Let me tell you about how I got my first job as a content writer. I was still a student with a CV that had more in common with a blank page than it should have. I was craving for financial independence. I was applying to one job after another. I got rejected, time after time. Presumably, because I lacked experience.
When all my hopes had vanished, I still had one interview left. I walked into a room, and the first thing that caught my eye was a pile of curriculum vitaes on the office desk. It terrified me. When the interview was over, I thought it was time wasted.
The next week, when I had already forgotten about that job, I received a phone call. Congratulations, we want you on our team! I was genuinely surprised.
Later, the company explained their hiring strategy to me — personality over experience. They cast aside my CV and valued my strive for independence, motivation, and honesty. And I didn’t disappoint, I did my best. Because all of the employees on the team were people like me, the team culture thrived — everybody wanted the company to succeed.
So let’s get into the details of why you too should hire for personality instead of experience.
Skills Can be Learned
Unlike personalities, skills can be learned. I learned most of my content writing skills while on the job thanks to the helpful training and my willingness to learn.
According to Richard Branson, the job role can be mastered during a three month period. Branson too prefers personality over skills when hiring. So if one of the most successful businessmen on the globe does so, you should probably consider this method for yourself.
But don’t hope that a short interview will reveal all the ins and outs. Some people are introverted and need more time to open up. So, be very observant and ask the right questions.
Branson has another piece of advice for you — don’t be afraid of having mavericks on the team. People who are a bit different will bring a fresh perspective and vibe to the team. “Some of the best people we’ve ever hired didn’t seem to fit in at first, but proved to be indispensable over time,” writes Branson in his article.
Team Culture is a Priority
It’s a fact you can’t deny. We all love working with virtuous people who can potentially become our friends. And of course, we’ve all been in a situation when suddenly a new employee joins in and things start going down the hill. If someone with a bossy character joins the team of sweet-tempered people, the latter might eventually stop being all that sweet.
If you want a successful team culture, you should leave no place for bitterness. Believe me, one person can mess everything up. Been there, seen that. If gossip and rudeness penetrate the workplace, you might start losing good employees sooner than you think.
So when hiring a new employee, always keep the rest of the team in mind. Healthy team culture and workplace atmosphere should always be a priority.
Working with people with whom you share the same interests and values is a bliss. Every day it becomes a motivation to get out of bed and head to work. When suited personalities come together, they’ll do magic.
Healthy company culture will also help new employees quickly adapt to the workplace and commit to the job long term. Employees are more loyal when they identify with their team and the company.
Hire for Positive Mindset
You don’t want complainers on your team. You can hire people with a wealth of experience, but what’s the benefit if they nag all the time? Negative workplace atmosphere will decrease productivity. Time at work goes by when people are positive and have a good laugh from time to time.
What Traits Do Employees Need to Have?
It all sounds compelling, but isn’t it a little bit vague? What does it mean to have a good personality that would benefit the company? Here are personality traits you should look for in prospective employees.
Being able to work in a team is key. But don’t mistake shyness for the inability to be a good team member. Quite the opposite, shy people have a unique ability to lead. People who can’t wait to show off won’t be the best addition to your team. So beware of personality types that can intimidate.
Go for candidates who are independent but never bossy. Independent employees will bring together a diverse team of critical thinkers.
People who don’t take no for an answer. If someone is willing to work hard to succeed, then let them join in. People with persistent character will definitely motivate those around them.
People who are open to new experiences and ideas and ready to take the risk when necessary.
Do they try to see the big picture and have creative problem-solving skills? If yes, they’re a good fit.
Remember that personality traits go hand in hand with positions. For example, look for curiosity and goal directness in sales candidates. For customer service representatives, consider people who are warm, open, and above all have a genuine desire to help. When hiring project managers, look for excellent time management and soft leadership. And last but not least, people in your IT and web department better be persistent and creative.
You can come up with a general profile for different positions and tailor your interview questions accordingly. Parallel to that, work on a training program for new employees. So if you decide to hire ambitious students, you have enough resources to help them grow and benefit your company.
Skills can be learned, personalities cannot. And more often than not, it is the character that will determine a lot. Two people can have the same skills, but the way they apply those can vary. Creative thinkers will always find a way out. So keep an eye on them.