Hiring for Personality Instead of Experience 0

Hiring for personality over experience—case in point: Dwight Schrute.

Dwight Schrute may have over a decade of experience and an excellent sales record, but do you really want him on your team? Image via.

Hiring new employees is never an easy process. Hiring managers can receive hundreds of applications for a single position, and weeding out the majority of those applications can be daunting, and tiresome.

Typically, human resources staff will make it a little easier on themselves by eliminating certain candidates based on their lack of experience. The applicants with the most relevant work experience will likely be called for an interview, while those with the least will probably not move to the next round. Other factors considered in the first round of application review typically include an applicant’s educational background and skill set.

Personality and interpersonal skills are not typically evaluated until the interview stage, if they’re taken into consideration at all. By then, the applicants whose personalities are the best fits for the position may already have been weeded out.

Although the interview is a great opportunity to evaluate personality, many employers also do not put much weight on this factor. In the end, experience and special skills often win out. However, an applicant’s personality can be a much better indicator of how well they’ll do in their job.

Here are some important reasons why personality should be given greater weight in the hiring process:

Skills can be learned

An applicant’s skills and knowledge of the field are almost always considered more important than personality in a potential hire. However, the fact of the matter is this: skills can be learned, but people can’t change their personalities.

Once thrown in a job, most people can learn the required skills very quickly. According to LinkedIn, workers on average know all the ins and outs of a new position after about three months. However, personal qualities are rather ingrained and cannot be changed, at least not very easily or quickly. With this in mind, an applicant’s work ethic, honesty, willingness to learn, charisma, and compatibility with the rest of the team are often far more important.

When a mattress company is hiring for their sales team, which do you think they would rather get: an outgoing, positive thinker with a great personality who doesn’t have much experience with mattresses, or a fifteen-year sales veteran who is so bored with selling that he has a hard time forcing a smile when customers walk in the door?

The right team can make all the difference

Few jobs are done totally alone. Even if your employees are fairly autonomous, they’ll still have to work together from time to time. Teamwork is often especially important for large and important projects.

With this in mind, you should do your best to hire a group of people that work well together. It can be difficult to decipher if a candidate will click with the rest of the department. However, personality is often a good first indicator.

When you interview a candidate, ask yourself how similar or different his or her personality is from the rest of your staff’s. That’s not to say that everyone working for you should have the same personality, but people with radically different personalities tend to clash more.

Because it can be difficult to evaluate an individual’s personality in a single interview, some hiring managers are also asking employees to take the Myer-Briggs, Big Five Profile, or Occupational Interest Inventory tests as part of the recruitment process.

Go for the positive

In my experience, the number-one personality trait to hire for is a positive attitude. If I’m looking to hire you, you don’t have to be overwhelmingly bubbly, but I also don’t want someone who’s going to be a complainer.

We’ve all worked in offices where the mood is absolutely dreadful because everyone is so negative all the time. It sucks the life out of the room and makes the days drag on an on.

Back when I started work at Safer Brand, I was immediately impressed at how happy everyone was. People were complimenting each other, smiling, and genuinely optimistic about coming into work every day. The positivity of the environment was such a contrast from my previous employer that it really stuck with me as one of the keys to have a successful workplace.

Taking these factors into consideration, do you think personality is an important qualification for new hires? Or do you think experience is more important?
Answer our poll below!

About the Author Scott Huntington is an entrepreneur, writer, and blogger specializing in small business. Follow Scott on Google+ Read more »

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