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Should You Make a “Personality Hire”? What You Need to Know

Lately, the idea of “personality hire” has sparked considerable debate. Are you familiar with this trend?

It extends beyond evaluating candidates purely on their technical skills or qualifications, incorporating their interpersonal abilities, attitude, and how well they mesh with the company’s culture.

In today’s dynamic workplace, a personable, motivated individual can significantly contribute to an organization’s success.

Yet, it’s worth questioning whether prioritizing personality in the hiring process is an effective, innovative, and ethical approach.

Let’s explore some critical dimensions of hiring based on personality to help you determine its potential to enhance your work environment and its suitability for your business.

Some General Information About Personality Hire

So, “Personality hire” is when a candidate is hired primarily because of their soft skills. Instead of hiring a candidate for the position for their knowledge and hard skills related to the open position.

We can immediately refer to such soft skills:

  • Strong communication skills;
  • Confident and friendly personality;
  • Ability to cooperate with people;
  • Enthusiasm and readiness for new challenges.

People who are hired for their personality may not meet all the criteria for skills and qualifications.

However, they demonstrate the right attitude, social skills, and cultural fit that allows them to connect with team members and company values.

When Personality Is More Important Than Skills

Personality will always play an important role in the workplace, especially in teamwork or customer service.

However, there are times when good personality traits will be more important than your new hire’s skills. 

These cases include:

  • Low-skilled jobs and entry-level positions;
  • Training jobs;
  • When it is building (or updating) a corporate culture;
  • Small companies where people can perform more than one task;
  • Jobs where skills or tasks are constantly evolving or changing;
  • Management positions;
  • When there are a lot of highly qualified candidates to choose from.

Reasons to Favor Personality Hire

Personality plays an important role in how well an employee gets along with coworkers and management, adapts to their role, and enjoys their work.

A personality that is a good fit for your company is more likely to thrive in the workplace.

Here are some compelling reasons why personality can be more important than skills or experience in certain areas:

The Specialist Can Increase Their Knowledge

While a candidate might lack the immediate skill set required for the position, their motivation and enthusiasm can highlight their potential for skill development.

With adequate training and mentorship, they can rapidly acquire the necessary expertise.

​​Reduced Staff Turnover

When the selection of an employee is grounded not only in professional skills but also in personal qualities that align with the corporate culture, it enhances the probability of them remaining with your company for an extended duration.

Soft Skills Always Complement Hard Skills

Regardless of the type of work you do, interpersonal skills such as communication and emotional intelligence are just as important as technical knowledge.

Everything works the same way as in the previous point. Candidates with the right attitude can acquire the necessary “hard” skills over time.

Company Culture Plays a Role

The atmosphere in the team and the overall values of the company will affect the level of employee satisfaction and retention.

If the majority of your employees are actively involved in the life of the company and have warm and friendly relationships within the team, it can significantly improve the conditions for cooperation.

Reducing the Likelihood of Making Wrong Management Decisions

Imagine that you have a valuable employee who always delivers excellent work results.

As is often the case, you see that they are coping with the workload very well, and you expand the range of their responsibilities and assign new tasks.

But if you don’t understand their personal qualities and assign them tasks that go beyond their comfort zone, you can turn their favorite job into a real chore.

Individuals Build a Team

Often, outgoing and friendly talent excel at building team relationships. This will certainly help your collaboration, overcome isolation, and facilitate the exchange of knowledge or ideas. 

More Effective Solution to Complex Situations

Once again, if your company is built on shared values and respect for everyone’s personal qualities, this will have significant advantages in difficult situations.

Your employees will have fewer internal conflicts or be better able to resolve them.

More Creativity and Innovation

Diversity recruitment is about respecting the variety of personalities. This, in turn, can contribute to a more creative and innovative work environment.

By taking all these aspects into account, you can use personalized hiring as a tool to build a strong, cohesive, and highly effective team.

Potential Disadvantages of Personality Hire

The ability to boost morale and excel in communication are undoubtedly valuable, but they may not always translate into an employee’s professional skills.

On the one hand, research shows that hiring for a positive attitude and adaptability can be a strategic move. On the other hand, there are some drawbacks to hiring for personality traits.

When you focus only on personality traits and not on qualifications, the following risks can arise:

Lack of Direct Candidate Experience

A hired employee may be very nice or enthusiastic, but if your business requires serious experience for a certain position, the cooperation may not work out.

A lack of practical experience can limit their ability to handle critical tasks and responsibilities. 

And without the basic skills needed for the new position, adaptation, and training can be very difficult.

Frustration for the Team

Imagine having to spend a lot of time training or correcting the work of an under-qualified employee.

It’s no wonder that this can cause resentment and negativity. In addition, it also distracts the team from fulfilling their responsibilities. So be careful about this.

Promotes Unconscious Bias

Evaluating candidates based on vague, subjective criteria such as “culture fit” or “communication skills” often leads to unconscious bias. 

Without objective skills criteria, hiring becomes vulnerable to any kind of discrimination 

Given these potential drawbacks, it is important to find a balance between assessing candidates’ personal qualities and their professional skills and developing a specific hiring strategy

Balance as Your Key to Success

Instead of taking a strict pro- or con-oriented approach, the best strategy is to seek a balance.

