Many hiring systems use a basic personality approach to determine how someone will fit in with a team and an organization. The approach uses four personalities, simply labeled as A, B, C, and D, to understand the unique combination of traits that each applicant offers.
To create the personality types, an applicant would respond to specific questions that are drawn from situations where they would be at work. Each question offers a chance to answer with a strength, which then corresponds to one of the four basic personality types.
The highest percentage score would then be your dominant personality type in the ABCD test. If there are 2+ personality types that are equal or close to each other, then both would be considered a dominant type. An example of the latter would be an AC personality, while the former might be a D personality.
What Do the Different Personality Traits Mean?
Each personality described in the ABCD test reflects certain traits that are important for an employer to recognize in each applicant. Although the intent is for understanding, some employers may use the test as a pseudo-screening process, which is why it is important to know what each personality traits are suggested by the test.
Type A personalities: People with this personality type tend to thrive in competitive environments. They want to achieve fame and greatness. They like to experience success quickly instead of working hard for a long time to get it. This personality type tends to juggle multiple tasks, not always successfully, because they crave a reputation of being successful. They will often push themselves to the breaking point to find the success they want.
Type B personalities: This personality type tends to be laid-back and relaxed. They experience stress, but don’t take events personally. They are still competitive, though it comes without the urgency of a successful outcome. Procrastination happens a lot with this personality type, often waiting until the very last second to submit work. If deadlines are not in place, people with this personality type will create their own timeline instead. They choose almost anything over work, if they are given the option.
Type C personalities: People with this personality type tend to focus on the details of a situation. They like to review information that comes along, wanting to either validate their own opinion or research the opinions of others. They’re not assertive for the most part, preferring to let other people do their own thing. This personality type tends to put the needs of others before their own, which can often lead to profound regrets later on in life. They recognize that they could be more assertive in retrospect, then avoid being assertive whenever possible.
Type D personalities: This personality type tends to see the world in a negative light. Even in situations where optimism is profound, people with this personality find something pessimistic to dwell upon. This outlook on life is applied severely on a personal level, which often holds them back from accomplishing the goals they’ve set for themselves. They’re also held back from a strong fear of rejection, which stops them from forming new relationships or pursuing new job opportunities. People with this personality type tend to live lonely, isolated lives unless they’re willing to open up to someone at some time.
For most employers, Type D personalities fit a specific role. If there are big changes which need to happen in a company and large risks are involved, it is this personality type that can make it happen. Otherwise, it is one of the other 3 personality types which is preferred for the average job.
What About the X Personality Designation?
There are two ways that an X designation is given to the ABCD personality test.
The first method is the most common. When you have 2 (or more) personalities which are comparatively equal to each other, then the profile is designated as an Ax/Bx personality. For reporting purposes, the “x” designation might be dropped to avoid confusion in certain situations, especially if 3 personality types are equal.
The “x” simply means that there is a cross, or an intersection, of multiple personality types.
People who have equal strength in two different personality groups tend to use both sets of traits in specific ways. When in a leadership role, they might apply their Type A personality traits. In a supportive role, they may revert to a Type B or Type C personality trait instead.
In the rare event that all 4 personality types are balanced, then that person is considered to have an X personality.
What is unique about Type X personalities is that they are very adaptable to changing circumstances. Some employers refer to this personality as having “chameleon-like” tendencies. These people can shift through their ABCD profile to adapt their personality to the demands of the workplace at any given time.
It doesn’t stop at the workplace either. People with an X personality type will also change their approach in social situations, creating a complementary approach to the group to provide a fulfilling experience for everyone.
The down side of having a Type X personality in the office is that they can become very unpredictable. It becomes especially pronounced when the individual has introverted tendencies that are combined with leadership qualities.
Are the ABCD Personality Types Permanent?
We all have a personality based on our personal experiences, preferences, opinions, and approaches to life. That is why someone might experience a personality shift over time. As their personal experiences change, so does their perception of the world.
The shift in perception then creates a shift in their personality.
You can also decide to make changes to your personality right now. If you’re tired of dealing with a highly stressful work environment that focuses on competition, then change your environment. Take a risk. Embrace the idea of a laid-back lifestyle for a change.
Some people will argue that a personality doesn’t change because they have tried to do so, but then failed to create the outcome they wanted. It is important to remember that they are underlying mental health issues, physical health issues, and certain fears which can stop a personality change from occurring.
Before the desired change can occur, you may need to treat an underlying condition.
At the end of the day, when you know more about yourself, then you can focus on your strengths and build up your weaknesses. That will make you more effective as an employee. It will help you understand why you react in certain ways in social situations. Best of all, it will help you recognize new opportunities where your personality traits can lead you toward greater success.
Keith Miller has over 25 years of experience as a CEO and serial entrepreneur. As an entrepreneur, he has founded several multi-million dollar companies. As a writer, Keith's work has been mentioned in CIO Magazine, Workable, BizTech, and The Charlotte Observer. If you have any questions about the content of this blog post, then please send our content editing team a message here.