How Much Does Personality Matter In The Hiring Process?

 iStockphoto.com |  bonezboyz

iStockphoto.com | bonezboyz

How much does personality matter in the hiring process?

It’s often less a matter of personality, and more a matter of behaviors that impact the hiring equation.

In other words, companies will often have a variety of personalities working under their roof, but you will generally see consistent threads in their behaviors and competencies. For example, depending on the job function, you might find employers value demonstrated behaviors such as:

  • Action Orientation – Motivation to get stuff done

  • Business Acumen – Good sense of strategy and the industry

  • Creativity – Ability look at (and solve) problems a different way

  • Organizational Agility – Knowledgeable about how companies work, and how to successfully maneuver them

And so on. Hiring managers may or may not have terminology to put on this type of assessment, but this is generally what they’re looking for.

That said, the candidate’s personality does play a factor. Your manager will spend more waking hours with you than they will with their family in a given week. Therefore, if you’re charismatic, personable, and easy to get along with, you may have an easier time convincing an employer to hire you.

Conversely, if you demonstrate an inability to connect in a positive way with the team might not be offered that same job opportunity after an interview because they may negatively impact team dynamics. In my experience, 90% of job seekers fall somewhere on the spectrum between these two extremes, and in those cases the selection primarily tends to come down to a consideration of the candidate’s technical aptitude and competencies.

That said, some people have badly needed skills and expertise, and personality may not play a factor at all. If the company you’ve applied to is actively looking for a COBOL programmer, facing a deadline to fix some old spaghetti code, and you’re the first qualified candidate they’ve interviewed in months, you’re probably going to get an offer regardless of your interpersonal skills.


Scott Singer is the President and Founder of Insider Career Strategies Resume Writing & Career Coaching, a firm dedicated to guiding job seekers and companies through the job search and hiring process. Insider Career Strategies provides resume writing, LinkedIn profile development, and career coaching services, including a free resume review. You can email Scott Singer at scott.singer@insidercs.com, or via the website, www.insidercareerstrategies.com.