Skills versus personality … which one is more important in a job candidate?
A successful long-term employee has a personality that matches both their role within your company and your workplace culture. And while skills, knowledge and ability can be developed with experience, an employee’s personality is unlikely to change.
- In one study of more than 500 HR leaders, 78 percent chose “personality” as the quality they most desired in their employees. This was followed by “cultural alignment” and lastly, “skill set.”
- As noted by Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, “the first thing to look for when searching for a great employee is somebody with a personality that fits your company culture. Most skills can be learned, but it is difficult to train people on their personality. If you can find people who are fun, friendly, caring, and love helping others, you are on to a winner.”
Hiring is a Balancing Act
The obvious first step in assessing any job candidate is reviewing their resume for evidence of hard skills. When you reach the interview stage, the focus shifts. This is your opportunity to really get to know an individual and gain insight into their personality and fit for the job.
- Ask the right questions. Dig below the surface so you fully understand a candidate’s motivation for applying. Questions like these provide a more in-depth look at a person’s work ethic and character: “What kinds of tasks to you like and dislike? What is an example of something you’ve done professionally that you are proud of? What is one thing you hope to never do again?” and “What did you learn about yourself in your last job?”
- Include multiple people in the interview process. People work effectively together when personalities match. When you interview a prospect, involve those who will work alongside them if they are hired. Their opinions can be invaluable when it comes to personality, team dynamics and cultural fit.
- Watch for nonverbal clues. Observe a candidate’s body language. For instance, if the role will require them to drive challenging situations forward, look for signs of assertiveness and confidence. If an individual demonstrates personality traits that clash with the position or your current team, reconsider hiring them – regardless of how promising their resume looks.
- Work with a specialized recruitment firm. Partner with a staffing agency that has a full understanding and familiarity with you, your company and your culture. They can help ensure you strike the right balance for successful candidate sourcing, screening, interviewing and hiring.
The PrideStaff Fresno team has a proven track record of matching top talent with leading employers. This starts with initial screening and resume review, and carries through to long-term hiring success. Read our related posts or contact us today for more information.