Personality Profile: The Hidden Part of the Iceberg

The hidden part of the iceberg will always come out. Here’s how a personality profile can help uncover these tendencies before they surface!


Christine Chartrand

VP Consulting Services

Thursday, June 09, 2022


I am fascinated by people. But most of all, I am fascinated by what drives their behavior, the elements underneath what they portray on the surface. Sometimes I can’t help but think of how differently people can experience the same event.

Imagine this: You are on the Titanic, enjoying its smooth and steadiness over the cold Atlantic Ocean, when all of a sudden, you feel the notorious iceberg collision. As time passes, panic sets in as there are less and less lifeboats available. I don’t know about you, but this crisis can bring out the best, and sometimes the worst, in people. And out come our natural reflexes!

A plethora of character traits and behaviors

Now, there’s usually a variety of reactions when faced with a stressful situation. Like our titanic example, there are those who become frustrated and pick a fight, while others are trying to break them up to maintain peace; some are offering their lifeboat seats to women and children, whereas others are aggressively trying to cut in line; there are those who are consoling their neighbours, and some are organizing their luggage in case of rescue; there are those who think the worst, while others try to remain hopeful; some are spontaneously jumping in the water and clinging to a piece of wood, while others are analysing the situation before leaping in; some won’t stop talking, and some are just completely detached from the situation altogether, fully involved in their music, as was the band that played until the end.

And of course, there are those natural leaders that show their true potential in exactly these types of situations.

What about at work?

It is interesting to know that people’s true selves emerge in stressful situations. Think about work and the stress that goes along with meeting deadlines, closing that sale, collaborating as a team, negotiating a deal, and having to make difficult and emotional decisions.

All to say that people’s true personalities have so many opportunities to come out. Sure, it’s not the sinking of a ship, but it’s day-to-day situations that we are faced with in our work. And some swim against the current a lot more than others!

Putting potential candidates to the test

When we are unsure if candidates are fit for a specific position, we are, in a way, putting their natural reflexes to the test. Hey, if you have all the time and money in the world to take these risks, then so be it. But a more effective approach to this “hit or miss” scenario is to uncover what strengths and innate potential these people have before seeing them in action.

Investing in such an employee assessment tool that provides a personality profile will drastically reduce hiring errors. Let’s face it, if they were all aggressive line-cutters, no one would be getting off the titanic in one piece!

Personality profile of emerging leaders

Many say that one’s leadership emerges (sometimes for the first time) in an emergency situation. But wouldn’t it be nice to know ahead of time who among your employees are natural leaders waiting to be noticed, or who have the blueprint for developing into successful leadership roles?

Trust me, you don’t want to wait for a “titanic-like” crisis to occur in order to spot them. If you are looking to fill a leadership role within your organization, you may want to look for qualities of a good leader within your existing human capital. So pay attention!

Recruiting can be tricky

For obvious reasons, some candidates will try to overestimate themselves or answer interview questions so they are seen in a better light. While this is not always the case, it’s better to be prepared to investigate further! What’s worse, hiring someone that was wrong for the job, or overlooking the perfect candidate?

Either way, these recruitment mistakes can be avoided. To support your already keen sense of selection and expertise, a psychometric test can bring a certain amount of uniformity and objectivity to the recruitment process.

Think in terms of the iceberg model

Without sounding too ironic, I wanted to bring up an iceberg model analogy, used by many to explain behaviour, and to which seems all too fitting for our Titanic example.

In any case, this model suggests that only a very small percentage of who we are is visible (tip of the iceberg, if you will), whereas the very core of our values, emotions, behaviours, and natural reflexes, stem from something much deeper, hence the mass iceberg formation that remains invisible under water.

These essential elements should… nay, NEED to be detected in order to make the best decision regarding your workforce. And they can be when using a personality profile.

When it comes to your selection process, a lot of candidate’s strengths and unique tendencies are not always so obvious, so invest in solutions that can generate a personality profile and help you uncover this hidden part of the iceberg in all your potential and current employees! No matter what pickle you find yourself in, take a step back and observe. People’s natural selves are likely to surface!

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