Category Archives: Autobiography

Analytical Profiling of Job Candidates by Personality Type

The young science of personality type analysis and implementation of behavioral pattern predictors provide Human Resource managers with new tools to aid in selecting high level candidates for positions of high level responsibilities and leadership. Careful candidate selection for upper level executive positions is of crucial importance to an organization’s long term viability. An organization’s success is as dependent on the compatibility of its people as it is on marketplace competitiveness. By combining questionnaires such as the Meyers-Briggs Personality Assessment, resume history profiling and body language analysis, today’s Human Resource managers have powerful tools to reduce hiring candidates that may prove to be a poor fit.

As early as the 1500’s the godfather of political science Niccolo Machiavelli wrote his still famous book “The Prince” on topics of distinct patterns of behavior that proved consistent among successful rulers of the time. Machiavelli served as a trusted political adviser to rulers of his time and was trusted to teach his scientific approach to the applied psychology of leadership to the future successors of power. It is his study of applied social psychology and his beliefs that public perception of a leader are more likely the product of careful marketing rather than actual leadership competency is the founding principal of political science. One of the most often quoted Machiavellian lines that captures personality profiling for rulers of his era is: “What makes the prince contemptible is being considered changeable, trifling, effeminate, cowardly, or indecisive; he should avoid this as a pilot does a reef, and make sure that his actions bespeak greatness, courage, seriousness of purpose, and strength” (Machiavelli 46)

The United States military later furthered the application of this science as far back as the 1800s and later became one of the first to nations to invest millions of dollars in computer software to calculate which enlisted men that would make the most effective military officers.  It was believed that the officers to be trusted to follow and confidently implement orders from the chain of command fit a very small minority of the general population. It was generally agreed that the position did not rely as heavily on intelligence or charisma as it relied on an unwavering confidence in the mission’s orders. In fact it is rumored that unusually high intelligence is a disqualifier for entry level officer positions, however the military selection criteria are carefully guarded secrets. It would be safe to assume that the judging criteria is confidential to protect against potentially resourceful candidates from teaching themselves how to mimic the qualifying behavioral patterns (Ramsden 5-9).

For hundreds of years since political parties carefully study which potential nominees to back in order to ensure that the ideal candidate receives their financial backing. The party hopes that through superior job performance the correct candidate will provide his party with the greatest prestige, which in turn will provide increased power and financial backing for the party. The stakes are great not just for the political parties but the results of the actions of the new leaders will have far reaching and long term effects on an entire world of people. Selecting the best candidates for these positions of power justifies development of very precise tools to aid the selection process (Ramsden 43).

In the corporate world the stakes can run almost as high as the politics or military positions, since jobs, evolving technology and economies of great scale can have a great impact on a society. For example corporations such as Wal-Mart and General Motors have annual revenues greater than all but the most advanced countries gross national product. Selecting the top leaders of organizations of their scale justifies a considerable investment of technology, time and money. What research has shown is that the personality assessment tests and body language patterns among potential and retired upper management of these massive corporations is surprisingly similar (Tiger 21). However, upper management in other industries indicate different personality profiles than those largest blue chip corporations, while the profile of long term successful leaders in those industry remained consistent (Ramsden 174).

Leadership profiles for science and engineering fields are often measured by their natural process of problem solving and creative ingenuity, however personality profiling for upper management is weighted very heavily on the candidate’s process of information, tolerance for risk and resulting command for action as well as their interpersonal diplomacy (Cascio 395). In different industries various combinations of priority must be taken in relations to the investigative, exploring, determining, evaluating, commitment and timing of strategy changes. For instance in fast paced technology fields such as software an ideal candidate might be best suited to possess traits that causes them to skip quickly through the determining and evaluating stages of the process to get unique ideas onto the marketplace ahead of competitors.  However successful candidates for mature, low tech industries with high environmental risks such petroleum production would be better suited to possess traits that prioritize determining and evaluative stages of decision making (Ramsden 266).

The field of human resources is widely recognizing that success in a particular type of industry almost routinely predicts failure at the helm of a company in another industry. However, many managers craving new challenges defect in response to offers from other industries. If the industry requires similar traits the new position will likely enjoy some success (Ramsden 328). However when moving to an industry of considerably different skill sets, the transition often results in a disaster. Imagine the founders of Google trying their hand at managing a corporation that produces nuclear power.