Specifically, focus on finding candidates with both technical and soft skills. 

The right compromise is to find well-rounded candidates who align with the company’s values while demonstrating relevant hard skills, experience, and knowledge. 

With the right balance, your company can create a cohesive team that is ready to tackle complex challenges and deliver exceptional results.

HireUA specialists are always ready to help with this. They have extensive experience and will guide you in determining the right direction of work and help you find the best talent in the shortest possible time.

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8 Interview Questions to Determine Personality 

Despite some drawbacks, we still recognize how important it is to understand the keys to making a choice when hiring.

Depending on your company’s culture and values, you’ll likely have some specific interview questions to help you determine if a candidate is a good fit for your team.

But if you’re looking for general questions to guide your personality assessment, the options below will be very helpful: 

1. “Do You Prefer to Work Independently or in a Team?”

This question is very important for determining personality fit. It can clearly show whether the candidate will enjoy their role in your company.

Although most roles have some differences, most of them will be dominated by either independent work or teamwork.

Therefore, if your company has a lot of remote employees who mostly work independently, a candidate who prefers teamwork is unlikely to be a good hire.

2. “How Do You Define Success?”

Values alignment plays an important role in determining whether a person is a good fit for your company.

That’s why asking a candidate to define success will give you an idea of who they are as a person. 

Of course, you want motivated candidates who want to achieve the same goals as you or at least share the idea of success. This question will help you determine if the candidate is on the same page as you and your business.

3. “How Do You Handle Negative Feedback?”

Believe me, a candidate’s ability to handle negative feedback plays a huge role in whether they will succeed. Feedback is an integral part of the culture of any modern company.

Therefore, try to hire an employee who is comfortable with the way people give feedback in your company. 

Asking a candidate how they feel about negative feedback will not only give you a better idea of them as a person but also give you a sense of how they will deal with it if they become part of your team.

 4. “What Drives You in Your Professional Life?”

This question may be similar to a personal definition of success. However, determining a culture fit should also include an understanding of what motivates or drives the candidate in their career.

It is no secret that the best and most effective teams are those where all members are driven by the same desires or goals.

So if you’re looking to hire employees who are personally committed to the work your business does, this is a key question to ask.

5. “Are You Focused on the Big Picture or the Details?”

This question explores how a candidate approaches tasks and projects.

It can help you get a clear picture of whether a candidate is a good fit for a team that works on the details of projects or whether they would be more comfortable leading and organizing others. 

6. “How Do You Approach Problem-solving?”

One of the most useful questions to ask a candidate is how they are used to solving problems at work.

In many companies, the approach to problem-solving depends on their organizational culture. For example, they prefer employees to find potential solutions themselves before asking for help. 

If a candidate solves problems the same way you do, they will fit in better and adapt faster.

7. “How Would You Describe Your Ideal Manager?”

With this question, you will learn more about the candidate’s vision of the ideal way of leading.

Their answer will reveal information about how the potential employee perceives authority, what qualities they value most in a leader, and what motivational and communication approaches are most suitable for him. 

Note to yourself that the answers may range from a preference for a manager who actively intervenes in the work process to a desire to have a manager who gives more autonomy and responsibility.  

8. “How Do You Maintain a Work-life Balance?”

Not sure how to test a candidate’s time management skills? This seemingly easy question will provide information about it. 

You will also learn more about the level of ability to set and maintain boundaries between professional and personal aspects of life.

After all, the ability to maintain a healthy work-life balance is key to long-term performance and job satisfaction.

So, if you want to hire employees who fit your personality and culture, take a close look at what kind of person will work best with your clients and projects.

Should You Make a “Personality Hire”: Conclusion 

The allure of personality hire is clear: a person’s character traits can indeed be invaluable to a team. However, this optimism may wane when significant skill gaps become apparent.

Placing too much emphasis on personality in the hiring process can inadvertently disrupt team dynamics.

In essence, while personable and motivated individuals can greatly contribute to a workplace, relying exclusively on subjective assessments of soft skills poses inherent risks.

It’s crucial to maintain a balance by seeking candidates who not only fit culturally through their personality and mindset but also bring the necessary hard skills and experience to the table.

This balanced approach is key to ensuring success both in the specific role and within the broader organizational culture.

HireUA specializes in identifying this equilibrium tailored specifically to your needs, enabling the formation of a diverse and competent team.

Such a team will collaborate effectively, driving innovation and leading your business to success. Remember, finding the right balance between skills and personality is essential.

Contact HireUA and we will help you build your dream team!

About The Author

Anastasia Marinich

Anastasia was born in Odesa and realized at an early age that her work should be creative & enjoyable.

While studying marketing in her hometown, she moved to Germany and continued her education at 2 universities at the same time.As the saying goes "Choose a job to your heart's content and you won't have to work a day of your life!"

Anastasia obtained a degree in Art and has a knack for it. She takes the same approach to writing. Each text is like a picture with a special message and mood. Everyone will find something useful for themselves!

Today Anastasia lives and works in Germany. She travels a lot, practices Ashtanga yoga, learns new things, and continues her creative journey with the HireUA team!
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