You might have heard the recruiting phrase, ‘hire for personality, train for skill’ – but how true is it?
When you interview two candidates with similar skills and qualifications, the hiring decision ultimately comes down to whichever candidate ‘wows’ you on the day with something other than their hard skills – the candidates with the skills and personality usually get selected.
So in answer to the previous question; yes, personality traits are very important to employers, when they come with a candidate who either has or has the potential to possess the hard skills needed to do the job.
In this article, I want to talk about what personality traits you should be looking to hire into your organisation, and when a personality trait is sometimes just as vital as a skill or qualification – yes, this is sometimes the case.
Spot the Difference
Let me get you to think about the scenario I mentioned in the previous paragraph.
Imagine you have a vacancy for a tax accountant position in your business, and you interview two candidates who both have the required amount of experience with reputable firms, but on the day of the interview, they give two very different interviews.
One candidate talks at length about their passion for the role, their hunger for a new challenge and how they still take pleasure from all aspects of their job, despite this being their 15th year in the sector.
The other candidate is less enthusiastic; they spend more time talking about the parts of their job they would like to change, and tell you they prefer working on their own rather than part of a team.
I would like you to bear this scenario in mind, and at the end of this article, I will advise you on the type of personality traits that will add real value to your business, and how to spot these traits in the interview.
Know Your Team
So, you’ve got a vacancy for a tax specialist, but you’re only a small team. How much thought did you give to the personality traits that your current team possess when you hired them? How well do your current team get along – and is this because you had a personality hiring strategy in place, or was it a happy accident?
Understanding the identity and the drives of each member of your team is the first step to knowing the ‘type’ of person you need.
If your place of work is relatively small and there is a friendly but conscientious atmosphere, will hiring a boisterous ‘wild card’ really be a good idea – even if they have all of the desirable qualifications?
When you begin your hiring process for your new team member, the first thing you need to do is map out the traits within your current team. Having a company value statement for your organisation is a great way to ensure you continually hire people whose attitudes fit with your vision – for example:
“We’re a customer-focused team who takes pride in our authentic and ethical working practices.”
Have this value and vision statement at the forefront of your mind when making your next hiring decision; better still, have it made into a physical sign and displayed somewhere prominently in the office.
How Important is the ‘Right’ Personality?
If you’re still thinking ‘but surely, skills are more important than personality traits’, let’s take a look at some data.
A study conducted by global learning institute Hyper Island on the future of hiring returned some surprising results. They interviewed over 500 CEOs, managing directors and creative directors on the top qualities they look for in a new hire, and an overwhelming majority of 79% stated that ‘personality’ was the most important.
‘Skill-set’ received just 39%, which was beaten by ‘cultural alignment’ which received 53%.
And Virgin Group founder, billionaire Richard Branson, echoed this sentiment in a recent LinkedIn article, where he stated :
“The first thing to look for when searching for a great employee is somebody with a personality that fits with your company culture – most skills can be learned, but it is difficult to train people on their personality.”
Personality Traits to Hire for Success
As a hiring manager, it is your job to make sure that you hire employees who can bring the team closer to the organisational goal, but also to create a strong team who can work together. There is no point in having great individual talent if they are dysfunctional in the way they operate as a whole.
The following is a list of the most desirable personality traits to look for in your new hire, which will add real value to your organisation –
- Openness – these individuals are receptive to new ideas, changing processes and have innate innovation; all great qualities.
- Honesty – in a team of any size, you need to know that you can trust every member implicitly.
- Independent thinkers – these individuals are great at challenging the status quo and pushing for changes for the better of the whole organisation.
- Passion and enthusiasm – a candidate who is slightly less qualified but far more passionate about the role is always worth a second interview.
- A team player – lookout for suggestions that your candidate is driven by working as a team towards a common goal.
If you have struggled to identify and attract the ‘right’ kind of candidates to your organisation, or need assistance with your hiring processes, contact Jobfitts today to find out how we can help.