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Should You Hire for Personality Instead of Skills?

February 13, 2017 By: Dave Rietsema
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In the days of old when employees came into businesses and filled out paper applications, personality was easier to assess at early stages in the hiring process. With the advent of new recruitment technologies, hiring is now faster and easier, but assessing personality fit is often shuffled to the interview stage of the hiring process.

The following are a few reasons you may wish to consider bringing personality back to a priority position in the recruitment process.

Positivity Can Brighten Up the Team

A single positive employee can help to brighten everyone’s day. This in turn can help to improve productivity and job satisfaction among the team. Positivity can be contagious, so you may see your employees smiling more often and getting more done after hiring someone that has an upbeat personality.

Skills Can Be Taught

Richard Branson has said “In my eyes, personality always wins over book smarts. Company knowledge and job-specific skills can be learned, but you can’t train a personality.” Any manager that has dealt with an employee with great credentials but poor interpersonal skills can agree with this statement.

While skills shouldn’t be completely discounted, it’s often better to hire someone that fulfills most skill requirements and has a personality that fits with the company culture than someone that has a plethora of skills but a difficult personality or personality that doesn’t fit with the company culture.

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Closed-Mindedness Makes Training Difficult

Beware of employees that talk about “the way things were at…(their last job).” It can be tough to train employees that are reluctant to learn a new way to do things. Try to gear some interview questions towards figuring out how employees would handle different situations and whether they would be open to trying new methods that differ from their previous experience.

Problem Solvers Are Adaptable

People that are good at solving problems or that enjoy figuring out solutions will often be able to readily adapt to many situations that come up during the course of employment. Again, geared interview questions can help you to assess this personality trait. You may ask questions with multiple choice answers that will help you determine whether an employee will seek management assistance for every slight issue or attempt creative solves.

Finger Pointers Can Cause Conflict

People that blame others in every scenario can cause conflict between employees and bring down the company culture. Finger pointers will rarely take responsibility for their own actions when those actions have negative results, choosing instead to blame the company or others.

The finger pointing personality trait often comes out when you ask applicants about why they left previous positions. They may blame a previous manager for issues or say negative things about the company or their peers. You may also ask interview questions that assess an employee’s reaction to hypothetical situations where they or others made a mistake.

Personality can have a big impact on how well an employee fits with your other staff and works within your company.

While ATS solutions and recruitment technology has delayed human interaction in the hiring process slightly, you can still gear your processes to assess personality. Aside from being aware of personality during interview stages, you can also modify keyword filtering and loosen up skills requirements so that you are able to get a feel for an employee’s personality before they are “weeded out” of the applicant pool.


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Let us help you find the solution to optimize your recruitment processes. Better recruitment processes can help your company to attract top talent, move employees from candidate status to actionable positions faster, and improve employee satisfaction – all while saving you time and stress. Paperless recruitment solutions also mean better organization and less work to meet compliance requirements.

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