Companies, as well as individuals, have personality styles. At the foundation of each style is a cluster of values. Making a purchasing decision is a manifestation of these values. So is a hiring decision.

Values: Traditional Customer Care

A family-owned moving business, established in the 1950’s, has a strong reputation and tradition of customer care. It has resisted being swallowed up by its global competitors. To stay in business, it strives to employ those people who uphold its values. So how does this company determine an applicant’s values, which is at the core of personality style?

Five strapping fraternity brothers decided that working for this moving company would be the ideal summer job. Each was athletic, in good academic standing, and had strong outside references. They liked the idea that lifting furniture would allow them to work out and get paid for it. They were each confident of getting a job.

Testing the Applicant’s Values

When they arrived for the interview, they were immediately greeted with an activity. The owner walked with them to the local high school stadium where they were asked to climb 17 stairs to the top of the bleachers carrying a package. They were asked to place it on the landing where they would find a different parcel, which was to be delivered to the bottom. This task was to be repeated for each set of stairs around the stadium.

The young men thought they were being timed. Instead, the real test was how thoroughly and completely they followed instructions and took care of the boxes. Three of the fellows stopped at the 15th stair and, with a long reach set down the package and grabbed the next box. The other two fellows ran to the top landing each time and exchanged parcels before completing the circuit. Upon finishing the assignment, those three that had completed it by using a shortcut were immediately dismissed while the other two men were invited to continue the interview process.

Values Are Consistent Across Activities

The owner knew that how someone showed up in one activity is how they would show up in all activities. By cutting corners on the stairway exercise, this moving company could weed out those individuals who valued expediency over meticulousness. That small discrepancy gave the owner the information needed to select employees who would maintain its high standards of excellent customer service.

When you identify and match the values and personality style, you’ll easily and quickly build rapport that leads to closed sales.

About Dr. Nancy Zare

A retired professor and psychologist, Dr. Nancy Zare originated the AlikeAbility™ System to teach service-based sales professionals how to read personality styles and close more sales. She offers a complimentary video, “If the Shoe Fits” that helps you identify your prospect’s buying style from the shoes they wear. Contact her at to receive your copy by email.