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Understanding the INFJ personality type: The Counsellor

Written by: Charlotte Rogers
Published on: 24 May 2021

The Counselor Hero Image

In this week’s instalment of the personality series, we are discussing the INFJ personality type. We have gone into detail about potential strengths and weaknesses this type has and how they can harness these to better their interview techniques. We have discussed many personality types before this one in the E&TJ Career and Advice section, so if this isn’t right for you, we’re sure you’ll find something more suiting on our site.

INFJ’s are also known as The Counsellor. Typically, they are creative individuals with a strong sense and drive to help others around them realise their own potential. They not only have a talent for helping others, but a passion for it too. Their dedication is what allows them to help other people face their challenges.

INFJ’s often have a good sense of judgement, they have strong intuition and can tell what someone else is feeling. Hence, the name, The Counsellor. An INFJ are often sensitive people and like to keep their lives private. They are happy to help others with their personal problems but are reluctant to share their own thoughts and feelings.

What does INFJ stand for?

Introvert – They prefer to have time on their own. Not to say that they don’t enjoy time spent with others, but they are energized by time alone.

INtuitive - They like to work with ideas and concepts, rather than facts and specific details. This also entails that they are more of a creative personality type, preferring to have their own way of solving problems.

Feeling – Their choices are often made based on their own feelings and values. They like to keep to what they believe in.

Judging – They prefer to be organised rather than spontaneous. This is often the case for both their work and personal lives, organisation simply works for INFJ types and makes them feel more secure.

INFJ’s are highly motivated people. They want to understand the people around them and help and support them to achieve their goals, but they are incredibly driven to their own way of doing things. In other words, they can be a little bit stubborn and prefer to do things their own way. They can be seen as reserved at first, but if they believe in something, they will stick to it, even if it means speaking up about the situation. They do work well with others, but if someone has a different idea they don’t agree with, it may become difficult.

Strengths of an INFJ type

Compassionate – As an INFJ type, you are probably very quick to recognise unhappiness or worry in your friends, family and even work colleagues. You simply have an instinct when it comes to other people’s feelings and although you don’t want to pry, you simply can’t help but want to make their day a little better. Compassion can go a long way, especially in the workplace. Not everything works out perfectly 100% of the time and being there to support others and offer a helping hand, is something employers wish every candidate had.

Practical thinking – You like to be a little creative with problem solving, but you also like to be practical. The ability to master both gives you an edge with solving problems at work, you think differently to others. You can see through situations and actually enjoy coming up with the solutions. Engineering can come with its challenges, so this is a great skill to have when looking for a new role.

Decisive nature – Problems and challenges are there to overcome and sometimes a quick decision is exactly what they need. The INFJ type is extremely resilient and will follow through with their plans and have the decisiveness nature to change course as needed and follow through until the project is finished or the problem resolved. Sometimes, you need to be decisive and a popular interview question is ‘Explain a time where you had to make a hard decision?’. You probably have many an answer and find it easier than some to make hard decisions, because someone has to! Make sure to think about this before your next interview and be ready to show of your skills.

INFJ weaknesses

Sensitive nature – An INFJ’s decisive nature can be both a blessing and a curse. Once they have made up their minds, they don’t tend to stray from their choices. They are very confident in themselves and the choices they make and may take negatively to any form of criticism that may come their way. Everyone can make mistakes and bad choices, INFJ’s just react sensitively to making a bad choice. If working in a team, you need to be open to criticism because it’s likely that at one point, you will receive some. Try and look at it from their point of view. It can be hard to doubt yourself, but sometimes, the other person may be right. It’s worth learning from them.

Hate conflict – Like a lot of other personality types, the INFJ doesn’t like conflict. They almost try and run from it whenever it presents itself, whether that be at home or at work. However, most people, like the INFJ don’t see the positives that conflict can bring. It has a time and a place but can help everyone involved share their views on the situation. Being open and honest can present positives and bring new ideas to light, not all conflict is yelling at each other. Again, you can learn from other people’s experiences and better your knowledge if you take the time to listen to them.

Might overlook the small details – When you have an idea and a potential resolution to a problem, The Counsellor, likes to make sure it is fixed and sorted ASAP. However, not all plans are fool proof and when you’re only focusing on the end result, small details can be overlooked and can affect the outcome. Details matter to the INFJ in principal but aren’t as aware of the small things as they want to be.

How can you work on your flaws and become a better candidate?

Employers aren’t looking for someone that is perfect. If they are, they’re not going to find it any time soon. Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses, but it’s how they analyse what they need to improve and have the motivation to make change.

It might be time to try and give others the benefit of the doubt. INFJ’s are very dedicated to what they do and can be very particular. It may be that they prefer to do things their way because they can see the bigger picture and know how they want something to pan out. But you’re only human and you can’t do everything all of the time. People around you will have great ideas and it’s a good idea to start listening to them, even if you think your way is better. We can learn from the people around us and they can make us better professionals.

INFJ’s are introverts and often don’t share with people outside of their own circle. Meaning that their talents are hidden, even though they have great skills to contribute to a company. In the case of INFJ’s, opposites really do attract. Try putting yourself out there, even though it might be out of your comfort zone and try to build relationships with extraverted people. It can help you become more naturally open and willing to share! You know you have great ideas, so get talking!

Often, interviewers are open to giving feedback, so try and not be too sensitive about what they say. They’re only trying to help you develop yourself, so you can do better in your next interview. You are a very practical person and often highly motivated by your own ideas, so don’t give up because someone gives you tips for improvement!