Recently I took on a side job doing background investigations. Waaaay back in the day, when I was part of the military intelligence branch of the army, I did background investigations on military and civilian personnel, who held top secret security clearances, and who worked at the USAEUR (US Army Europe) Headquarters in Heidelberg.
What I'm doing now is low level compared to those days, yet human nature is human nature everywhere, with every rank or position.
There are three types of applicants (people who are applying for something—a job, a clearance, etc—I've encountered during an investigation.
Do you see yourself in one of these three? And if so, how would you interpret it?
(Those are two questions I've asked myself.)
The first type of applicant is the Non-Morpher. He exhibits the same behaviors in every setting he's in. I can talk to multiple employers, friends, club/team directors, from different periods of time, and they will all describe the same person. This applicant has a steady, core personality he lives out in every situation. The word "integrity" comes to mind—his words, thoughts, and actions are as one—always.
On the other hand, maybe he's on automatic pilot—cruising through life, not fully engaged, or cruising through life, afraid of turbulence.
The second type of applicant is the Mega-Morpher. With every new reference I interview, it feels like I'm investigating an entirely new person. One supervisor will report "he's outgoing and sociable," while another says "he's the quiet type." The next person I speak with will say, "he takes the initiative," while another says, "he's laid back—waits to be directed." I'll hear how this same person is "never frustrated," and "easily frustrated."
Maybe the applicant is a master chameleon, who adapts to every environment—interacting in a manner that allows him to fit in and thrive. Sort of a "when in Rome do as the Romans do—ability.
Or maybe he hasn't developed a core foundation; ergo, he changes with his surroundings, being ruled by what's around him instead of what's inside of him.
Or maybe what one boss considers "confidence" another feels is "cockiness." "Calm under pressure" to one supervisor, can be "lazy" to another. (If at all possible, work for someone who sees your temperament in a positive light.)
The third type of applicant is the Single-Situation Morpher. In this case, the majority of the interviews will describe the same character, but then out of nowhere (that's how it always feels), someone will give an entirely different depiction of the applicant. For example, he's been "reserved" for five interviews, but on the sixth he's a "gregarious extrovert." I actually love when this happens, because usually I'm looking at the activity in life the applicant is passionate about. It's during this one activity when the applicant becomes alive and reveals a part of himself otherwise untapped.
Sometimes it's the opposite—"he's sociable and communicative" in three interviews, but on the fourth, "he's closed up and unapproachable." This scenario opens up the possibility that this particular activity is the applicant's anti-passion, or that there's a serious personality conflict in the environment.
So those are three types of applicants I've come across, and it's made me wonder would my supervisors/friends/church /club/team members all say the same things about me? Would I be a one, two, or a three? And how would I translate the number—positively or negatively?
Am I living as fully, as genuinely as I could be?
How about you? Is there a number that describes you best?
All in Goodwill,