Work-style: Perfectionism

Definition & Sample Interview Questions

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Written by Markellos Diorinos
Updated over a week ago

Perfectionism: A Desire for Flawless

Perfectionism refers to one’s tendency to pursue flawlessness. The trait has a range which includes two opposite poles namely Flexible and Perfectionist. Let’s examine both poles to better understand how we assess the Perfectionism trait.

Flexible: On the opposite pole of the Perfectionists there are the Flexible individuals. Flexible people tend to be more relaxed, playful and casual in their behavior. They can easily change their outlook and they tend to avoid advanced planning as they usually act in a spontaneous way driven by their impulses and needs. When unexpected events occur, flexible individuals are able to easily change their outlook or commitment. Hence they are able to deal with a dynamic and constantly changing workplace. They are not focusing on details and are less goal and task-oriented.

Common Descriptors: playful, spontaneous, casual, uncontrolled, undisciplined, careless

Perfectionist: Perfectionists are characterized by an orderly and organized approach in life which assists them in their continuous effort to produce flawless results. They tend to be highly self-disciplined and conscientious individuals who are able to control their impulses to conquer their goals. They tend to be extremely thorough and planful in their work as they accept nothing less than excellence. They usually prefer organized environments and are highly goal- oriented. Also, perfectionists can be the employees you count on when goals are needed to be achieved in a timely manner. Perfectionists demand the highest possible standards in everything they do and they are able to resolve potential roadblocks with persistence, until they get the job done in the best way possible. Perfectionists' desire for absolute flawlessness can in some cases become maladaptive.

Common Descriptors: organized, self-disciplined, socially precise, thorough, exacting will power, control, self-sentimental

In accordance with research findings, Bryq assessment provides an evidence-based way to assess the Perfectionism trait in order to provide you with insights that can assist in making informed decisions about the suitability of the candidates based on candidates scores on this specific trait.

Perfectionism Interview Guide

The interview questions listed below can draw revealing answers and get you on your way to finding whether employees are flexible or perfectionists. These interview questions will assess the degree of perfectionism of a candidate.

Note: There is no right or wrong answer, the answer you are seeking is based on what best fits the role and your company culture.

Top 2 questions and expected answers for each end of the scale

1.Tell me about a time when you had to accommodate unplanned activities or demands?

Perfectionist: Individuals who score closer towards the perfectionist end of the scale are most likely to answer that while they don’t prefer unplanned activities they took specific necessary steps to accommodate the demands in a planful, organized and timely manner. They are likely to focus on details as they are very thorough with their work and persistent to attend to their goals while keeping the highest possible standards.

Flexible: Individuals who score closer towards the flexible end of the scale are most likely to answer that they didn’t mind the new unplanned activities which were assigned to them, as they avoid advanced planning and organizing. They tend to follow their impulses, they are less task oriented and they are not attentive to details on the tasks that they have to complete.

2. When have you found it valuable to use a detailed checklist or procedure list to reduce potential errors on the job? What was the outcome? What would you do differently today?

Perfectionist: Individuals who score closer towards the perfectionist end of the scale are most likely to answer that they find a detailed list of the tasks they have to complete extremely useful. Given that they tend to be highly organized and planful in their day to day life they would perceive a detailed checklist as a necessary tool which would allow them not only to complete the task in a timely manner but also to avoid potential mistakes so as to provide the best possible end result. They are likely to suggest that they would follow the same procedure for future tasks.

Flexible: Individuals who score closer towards the flexible end of the scale are most likely to answer that a detailed list suggesting specific steps for the completion of a task is exaggerated. They tend to avoid structured and organized approaches and they would likely prefer to complete a task by using their spontaneous ideas. They are not highly attentive to details so they would most likely consider mistakes as an inevitable part of the job. They would most likely approach tasks in the same manner in the future.

Question pool:

3. Describe a situation where you had to adjust quickly to changes over which you had no control. What was the impact of the change on you?

4. Tell me about a time when you had to change your point of view or plans to take into account new information or changing priorities.

5. Describe an example of a time when you had to approach people (with different perspectives) for support or cooperation. How did you appeal to each person? What was the result?

6. Tell me about a time when your work effort didn’t go as planned (blocked by obstacles). How did you resolve this issue? What was the outcome?

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