The Enneagram in Hiring & Recruiting

Colorful blocks with cartoon people on them symbolizing using enneagram for hiring a team

What Is the Enneagram?

The Enneagram is a personality “mapping” system that identifies nine different, interconnected personality types. In contrast with other popular personality assessments, the Enneagram focuses on people’s motivations instead of behaviors. 

The Nine Enneagram Personality Types

  1. Type One: The Reformer
  2. Type Two: The Helper
  3. Type Three: The Achiever
  4. Type Four: The Individualist
  5. Type Five: The Investigator
  6. Type Six: The Loyalist
  7. Type Seven: The Enthusiast
  8. Type Eight: The Challenger
  9. Type Nine: The Peacemaker

Enneagram in the Workplace

Widely utilized as a means for improving self-awareness and personal relationships, the Enneagram is also a powerful tool for business owners, hiring managers, recruiters, and the like.

The Enneagram allows an employer to speak to an employee’s internal motivations instead of just their external behaviors. Focusing on internal motivations produces better results. It’s what makes using the Enneagram in the workplace so ideal, especially for hiring.

Each of the nine Enneagram personality types has a number and a name that summarizes its main motivation.

Using Enneagram Personality Testing

Benefits of the Enneagram for Hiring

When using the Enneagram for hiring, you gain a good understanding of a candidate’s motivations and fears. Onboarding a new employee takes time and resources, so determining whether a new hire is a good fit is critical. 

When you have a good sense of a job candidate’s motivations and fears, you can better determine if they would be motivated by the work and company culture you’re looking to hire for. Additionally, insight into a candidate’s motivations and fears shines a light on their strengths and weaknesses.

Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. Using an Enneagram hiring and recruiting process gives you the advantage of selecting a candidate whose strengths and weaknesses are compatible with your existing team. You need talent that is best poised to help your business reach its goals, and the Enneagram can help get you just that. 

Personality Testing Options in the Hiring Process

The Enneagram is of course not the only personality test out there for recruiting and hiring strategies.

As a certified Lead From Your Strengths Trainer, I also find great value in the DiSC® assessment. DiSC® measures a candidate’s personality based on four factors, rather than nine. Those four factors are:

  1. Dominance
  2. Influence
  3. Steadiness
  4. Conscientiousness

The DiSC® assessment is a highly effective personality test for employment purposes that can help you understand a candidate’s personal preferences and behaviors. However, the Enneagram is more revealing of a candidate’s potential since it dives deeper into internal motivations. 

Another popular personality testing option is the Big Five. The Big Five are individual, observable traits that can rank high or low for any person with each trait represented by a percentile. Those five traits are:

  1. Openness (curious vs. cautious)
  2. Conscientiousness (organized vs. careless)
  3. Extraversion (energetic vs. reserved)
  4. Agreeableness (compassionate vs. detached)
  5. Neuroticism (nervous vs. confident)

For example, a candidate could have the agreeableness trait more than 75% of the population, but the openness trait only 25% more than the population.

Again, gaining an understanding of these traits before hiring a candidate can be helpful, but the Enneagram provides much more in-depth information since it looks at internal motivation, not just external behaviors.

The Enneagram in Hiring & Recruiting 

How to Use the Enneagram for Hiring Candidates

Job Compatibility

When using the Enneagram for hiring, a big benefit is determining job compatibility. For instance, Ones on the Enneagram struggle with perfectionism. Will they be compatible with a job that requires constant flexibility? Or will they be stressed and unhappy because they need more time to process and perfect?

Compatibility with Coworkers

Compatibility with coworkers is also incredibly important. Teammates need to work together, and personalities play a big part in that, but I’m not just talking about everyone getting along. You want those on a team to complement each other’s strengths and weaknesses. This way people can carry heavier workloads in areas of their strengths and learn from their teammates in areas of their weaknesses.

Find a Good Culture Fit

Every business has a culture. Will your potential new hire thrive in yours? 

For example, Twos are known for highly valuing relationships. They want loving and nurturing connections with those around them. Is your company culture one of collaboration and friendship? Or do people work more independently on projects? The answer to that question will make a big difference to a Two’s professional happiness and success.

Understand a Candidate’s Strengths and Weaknesses

Getting insight into a candidate’s internal motivations and fears allows you to better assess their strengths and weaknesses than if you solely relied on their resume and portfolio. Additionally, people are often very nervous in interviews, so pairing a personality test like the Enneagram with your perceptions from an interview can give you a much more accurate understanding of how a potential candidate will (or will not) perform on the job.

Prevent Unfit Candidates

Making more informed hiring decisions prevents unfit candidates from onboarding. This is a bonus to your business, employees, and even the candidate themself. Hiring someone who won’t enjoy or do well at their new job isn’t doing anyone a favor.

How Much Should I Rely on Enneagram Results?

It’s important to note that no personality test, the Enneagram included, is 100% accurate and reliable. Humans are complex and complicated beings. It’s wise to always keep that in mind. You need to carefully consider every aspect of a candidate during the hiring process.

Use the Enneagram to help you determine your best candidate, but don’t use a person’s results as a dealbreaker.

Who Can Benefit from Enneagram Testing?

Enneagram for Recruiters

Learn more about candidates’ internal motivations so you can better match them to potential jobs.

Enneagram for Hiring Managers

Learn more about candidates’ internal motivations so you can make better hiring decisions with job requirements and company culture compatibility in mind.

Enneagram for Job Seekers

The Enneagram is helpful for job seekers, too. Job seekers can gain a better understanding of what they need and want from a job based on their Enneagram type, and then search accordingly.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I Create a Compatible Team with the Enneagram? 

Yes. Understanding a candidate’s internal motivations and fears, along with their strengths and weaknesses, will help you hire candidates whose personalities are compatible with your existing team and who will also fill talent gaps.

Which Enneagram Types Make the Best Managers?

All Enneagram types have the capacity to lead. However, their leadership styles may differ, and their weaknesses may translate into potential pitfalls. The Enneagram type that will make the best manager in your business largely depends on your existing company culture and employee personalities.

Can an Enneagram Have Two Wings?

It’s debatable. For the sake of using the Enneagram for recruiting and hiring, take whatever results the tests provides and couple that insight with the interview, resume, references, and portfolio of the candidate.

Can You Be More than One Enneagram Type?

Human beings are complex. Someone’s Enneagram type does not disqualify them from experiencing all of the motivations and fears represented by the Enneagram. It simply highlights what is most motivating to them.

Learn More About Using the Enneagram for Your Hiring and Recruiting Needs

Learn more about using the Enneagram for your hiring and recruiting needs by contacting me. Let’s have a conversation.