Jobs and Their Inherent Behaviors

Jobs and Their Inherent Behaviors

If you’re a regular reader of any of our material, you’ll know we talk a lot about ‘the job.’ Phrases like ‘if the job could talk’ or ‘let the job talk’ are mentioned regularly. This is a big part of our philosophy on hiring: you have to understand ‘what the job needs’ before you even consider hiring or promoting an employee into the position.

You’ll also see this thinking come up when we talk about Job Benchmarking, and that’s what I want to talk about in this post. This is going to be a two-parter. This week I’m going to discuss ‘Jobs and Their Inherent Behaviors’ and next week I’ll tackle ‘Jobs and Their Inherent Motivations.’ If you haven’t read this post or this one, they will catch you up. I’ll be referencing DISC a lot in this article, so if you need a refresher look here and here.

I’m going to tell you today about what behaviors are ‘inherent’ (that means built into, non-negotiable, always present) in different common jobs in today’s workforce.

Let me preface this by saying this is based on our vast experience doing benchmarks and helping our clients hire. They are also generalizations - the only way to know for sure what behaviors a job needs, and in what intensity those behaviors are needed, is to do a customized, unique job benchmark. Even jobs with the same title differ depending on the type of company, the size of the company, and a whole host of other factors.

That said, let’s jump in.


Not surprisingly, successful CEO’s come from all across the behavioral spectrum. If the CEO is the owner or founder, the company culture, habits, and decision making tend to ‘grow’ around the CEO’s style. If you’re hiring a CEO for an existing company, it’s very important to know what type of CEO you are looking for - they are not created equally.

Here’s some broad categories:

High D’s: high D CEO’s thrive in growth oriented companies in aggressive environments. Many of the CEO’s of the larger companies we work with are high D’s because it takes aggression, competition, and a willingness to win to rise to the top. High D’s make quick decisions, embrace change, and normally have a fast pace, which is necessary in fields such as healthcare.

High I’s: high I CEO’s are great in companies that have a sharp focus on selling, or that are highly political. High I CEO’s need strong systems and processes underneath them throughout the company and tend to struggle with ‘turnarounds’ - there are too many difficult decisions involving people and fixing processes that need to be handled.

High S’s: S CEO’s do well as collaborative leaders who facilitate decision making and processes. If surrounded by a strong, trusted team, S CEO’s can draw out the best ideas from the team, promote collaboration, and provide reliable and consistent leadership. They tend to struggle in an environment where every decision is on their shoulders, where they have to constantly sell their ideas, or where the demands on them change regularly.

High C’s: high C CEO’s are excellent cost cutters who have a keen eye on systems and processes. They tend to scrutinize data and analyze information to build up strong processes. They emphasize low risk decision making and will seek to implement strong policies and procedures. Environments where quick, gut level decision making is required, or high levels of extraversion or interaction, can be difficult for them.

Outside Sales

Many companies I talk to are always on the lookout for top line outside sales. Good ones are difficult to find but provide massive advantages to the companies who have them. In general, you need a D/I profile for outside salesmen. The behavioral needs of the job are usually interaction, urgency, competitiveness, and versatility. If you place someone in an outside sales role who’s behavioral patterns are low in these areas, it is generally a bad fit.

Inside Sales/Account Management

Inside sales roles or account managers tend to have a different behavioral makeup to outside sales people. These roles normally work with existing clients to meet their needs or with industry insiders/experts to increase existing sales. In general, you want a high I/S with a moderate C for these positions. The behavioral needs of the job are usually customer focus, persistence, consistency, and analysis.

Customer Service

Customer Service roles are pretty variable, and they range from a small amount of interaction with customers to rapid, frequent, transactional interaction. It is one of those roles for which you need a customized benchmark that fits your customer service needs. But, in general, you want a high I/S with a moderate C or moderate D in this role, depending on the speed and urgency with which you need to communicate with and serve customers. Important behaviors for this job are customer focus (obviously), interaction, consistency, and persistence. If you need a rapid response to customer needs you’ll also want higher urgency, and if your customer service is heavily skewed towards ensuring they follow policy and procedures you want a higher tendency towards following policy/compliance.

IT and Technology

The IT function has been growing in importance and companies are aggressively hiring programmers, developers, and troubleshooters to work in IT. These roles generally have a high technical component, as well as serving internal customers by helping them with their IT needs. In general, you’re looking for a high S/C with a moderate to high I. For the technical side of the role, the behaviors need to be consistency, analysis, organized workplace, and persistence. More and more companies want to make sure that their IT employees are friendly and helpful towards the rest of the staff, so customer focus and people orientation are both important behaviors as well.

This is a long one already, so I think I’ll cut it off here. If you’d like to know more or start hiring smart, get in touch with us. We are experts at getting the right people in the right place.