In a recent post I introduced the BEST personality indicator. It’s a super short version of all of the Jung-based personality assessments like DISC, MBTI, Predictive Index and Calipers. This one is the easiest though. All a person has to do to figure out their BEST style is plot their preferred speed of decision-making on the horizontal axis and their focus on people or results on the vertical axis.
However, none of these style tests should ever be used for screening purposes since they measure either/or preferences, not competencies. Despite this severe weakness these tests do have value for understanding the process people use to achieve results.
Job seekers can also use the BEST test to gain a significant edge when being interviewed for a job. Here are some ideas on how to pull this off:
- Determine the BEST style of the interviewer. If you pay attention, within five minutes you’ll have a pretty good sense of the interviewer’s style. Bosses want instant answers. Engagers will either start selling you right away or try to quickly end the interview. Supporters will try to make sure you’re comfortable and Technicals will start right away trying to figure out if you know what you’re talking about. You’ll be able to implement some of the countermeasures below once you figure this out.
- Match the interviewer’s pace and style. It’s hard for anyone not to answer a straightforward question, so asking them at the start of the interview buys some time for a candidate to figure out the best way to interact with each interviewer. The Boss will want good summary statements describing detailed results, the Engager can best be influenced with a story, the Supporter wants a longer story highlighting how you deal with people, and the Technical wants descriptions of how problems were solved.
- Ask questions to determine real job needs. To figure out what stories to tell, ask this question early in the interview, “What does the person in this role need to do to be considered successful?” You’ll need to ask each interviewer a similar version of this since their answers will typically have a different perspective based on their BEST style.
- Include appropriate BEST details in your answers. Describing major accomplishments is a great way to prove your competency in any area. Interviewers remember details, not generalities. Bosses want bottom line results and specific measurable details. Technicals want to understand the process and technical skills used to get the results. Supporters want to know how team issues were handled. Engagers want to relate on a more personal basis so it’s best to get into a give-and-take discussion with them rather than giving long-winded answers.
- Put together a list of your BEST accomplishments. Before the interview prepare a list of your major team and individual accomplishments for your past few jobs. Have one that demonstrates each BEST style. Include specific details, dates, people and changes made. You’ll use this to tailor your answers.
- Practice the two-minute response with BEST details. Every answer should range from 1-2 minutes, maybe a little longer for the Technicals. Here’s a guide you can download for practicing these types of answers. Add the right type of BEST details to meet the needs of the interviewer.
- Asked forced-choice BEST questions. Ask interviewers questions that ensure your abilities are clearly understood and meet the interviewer’s needs. For example, asking a Supporter to describe some of the problems associated with different project teams is a way for you to describe how you addressed these problems.
- Demonstrate your flexibility across all BEST styles. Hiring teams have concerns with candidates who can’t adapt their style to the situation. That’s why it’s important to think about your best BEST examples ahead of time and make sure you don't leave any out.
- Anticipate and address your least BEST weaknesses. As you go through your list of accomplishments your dominant BEST style(s) will stand out. The diagonal opposite is typically your least BEST style. For example, for Technicals it’s the Engager and vice versa. Make sure you have a good example to discuss to prevent this weakness from becoming an issue.
- Determine where you stand before the end of the interview. At the end of the interview ask about next steps. If vague or not forthcoming, you can assume you won’t be called back. In this case try to figure out why. Then describe an accomplishment that best offsets the interviewer’s concerns. You’ll need to be your BEST to pull this off.
While BEST and similar similar assessments like DISC, MBTI and PI shouldn't be used to screen out candidates, it is useful for interviewers to figure out how a candidate used his/her BEST style to work with others. Candidates can use this same BEST information to better understand what the interviewer is looking for and adjust their answers accordingly. While the ideas presented here probably won’t help you get a job you don’t deserve, they’ll certainly help you get one you do. That’s why the BEST personality test deserves its name.