Understanding the importance of identifying personality types that have proven successful in similar companies or similar positions is the first step. Consistently identifying those personality types among the applicants is the second step. Some of the clues will be found on the resume with what types of jobs the candidate has the longest experience with, it is unlikely to find someone such as a detail oriented analyst that would fit an opening for the new staff accountant that also has a 5 year history in outside sales on his job history. It is equally unlikely to discover a successful candidate for software developer position has resume history that includes of 12 years as a bartender (Ramsden 146). On a very consistent level people are drawn to careers that they are most comfortable with and 10 years or more in the workforce typically reveals a gradual migration to positions where the job requirements mirror the person’s talents (Oglive).

In today’s hiring processes most large organizations require candidates for all positions to complete a Myers-Briggs style personality preferences questionnaire while submitting the standard application for employment. The 70-210 question test uncovers if the natural decision making preferences of the applicant coincide with the duties they will likely find in their new position. Many applicants do not have a clear vision of what the daily work regimen would be like in the position they are applying for. If hired into a position that requires them to perform tasks far outside of those they are most comfortable with, both the employee and the employer suffer.

A large mature company may have hundreds of employees in similar positions that an applicant is applying for, the personality assessments for those contented and productive employees can be analyzed and compared to the personality preferences of potential applicants. The same company will likely also have data records of new hires that did not work well in the position and can use this data to discover that their profiles differed considerably from those successful new hires. Myers-Briggs style personality assessments uncover preferences that can identify which candidates are not only qualified, but those who will also enjoy the work and work well with teammates (Oglive 3).

The latest tool integrated into the process was popularized by the 1993 book that founded the science of body language analysis written by Pamela Ramsden and Jody Zacharias titled “Action Profiling –Generating Competitive Edge Through Realizing Management Potential.” Ramsden’s research added a new abstract art to the science of behavioral profiling. Their revolutionary book is still considered the reference book that founded the scientific study of body language profiling as a predictor in upper management candidates success. The book provides initial analytical interview notes and the subsequent long term performance case studies of 15 high level corporate executives. These long term case studies showed that the prototype analytical system used during the interview process accurately predicted these executives long term success with their new employer. “Action Profiling” had later become so highly regarded in the field of human resources that it had become required reading for Harvard Business School MBA program for several years (Ramsden 3).

Over the past 30 years the interpretation of body language analysis has earned its place as a credible subset in the sciences of applied psychology. Gradual technological advancements in high speed digital cameras and computerized analysis are building a precision field of body language profiling. For example with extremely high levels of consistency individuals that test high in the test area of Sensory inclinations areas also exhibit erect postures a graceful gait and typically have a history of athletic success.  With some measure of predictability these erect sitting stiff candidates are also measurably less likely to have graduate degrees or excel in positions that require creative outputs. In another example candidates that walk with an exceptionally fast pace regardless of where they are walking to typically test high in Decisiveness and are also normally extremely well groomed and dressed, these types also routinely prefer positions with authority to manage subordinates (Oglive 4)

Long term studies of predictive reliability of pre-employment Meyers-Briggs self-assessment questionnaires give hope that once broken down into consistently measurable analytical parameters employee productivity and further developed that body language analysis can become one of the highest profit tools in business management (Tracy 36).  Analytical models for body language predictors were based on finding consistent correlations between patterns of body language types and their remarkably consistent Meyers-Briggs answers (Demarais 18). It is with those correlation findings that psychology researchers are gaining confidence that long term behavioral patterns can be predicted by combining a battery of written tests along with an interview to help isolate which candidates will ultimately provide a large organization with its most effective leadership qualities (Cascio 53).

Ultimately much is at stake in the selection process of top level executives and a successful human resources manager will employ an arsenal of scientific tools to aid in making the best selection of available candidates for the position. Beginning with resume history, criminal and personal credit evaluations, candidates that have successful experience in similar positions will be invited to take skills based testing and Meyers-Briggs style personality assessments to further identify candidates most likely to excel in the job description. Once the field has been trimmed to the final 10% of qualified applicants, a multi session personal interview with several trained analysts in separate settings is justified. These interviews should include evaluations by several body language experts to confirm that the personality measured on their Meyers-Briggs is consistent with body language interpretation. The economy of massive scale that depends on CEO level positions performance justifies the application of as much science and research as is available to protect against the costs of a bad hire at the highest levels.

