When discussing personality, it’s common to hear people refer to themselves or others as “Type A” or “Type B.” Or, for those who have taken the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, acronyms like ISTJ or ENTP or INFP are so commonplace they frequently show up in online dating profiles.
At Hogan, we’ve historically steered away from labeling people as a certain “personality type” based on their assessment results. The primary reason for this is that personality trait scores lie on a continuum and dividing people into convenient buckets sacrifices precision. Further, even two people with highly similar personality profiles can be dramatically different from each other if they only differ on a single scale.
So, what’s the value of assigning personality types? First, types give people a natural way to think about those around them. Second, personality types refer to the whole person and not just various aspects of personality. Third, applying types to people makes personality easy to understand when it comes to coaching and development.
Although Hogan still avoids labeling people with types, we did a deep dive into our archive to see if there were some common types we could discover. Using the data of 332,935 individuals who completed the Hogan Personality Inventory, Hogan Development Survey, and the Motives, Values, Preferences Inventory, we identified eight different personality types – or common profiles – that can be applied to the vast majority of the working population.
Most Common Personality Types
Rebels – These individuals represent 8.0% of the sample group. Their scores suggest that they are interested in being famous, wealth, having power, and living a luxurious life. They are also seen by others as sociable and curious in daily behavior, but can also be emotional, distrustful of others, and rule-breaking. Entrepreneurs make up a large percentage of this group.
Marketers – Representing 18.2% of the sample group, Marketers are seen as highly motivated to compete, win, push for results, and make money. At their best they are bright, sociable, and ambitious at work. However, they also tend to take big chances and are overconfident in their abilities. This profile group is commonly seen amongst salespeople.
Proletarians – We identified that 13.7% of those observed are what we refer to as Proletarians. These individuals are interested in stability and simplistic lifestyle. Others consider them to be hardworking, reserved, and careful. They generally make solid employees and prefer to work without being bothered. These people are equally represented across most professions.
Congenials – At 17.2% of the sample group, Congenials are viewed by others as lacking motivational and career interests. They tend to be introverted, but also relaxed, friendly, polite, and rule-abiding at work. Owing to their friendly nature, these individuals regularly receive high performance ratings from their supervisors. Congenials are commonly found in administrative and clerical roles.
Over-Achievers – This group represents 16.6% of the individuals we studied. Unsurprisingly, Over-Achievers are interested in career success, but they do insist on playing fair. They are hardworking, bright, and resilient to stress. While our data suggest that these individuals are well-suited for leadership positions, they tend to be stuck in individual contributor roles, largely due to the fact that they refuse to play politics.
Networkers – Representing 12.8% of the group, Networkers tend to be interested in fame and being liked by others. They are sociable, cool-headed, and bright in daily behavior. That said, they are also known to break the rules, take risks, be overly dramatic, and often times impractical. Because of their ability to connect with others and their willingness to play politics, Networkers make up a large percentage of leadership roles.
Misfits – Misfits make up 6.9% of the group we studied. They are highly motivated by fear with a strong desire for stability and to enjoy life. They also tend to be emotionally volatile and have difficulties building close relationships due to excessive reclusiveness. Our data indicate that many individuals in this group are struggling to find the right career fit for them.
Preppers – At 6.5% of the group, Preppers are like Misfits in that they are motivated by fear with a strong desire for stability. What makes them different than Misfits is that they are dependable when they can keep their emotions in check. This group is introverted and always prepared for the worst. Individuals fitting this profile often work in the security sector.
Assigning personality types to people will never be an exact science, regardless of the amount of data collected or the tools used to measure personality. Still, it is often useful to look at the person as a whole instead of thinking of individuals as simply a mixture of the same chemicals. Our data indicate that there are in fact eight robust personality types – or personality profiles – that are meaningfully related to work and career outcomes.