and interaction with others are critical. They also aim to help and support team members to ensure their colleagues overcome challenges in their work. 

Although they are incredibly compassionate, have their finger on the pulse when it comes to team struggles, and love to share ideas with team members, they sometimes find it challenging to step back and let their colleagues grow independently when required. In other words, they might help others too much.

Learn more about the Enneagram Type 2

Type 3 – The Go-getter

Type three candidates strive to perform at an exceptional level. They are results-driven, highly productive when it comes to completing tasks, and use their enthusiasm to help them succeed quickly. 

Where others might analyze the situation from afar, type three candidates are incredibly enthusiastic and take action instantly. However, this might mean they can make hurried decisions. They also might not be the best active listeners or seek help when needed. 

Learn more about the Enneagram Type 3

Type 4 – The Contemplator

If you have a type four candidate, expect them to enjoy exciting projects and be passionate about their assigned tasks. In addition, they value their work immensely and seek to make meaningful work relationships and useful connections to their co-workers. 

In contrast to some personality types who are content with any type of task, type four personality types will struggle when completing repetitive tasks that don’t keep their attention.

As they are enthusiastic about exciting projects, they often make emotional attachments to their work, which makes it difficult for them to see constructive feedback as helpful, instead of being a personal criticism. Learn more about the Enneagram Type 4

Type 5 – The Pioneer

Candidates with a type five personality are keen to strategize, plan, and work methodically on technical tasks. They will use technical knowledge to their advantage to advance and complete tasks systematically. 

Preferring to work alone, a candidate that has a type five personality will find it difficult to work alongside others. In some cases, they will also lack the ability to communicate effectively and struggle to form meaningful bonds with their team members. Above all, though, they value intellect, which helps them to progress in their work.

Type Fives are also the rarest Enneagram types.

Learn more about the Enneagram Type 5

Type 6 – The Devoted

Type six candidates can be summed up by the word ‘dependable’. They engage eagerly in their work and use information about their work environment to their advantage (such as how their team collaborates) to progress in their goals and objectives. 

As they are always aware of what is occurring within the company, type six candidates will pinpoint potential problems that can impede productivity. They excel at solving problems, but because they might be wrapped up in doubts and concerns about what might impact success, they struggle when it comes to avoiding demotivation. 

Learn more about the Enneagram Type 6

Type 7 – The Cheerleader

‘Enthusiasm’ is the word that describes candidates with type seven personalities. They might even be seen as slightly entrepreneurial, converting any challenges or obstacles into potential opportunities to be seized. Type sevens also enjoy multitasking and getting involved with a range of projects enthusiastically and passionately. 

Though they might be capable of taking on multiple challenges, their setback is not knowing how to focus on the most pressing project. In other words, dropping other tasks and prioritizing one task in particular can be difficult for type seven candidates.

Learn more about the Enneagram Type 7

Type 8 – The Master

Type eight candidates are typically business leaders. They are more than capable of making shrewd, decisive choices that shape their work environment and those who work alongside them. In addition, candidates who have a type eight personality are typically self-assured and able to debate and defend their point of view on a particular action or task within the workplace. 

Their main difficulty is that their self-assuredness can often blind them to the potential anxiety or stress their decisions can cause others. Type eights can also be slightly forceful with their viewpoints, which can cause workplace tension and clashes between team members.

Learn more about the Enneagram Type 8

Type 9 – The Agreeable

Type nine candidates can always take a balanced view of both sides of a discussion. They are called ‘agreeable’ as they seek to encourage complete collaboration between all team members. To use a metaphor, they view their work and the relationship with their colleagues in a state of yin and yang, with conflicts, debates, and opposing viewpoints taking opposite sides. 

Their goal is to maintain agreement and coordination within the workplace to ensure everyone is on the same page. However, this can mean that agreeable personality types struggle to emphasize their perspective for fear they will disrupt the peace within the work environment.

Learn more about the Enneagram Type 9

The benefits of using an Enneagram test

Using an Enneagram test within your recruitment process can be advantageous. By using this test, you will:

  • Get a better insight into how your candidates might fit in with your organization’s culture

  • Use the results to predict which team-building activities would benefit your successful candidate, and

  • Better understand your candidates’ personalities in the context of your existing team’s personalities

benefits of using an enneagram test when hiring

The Enneagram test even provides you with a range of pointers to enhance candidates’ communication and work with other personality types.

So, if you are hiring more than one candidate to build a team, it will be simpler to compare each candidates’ personalities and predict how they will work together going forward.

Recommended reading: How to interpret your candidates’ Enneagram types

Explore the Enneagram test and find out more about your candidates’ personalities

Using the Enneagram test can help you discover more about your candidates’ personalities, particularly when you need more information in a short space of time. You might be tempted to hire candidates with similar personalities as your existing team members.

Still, one key takeaway is this: final hiring decisions shouldn’t be based on Enneagram test results alone.

Always use other skills tests, interviews, and interview tasks to make sound hiring decisions that avoid hiring bias. Start a free trial of TestGorilla to discover a range of test types to help you hire the best.

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