Work Cited

Cascio, William F. Applied Psychology in Human Resource Management Sixth Edition.

             Upper Saddle River: Pearson Publishing, 2005. Print.

Demarias, Ann. First Impressions: What You Don’t Know About how Others See You.

             New York: Bantam Dell Publishing, 2004. Print.

Machiavellli, Niccolo. The Prince. Second Edition. London: W. Norton and Company Publishing,

1992. Print.

Ogilvie, Rosemary. Understanding Personality Types – Extrovert or Introvert.  Her Magazine

August 2009. Internet June 18, 2012

Ramsden, Pamela. Action Profiling: Generating Competitive Edge Through Realizing

             Management Potential. Brookfield: Gower Publishing, 1993. Print.

Tieger, Paul D. The Art of Speed Reading People: Harness the Power of Personality Type.

Boston: Little, Brown and Company Publishing, 1998. Print.

Tracy, Brian. Hire and Keep the Best People: 21 Practical and Proven Techniques. San Francisco:

Berrett-Koehler Publishing, 2001. Print.

Birth Order Effect on Personality Development



The long term

influence of a child’s birth order has been a deeply debated and thoroughly

researched aspect of developmental psychology. Society has embraced birth order

theory as popular psychology and many psychologists agree that influence of

birth order shapes our later life choices which impact our social interactions,

choice of professions and relationship strategy. Critics of birth order theory

argue that changes measured in later life are shown that can alter the previous

influence of the birth order, therefore this contradiction would indicate that

birth order is a temporary environmental influence which can be eliminated by

later life environmental changes rather then a steady biological factor of

imbedded trait development.


Birth Order Influence on Childhood Personality Development


Austrian Psychoanalyst Alfred Adler published initial

papers on Birth Order Theory in the early 1900’s. Adler defined his theory that

the oldest child’s personality develops differently after he is “dethroned” by

the next child who then becomes the new focus of his parent’s attention, he is

then assigned a unique role as a surrogate parent to help raise his younger

siblings at the sacrifice of his own self interest. The youngest child or only

child does not grow through a period of mentoring subordinate siblings and

therefore lacks some developmental character building experience into adulthood

(Adler 1928).  For many years since birth

order stereotypes have been a common household belief, society had previously

found little reason to question the early scientific studies that reaffirmed

Adler’s original concept.

However more recent research pointed out a lack of

consistent evidence for birth order influence on adult personality on a large

scale. And studies in late adulthood fail to find remaining influences of birth

order behavioral traits. Using more precise scientific controls for statistical

reliability, modern researchers have failed to produce statistically

significant evidence to support these widely believed stereotypes of birth

order behavior (Paulhus, 1998).

Birth Order Traits

Oldest Child Traits

Oldest children are observed to be

intelligent, energetic, logical, ambitious, enterprising, conscientious,

punctual, scholarly, socially conservative, emotionally neurotic and self

confident. Eldest children have shown a measurable intelligence advantage over

their younger siblings. The intelligence advantage is reliably supported when

contrasted against only children who did not share this measurable intelligence

advantage over the population as a whole. The theories for the eldest advantage

typically attribute it to the intellectual development gained from tutoring

younger siblings early in life (Ernst, 1983).

Eldest most often pursue goal oriented

accomplishment to demonstrate superiority in competitions of social ideals to

win affection from parents. Over 70 percent of entrepreneurs, 90 percent of

astronauts, 80 percent of Nobel Prize winners and 65% of American presidents

were eldest children, and these statistics climb dramatically as we adjust for

second born who are the oldest male in a family. They are consistently found in

leadership occupations, have the highest rate of military service, and are

dramatically overrepresented in political, law enforcement and corporate

leadership; they also dominate precision sciences such as law, medicine and

engineering. They exhibit a higher then average resistance to change, and are

most likely to demonstrate aggression when met with resistance from

subordinates (Sulloway 2001).  They are

found in measurably low concentrations in fields that offer limited structure

and instead reward creativity such as sales, advertising, art and music.

Middle Child Traits

Typical middle child traits are measured to be

cooperative, flexible diplomatic mediators of social conflict. Middle children

also self report the highest scores of suspicion, mistrust and cynicism of

intentions of their superiors; however they have the highest loyalty rating to

their subordinates of any birth rank (Sulloway, 2001).

