Hiring For Personality Over Skills

We always had a hiring philosophy at Nexxt, look for fit, then for skills. We were looking for people who would thrive in our fast paced, sometimes silly, high energy work environment. We wanted (and still want) people who wanted to learn and grow in their roles, own their areas of expertise, and be true team players. After determining those factors, we considered their skills.

We felt that candidates that were enthusiastic and had positive attitudes would be more willing to want to learn new skills, meet new goals, listen to each other, share their opinions, change directions when needed, and be part of the team, than someone who lacked interest in being part of a team that helped each other and our clients and customers.

You can train for skills and offer experiences to those who are seeking them, but you can’t train for attitude. 91% of HR professionals, when surveyed, said they’d prefer to hire a responsible candidate who needs some training over a someone who is incredibly talented but doesn’t have great character. Personality is important because…

Employees are the face of the company and every time they interact with a customer, they’re making and leaving an impression about your organization. People with good attitudes who engage with clients and customers matter.

A negative person can ruin the dynamic of the business. Positive people typically don’t want to engage with someone who’s negative, thus one bad apple spoils the bunch. Thoroughly vet candidates and check references to ensure they’ll be successful within your corporate structure.

People with positive attitudes are more coachable. When you have team members who are interested in doing their jobs better and are open to feedback—these people want to grow and succeed and want the same for your business.

Companies incur high costs when there’s high turnover, so hiring for attitude can save the company money, plus there’s that added bonus of boosted company morale.

So how do you spot people with great personalities during the job interview process? Is their tone positive? Do they sound positive? They should be humble and eager. Are they a good storyteller? Do they ask good questions during the interview? Are they just overall fun to talk to? Are they confident? Do they come off like they know what they’re talking about? Are they able to explain things in both simple and sophisticated ways? (Someone who uses a bunch of buzzwords, may actually be compensating for their lack of knowledge.) Do they demonstrate positive body language? For instance, do they smile a lot, make eye contact?

It’s key to get candidates to show off their true personality, not just the one they’re putting on to make a good impression in the interview. Get them to show off their true personality in a casual setting, whether that’s on a walk, at a restaurant, or while having a casual conversation in the interview room. Encourage them to share stories about their career and about challenges they’ve faced. Really listen to how they handled past situations. Do they place blame on others? Or do they take responsibility and find solutions to the problem?

Hiring for personality has several benefits. While skills can be taught, having the right attitude cannot. For a healthy work culture and the good of the company overall, focus on personality the next time you interview a candidate.

Nexxt is a recruitment media company that uses today’s most effective marketing tactics to reach the full spectrum of talent – from active to passive, and everything in between. Learn more about hiring with Nexxt.

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