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Which Type of Worker are You Trying to Hire?

by | Apr 21, 2022 | For Companies

If you remember the scene from the finale of season 3 of The Office, Michael Scott is at Corporate in an interview with CFO David Wallace.  David starts, “So, let me ask you a question right off the bat, what do you think are your greatest strengths as a manager?”  Michael Scott responds, “Why don’t I tell you what my greatest weaknesses are?  I work too hard, I care too much and sometimes I can be too invested in my job.”  Can you relate?  Whether you are posing the question to a potential employee or the one answering the questions, sharing strengths and weaknesses during an interview can be challenging.  Is a certain strength sought after?  Is a particular weakness a dealbreaker?  What if this question was less about ‘getting to know you’ and was instead aimed at gaining valuable insight as to how a potential employee views work.

Research out of Yale by professor Amy Wrzesniewski argues that people can be divided into three categories: those who view work as a job, those who view work as a career, and those who see work as a calling central to their identity.  When an employee is looking for one type, but hires another, problems begin to arise.  A person’s view on work, or their work orientation is important.  A more recent report from Bain & Company explained that there are actually six types of work orientation.  After surveying 20,000 workers in 10 countries and conducting in-depth interviews with more than 100 employees, Bain concluded that workers fit into these six categories, each with their own strengths and weaknesses: operator, giver, artisan, explorer, striver, pioneer.

So what type of worker are you trying to hire?  If you know who you are dealing with you can not only hire the right person for the position but can also promote longevity for your existing team. 

Which type of worker are you and which type of workers do you need to complete your team?

We’re breaking down six types of workers below. Drop a comment below and share your thoughts.

1. Operator

This type of person is a work-to-live type.  They find meaning primarily outside of their job and are generally not motivated by status.  This type of person prefers stability and predictability.  Their greatest strength is that they are a team player.  Lack of proactiveness and easily disengaged would be considered weaknesses.

2. Giver

This work orientation is least motivated by money.  They find meaning in work that directly improves the lives of others.  Jobs, where they can interact and help others, is where they thrive.  People who are considered givers can be cautious and sometimes considered naive.  They are selfless and often help build trust within an organization.

3. Artisan

Well-positioned to solve the most complex challenges, this type of worker seeks out work that fascinates or inspires them.  They are motivated by the pursuit of mastery.  Being valued for their expertise means they are less concerned with status. However, they place less importance on camaraderie and can lose sight of bigger objectives.

4. Explorer

This type of worker is free-spirited.  They place high value on autonomy and experiences, often exploring multiple occupations during their career.  This can lead them to be viewed as directionless or lack conviction.  But, they will enthusiastically throw themselves at whatever task is required of them. 

5. Striver

This work orientation is disciplined and transparent.  They have a desire to make something of themselves.  Motivation comes from professional success and compensation.  They are often forward planners who avoid risk.  However, their competitiveness can break down trust and camaraderie.

6. Pioneer

With infectious energy, this type of worker is on a mission to change the world.  They want to bring about lasting change.  They are risk-tolerant and future-minded, often identifying deeply with their work.  Their vision matters more than anything which can lead them to be uncompromising and imperious.

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