Can Personality Get You Hired?

Employers use more than 2500 personality tests to assess the potential fit of candidates and to identify developmental opportunities for existing staff.  That number alone would suggest that personality is hugely important.  But it goes beyond that.  More and more, intuition is showing up as a popular topic in recruitment and interviewing forums.  It’s not enough to ensure candidates have the right skills, they also need the right personality to fit with the culture, speed, and vision of the organization. 

That may seem like a very unscientific approach — and it is.  Hiring is a tough exercise for everyone involved because it calls for stark honesty at a time when everyone involved is concentrating on putting their best foot forward.  Companies want the right talent at the right time — that means hiring people who will help them achieve their business objectives.  Candidates want an opportunity to show what they can do and be fairly compensated.  When the opportunity does not match the skills and abilities of the new hire, it’s bad for everyone.  So the more effort we put into bringing reality into the business interview, the better the fit assessment.

Where does likeability come in?  If you can put your interviewer and yourself at ease, getting to know each other will be a pleasant exercise and will happen more fully.  The more both sides open up, the better the assessment. People who don’t like each other tend not to share as much.

Likeability Best Practices

Use your first meeting to make a good impression.  Make eye contact with your interviewer and observe their tone and manner.  Listen to their questions carefully before answering.  Wherever possible, answer the question directly and then give back up details to help them understand the depth of your response.  Your interviewer is there to do a job.  Anything you can do to help them get the information they’re seeking will help you build a relationship with them — and that will help both of you assess your suitability for the job and the company’s suitability for you as an employer.

Remember to treat the receptionist with respect.  A candidate who is polite to management and dismissive to junior workers may be eliminated based on a perceived inability to work well with others.  I know some hiring managers who take prospective recruits out for coffee to observe how they treat wait staff.

Show your interest in the position by doing research.  There is no excuse these days not to know about the company’s vision, structure, and most important projects.  If you don’t have access to the Internet at home, your public library or government employment center likely has computers available to job seekers. 

Build Likeability Before You Meet By Avoiding These Practices

  • Sending an unsolicited resume along with a request for someone to review your qualifications to see where you fit.  This may come across as demanding and insensitive to the time constraints of the business.
  • Phoning a prospective employer from a noisy location.  Recruiters and hiring managers may feel that you are not serious about working with them.
  • Presenting a resume or cover letter with spelling errors or formatting problems.  This will convey a substandard work ethic.

Best wishes to all the job hunters out there. 



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