Middle children never enjoyed the unique period of home life

as an only child like the eldest and youngest enjoy at some point. To

compensate for this hardship, middle children focus on developing a supportive

social circle outside of the home, investing their energy cultivating

friendships and alliances with their peers.

Middle children become more financially and emotionally

independent and typically live the furthest distance from the parents later in

life. They are also the least likely to return home for family gatherings or to

ask their parents for financial assistance (Sulloway 2001). Of the trait of

generosity, middles offer their subordinates the highest rates compensation in

the workplace and are more likely to offer acts of reciprocal altruism in

effort to build a team approach to tasks. Middle children have been measured to

rate their childhood as unloving and unsupportive on self-assessment

questionnaires (Ernst, 1983).

Middle children are most likely to enter professions that

require diplomacy, innovation, reward risk, as well as fields which allow creative

latitude in establishing their duties and the pace which the tasks must be

accomplished. Middle children are overrepresented in the fields of fine art,

advertising, sales, mediation, education, psychology and personnel management.

Middle born children have been found to be measurably underrepresented in

military service and strictly structured corporate cultures (Sulloway,


Youngest Child Traits

Youngest children are observed to be the most empathetic,

creative, carefree, liberal, and rebellious. Behavioral testing indicates them

to be risk takers, idealists, witty, secretive and emotionally immature for

their age. They more then any other birth order excel at artistic pursuits

especially the performing arts of acting, dancing and music. They are playful

even as adults and develop a tactful non-confrontational approach to social

interactions often relying on humor and flattery to persuade others to their

point of view (Sulloway, 2001). They have been measured to have some emotional

underdevelopment which may be from lacking the experience of watching a

biological duplicate of themselves at varying stages of maturity as any older

sibling can witness, this unique perspective may be key to a keen emotional


A  study uncovered

an unusually high incidence of homosexuality in youngest sons, Edward Miller

further studied that data on the phenomena in his book Homosexuality,

Birth Order

and Evolution which indicated that the more older brothers a male has, the

higher probability he will be homosexual. This birth order sexual preference

however has not found a measurable correlation to females in either the number

of older sisters the male has or any measurable influence of female

homosexuality (Miller, 2009).

Only Children

Only children have been measured to mature

faster, have higher verbal test scores, and are perceived as responsible,

self-centered, perfectionists. Only children especially only males demonstrate,

high levels of work ethic and career oriented achievement and are observed to

demonstrate the longest enduring commitment to goals.  While society seems to universally stereotype

only children as spoiled and selfish, a study of over 5000 Chinese families

with only children were compared to peers with siblings, that research failed

to uncover any statistical disadvantage to the long term success of only

children. (Sulloway, 2001)


A study published in the 1980s showed no correlation

between birth order and the big five personality traits of randomly selected

population in military entrance assessments (Ernst 1983). However Sulloway has

found that when studying each individual within a family the influence of birth

order is remarkably defined, however when comparing personality traits across

all members of society that birth order has a very weak influence on

personality traits. Paulhus believes this can be explained by accepting the

fact the birth order is a weaker influence then heredity of behavioral

genetics. This theory could explain why the 2nd born from 100

different families can measure much differently on personality assessments

however still exhibit 2nd born traits when compared with their

siblings within their family (Sulloway, 2001).

Further support of birth order impact on personality was

found in  a 2009 study documented that

first, middle and last born adults subconsciously self segregated themselves

into workgroups when assigned a group project. This natural selection of group

project partners suggests that we have a subconscious awareness in our own

behavioral traits and can unknowingly perceive them in those around us to allow

us to partner up with peers that share our priorities (Miller, 2009).


Adler, Alfred.

1928. “Characteristics of the First, Second, and Third Child”,

Children, 3, 14-52.

Ernst, Cécile

& Angst, Jules. 1983. Birth Order: Its Influence on Personality.

Berlin and New York



Paulhus, D.L., Trapnell, P.D., & Chen, D. (1998).

Birth order effects on personality and


within families. Psychological Science, 10, 482-488.

Miller, Edward. Homosexuality,

Birth Order and Evolution. (February 2000) Archives of Sexual

Behavior No. 29 . 1-34

Sulloway, F.J. (2001). Birth Order, Sibling Competition,

and Human Behavior.