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

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. Following on from last week, in this week’s article we will breakdown the second colour category; the Red personality.

What is a Red personality?

People can describe someone with a red personality as being bold, ambitious, driven, dynamic, dominant, hot tempered and/or rash. The biggest thing you need to know about them is that they will not try to hide who they are. They are the people in the room who have goals in life that others would never even imagine. No matter how impossible a task is deemed, a red personality will strive forward and refuse to give up on it.

They believe that if they just work hard enough, they can achieve anything they want. Generally, they are very task-oriented and always on the go and so they need to be kept busy. Reds tend to be extroverts who enjoy taking on challenges head on and living their lives by taking risks.

They are also known for making decisions, no matter how complicated or high stakes, quickly. They have the ideal personality type for competitive situations. As with everything they do, Reds add an element of competition to it, whether it is against other people or against themselves. Typically, they will be the one in the group who will talk to the loudest, be the first to answer a question and will go all out when explaining something.

This is not because they have all the answers like a blue but because they find it natural to take charge. It is the common perception of someone with a red personality that they would be the natural leaders of the group. Red personalities tend to be willing to take command because they typically enjoy being at the forefront of the all the action.

How do you work with a Red personality?

The first thing to understand when you are working with a red personality is that they are traditionally extremely blunt. When they are asked a specific question, they will tell you exactly what they think, even when the answer might hurt your feelings or be the thing you do not want to hear. Similarly, when a thought pops into a red’s head, everyone will know it immediately.

This is important to bear in mind if you are on a team with a red or even if you are managing them. Do not ask the question unless you are prepared to hear the unvarnished answer. In the case that your team needs an extra boost of energy or motivation, get a red on your team/project. Their natural inclination to never give up and their determination to succeed will rub off on the other team members and will boost your team’s morale.

If a task is deemed important Reds will walk through fire to complete it. However, when it comes to a task that seems meaningless or humdrum, it is often ignored by a red personality.

One of the greatest difficulties about working with a red is that often their brutal honesty and their competitive nature upsets other people. Those traits come off as dominating and suppressing other opinions however that is most likely never the intention of a Red. Their intentions are almost never malicious, they simply just want to win. It is not uncommon for people to feel irritated or intimidated by them because of their powerful personalities.

Another challenge is that because Reds are quick thinkers and that they believe doing something quickly is the same as doing it well, they can get annoyed by sluggishness or people who do things slowly. If a meeting or discussion drags on around a certain issue, Reds will often cut in asking if further conversation is necessary. This can obviously cause some tension with the other personalities in the room.

For red personalities if you have not pushed yourself past breaking point, you have not tried hard enough. They set higher demands on themselves than any of the other colours would. This kind of ambition in reds should not be confused to be the same as lust for power.

The end goal is never power for reds. As long as they are challenged, reds do not hold status and prestige as high as other colours. They frankly do not care what other people think about them. These are all things to keep in mind when you encounter a red personality in the workplace.

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