The group interview, different personalities and how to deal with them

This article is part of an ongoing series of guest articles by James Fitzsimons, Director of Elevate Career Advice. Make the next step in your career count –⁠ visit

There are few things that can be more stressful than the prospect of a group interview. Unlike its one-on-one counterpart, in the group interview you have to compete for your assessor’s attention but in a non-obvious way. You do not want to be over-domineering or seem as if you cannot work in a team setting.

Of course, there will be people who set out to rule the roost from the get-go. Your task will be figuring out the best way to deal with them. In a group interview, you will find a whole array of different personalities, ranging from loud and proud to shy and observant. The best way to prepare for such an experience is to figure out how to identify those different personalities and how to deal with them.

If you master this, you can then insert yourself as organizer of the group effortlessly and without looking like you are trying to dominate the conversation. Companies look to hire people who can collaborate well and so it is important you learn to read the room and the various personalities in front of you.

The best way to break down these personality types is by colour. As a general rule, personality types can be broken down into four different colours; Blue, Red, Yellow and Green. People may be a mixture of some or all of these colours but being able to identify what personality traits they are showing will help you regardless. You could have someone who seems to have a red personality but in certain circumstances might display blue behaviour. Recognising this could help with making your interactions with them as useful and productive as possible.

Over the next few weeks we will be going through the four different personality types and how to deal with them. To begin we will breakdown the first colour category; the Blue personality.

What is a blue personality?

People with blue personality tend to be the type who are extremely particular about where things go and how things are ordered. They always have the right answer and generally, do not got with the flow like some other colours would. They don’t tend to make a big fuss about themselves or their points because they know they have the facts on their side.

However, despite the knowledge they possess, unless the topic comes up it is unlikely that a blue person will say anything on the subject. Knowing the answer is enough for blue people, they do not need outside affirmation for knowing it. People with blue personalities are extremely observant and keep tabs on everything that is going on around them because They can often be seen as being both realistic and pessimistic. They approach everything by seeing the errors and risks attached to it. Other traits that can be associated with the blue personality are logical, rational, melancholy, reserved, analytical and detail oriented.

How do you work with a blue personality?

Now that you know what a blue personality looks like, the next step is understanding then how to approach them. The biggest thing to remember when interacting with a blue personality is that no detail is too small to go over or noticed. With this in mind, never suggest to a blue that for the sake of time you cut corners on a project. If you do suggest it, they will simply ignore you. People with blue personalities would rather burn the midnight oil reading over and over something than miss a detail or make a mistake. Which also brings the mind a warning that if you are working with a blue personality, you should expect their emails to be long-winded and a little dry. Their emails will hit every point possible and tend not to include much conversational language or questions.

A common misconception about blue personalities is that they are indecisive as it takes them longer to come back with an answer, however it is not indecision that prolongs them, it is their thoroughness. Due to the blue personality’s propensity to be cautious, it is hard to get them agree to a risky plan or deal. They strive to lead a consistently stable and predictable life and can be stubborn if somebody tries to introduce an unknown factor into their plans.

When working with blue personalities you need to remember that they solve everything by creating advanced systems that manage possible risks that may arise. It is useful to know, if you need their help on a project, that you cannot expect them to jump in without doing a risk assessment analysis and so you will need to factor that in your timetable.

Another thing to consider about working with blue personalities, is that quality is everything. This means that they will not hesitate to point out the flaws and problems in something, even if it reflects poorly on them or their team. If the quality level does drop for some reason, everything for a blue will come to a standstill until it can be determined as to why. Knowing this is imperative to incorporate into your time keeping on a project if you have a blue involved.

However, it is also a handy trait to have on your team as you will always have a high-quality benchmark. Other things to keep in mind is that blues will never be fooled and will always be paid what they are owed as they have already figured out what is due to them before they even signed up to the project. Blue personalities do not speak unnecessarily so when they do speak you have to listen because they have thought through what they are going to say, and it often has critical insight in it.

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