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Hire on personality; train on tasks. Some of the most successful businesses follow this mantra rather than recruiting first—or only—on skills and experience. However, can hiring on personality help a practice recruit, train, and retain the right talent for a service-minded practice or medi-spa? The quick answer is: Absolutely! Personality can make the difference between simply building a team and building an effective, dynamic team.

Hiring on persona requires a clear understanding of personality types. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® is one of the most commonly referenced individual assessment tools. It was developed on the foundations of psychologist Carl Jung. While Myers-Briggs is not used specifically for screening candidates, its four major preference categories serve as the foundations of many assessment programs:

Favorite world: An introvert focuses on one’s inner world and is commonly considered “shy,” whereas an extrovert is more focused on the outer world and is seen as “sociable.”
Information: How one processes information can be based on sensing, a basic intake of information, or intuition, where information is interpreted and meaning added.
Decisions: How one makes decisions is either led by thinking, using fact and logic, or feeling, relying on emotion and circumstance.
Structure: How one deals with the outside world can either be a get-it-done judging personality or an open-minded perceiving personality.

While savvy, corporate HR departments may extensively test on personality, understanding the principals of personality traits and screening for them can be overwhelming to a practice. A less complex model based on the foundations of Jung is to categorize key personality traits by color. Insight® Discovery can be a formal test or used loosely to help screen for the presence of certain personality “color energies” for key team positions.

Fiery red: A driving force in getting things done, red personalities show little emotion, are very businesslike in their approach, and lead with strong purpose.
Sunshine yellow: Sociable, more relaxed, and cheerleaders for others, yellow personalities are extroverts with optimism and influence.
Earth green: Calm, caring, and friendly, green personalities tend to be sensitive to others and their own feelings, shying away from conflict or debate.
Cool blue: Analytical and logical in their approach to tasks and other people, blue personalities are formal and cautious, which often is mistaken for being cold and uncaring.

Elements of a Team

Generally, there are five major roles that make up a practice team. Applying Insight Discovery to recruit and hire for specific roles is a logical approach, with one caveat: no individual carries only one set of personality traits, nor should you hire exclusively on one color energy or personality trait. Since individuals frequently express traits in each of the color energies at different times, looking for dominant or leading traits is essential to accurately assessing if a certain personality type is right for a role.

Let’s examine the impact of personality and color on the five key roles in a practice:

Providers. These are licensed professionals who provide a billable service to patients (i.e., physicians and mid-level providers such as a physician assistant, nurse practitioner, cosmetic nurse provider, and aesthetician).

Providers most often lead with blue or red energy. As clinicians, they are highly analytical, precise, and deliberate. A provider can be taught injection or treatment techniques, how to use a specific piece of equipment or new technology, or a protocol for treatment. However, one cannot be “taught” the confidence that a provider needs to make the right treatment decisions. Providers who do not easily demonstrate yellow or green personality traits can be seen as uncaring and having poor (or no) bedside manner. In these cases, a nurse or patient care coordinator who leads with green or yellow energy can help balance the patient encounter.

Front office personnel. This group serves as your frontline/patient-facing team, which consists of reception, concierge, and medical assistant roles. They manage patient communication, scheduling, and in-office patient flow.

Front office staff generally lead with yellow or green energy. They are social, extroverted, engaging, and persuasive. In this role, those who lead with blue or red personality may be perceived as cold, insensitive, and not interested in making a connection with patients. Meanwhile, front office personnel with little to no blue or red energy can be perceived as disorganized, lacking in detail oversight and time management skills, and unable to make on-the-spot decisions. Equally, yellow/green dominated personalities may be easily rattled or offended by unhappy patients who generally first voice their concerns to the front office. (Author’s note: Let this wide color spectrum serve as a deterrent for looking for just one dominate personality type.)

Back office personnel. These are the business professionals that keep your business running soundly and smoothly (e.g., practice manager, office manager, bookkeeping/accounting, billing and coding, webmaster, information technology, and legal).

Back office teams most often feature blue or red energies. They are detail-minded, task-oriented individuals who generally prefer to work behind the scenes rather than on the front line. A businesslike approach is essential in this role whether negotiating a contract or price, managing an unhappy patient, or setting goals and protocols for other team members. The back office should be able to take the data they generate/drive and translate it into meaningful and motivating tasks for the practice. A successful back office team should have some yellow energy in order to understand the creativity and socialization necessary for the practice to engage patients and be effective in recruiting, engaging, and navigating individuals through the patient experience continuum.

Engagers. These individuals serve as conduits to prospective and existing patients. Their main functions are to attract, educate, excite, inspire, and manage patient communications. They fill the roles of patient care coordinators, marketing and social media coordinators, and bloggers. Basically, they manage media, publicity, and community and professional relations.

Engagers lead with green and yellow personality traits. They are social, communicative, persuasive, and creative. They must excel at attracting and inspiring prospective and existing patients with sincerity and warmth. An engaging personality can be taught a practice’s mission and the details needed to credential providers and procedures. However, it is important to give them clear guidelines and protocols and keep them organized. In order for engagers to properly manage media and community relations, they also need some red and blue traits. For instance, they need to be efficient and action-oriented (red) to meet deadlines and factual and objective (blue) as it relates to messaging. The main caveat for engagers is that while they need to be cheerleaders and spark excitement, they need to be reminded to read the personalities of others and adjust accordingly.

Clinical support personnel. These are the licensed professionals dedicated to the safety and care of everyone in the practice. They are your surgical and scrub techs, support nursing staff, medical directors, and accreditation advisors.

The clinical support members that round out your practice staff often consist of individuals with blue energy — meticulous and focused. These are the team members who need to stay cool in emerging or unexpected situations. A dominating, “get it done” red mentality may be perceived as impatient in this role. The caveat here is that anesthetists, support nurses, and surgical techs are often on the front line with patients who are nervous or stressed. The sensitivity and compassion of an earthy green individual is beneficial to winning over those patients and making it a better experience all around.

Hiring Decisions

Understanding personality types is as important as considering qualifications in your hiring process. Incorporating a rainbow of personalities and a range of professional skills are essential to any successful team. If you hire on personality and train on tasks, you will be following in the footsteps of many successful businesses.

Author’s note: For more information on Insights Discovery, visit

Marie Czenko is a management consultant with the Allergan Practice Consulting Group of Allergan, PLC, a global pharmaceutical company headquartered in Dublin, Ireland. Ms. Czenko consults with medical aesthetic practices in the areas of financial analysis, practice valuations, human resource issues, internal and external marketing, leadership training and team building, sales training, compensation, and cosmetic practice development. She has more than 20 years of consulting and training experience. Prior to joining the Allergan Practice Consulting Group, Ms. Czenko was an independent practice management and transition consultant. Before that, she worked as a public education specialist with the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

Ms. Czenko is a frequent speaker at various professional conferences and symposia, as well as an author of practice management articles and guides in dermatology, plastic surgery, and ophthalmology.

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