Ever hired someone who was perfect on paper – great resume, nailed the interview – but something just didn't click? The team dynamic wasn’t there, the collaboration was off, and the kind of company culture you were trying to create seemed just out of reach.
As a society, we obsess over skills and experience, sifting through CVs and with a feverish focus on those that tick all the corporate boxes. But in this relentless pursuit we often overlook the key to creating a thriving workplace and the foundation of a strong company culture: personality.
Yes, you read that right. Hiring for personality isn’t a fluffy add-on, it’s an essential recruitment strategy that ensures the alignment of your company values and enhances workplace collaboration and innovation.
Research shows that organisations with a strong company culture have up to 72% higher employee engagement and companies with a highly engaged workforce are 21% more profitable. A strong culture drives success and having the right personalities on your team is essential to fostering that culture.
Hiring for personality is a strategic game-changer that transforms "good enough" companies into vibrant hubs of productivity and happiness. Skills can be taught, but shared values and personality traits cannot.
So, before you reach for the next CV brimming with bullet points, remember, the perfect candidate isn't just technically skilled – they're someone who clicks with your culture, and brings their unique personality to the table in a way that elevates the team dynamic.
Ditch the one-size-fits-all approach and build a team that truly clicks.
Hiring for personality is a people focused approach to hiring. Afterall, the greatest asset of any company is it’s people and choosing the right person to join your team shouldn’t be a tick box exercise. This recruitment strategy ditches the generic and embraces genuine human connection and understanding, prioritising cultural fit, shared values and compatible personalities.
Personality-based recruitment is not a rejection of skill-based hiring strategies. The right candidate should possess a good balance of the right technical skills and personality traits. Of course companies should hire people who are qualified for a role. That’s obvious. However they should also consider prioritising candidates who’s ethos and soft skills would add value to the company.
Traits like communication, teamwork, and adaptability can prove extremely valuable to an organisations collaborative and innovative efforts. Positive thinkers who bring their infectious optimism to your Monday morning meeting can help set a forward thinking tone and motivate the team. And those creative thinkers with strong problem-solving skills can prove most useful in sticky situations, crafting innovative solutions that baffle even the most experienced and technically proficient workers.
Overall, hiring for personality is about finding people who not only excel at the job but also resonate with your company's ethos, bringing their own enthusiasm and vibrancy to the table.
So, how do we go about hiring for personality?
The interview process is the ideal stage to discover more about the people behind the CV’s. Asking the right questions and listening carefully to the responses will help give you an idea of the candidates personalities. You should consider what the best personality types for specific roles are as well as how those personality traits would fit into your existing team and add value to the culture.
Forget "Tell me about your strengths." Instead ask behavioural questions, like "Describe a situation where you overcame a major obstacle," or “How do you handle conflicts with your colleagues.” These real-world scenarios reveal communication styles, problem-solving skills, and that all-important ability to navigate tricky interpersonal situations.
Studies have shown that a combination of Personality Based Questions and Situational Questions proved the most accurate predictor of job performance.
Useful personality testing tools like William Moulton Marston’s DISC model or Myers-Briggs personality type indicator aren't crystal balls, but they can reveal valuable insights into how candidates communicate, resolve conflicts and manage stress. This can prove useful in highlighting cultural alignments between a candidate and a company, like discovering that both share a passion for open communication and innovative thinking.
Using personality tests in the hiring process can help you to ask the right questions during interviews and highlight any cultural or personality conflicts that may arise. It also helps to identify those all-important soft skills that are often overlooked during the recruitment process, such as emotional intelligence, creativity, adaptability and interpersonal skills.
Culture-fit questions spark conversations about values, motivations, and aspirations. Ask "What does a thriving workplace look like to you?" or "Describe your ideal company culture." These conversations unearth shared values, intrinsic motivators, and that elusive "spark" that ignites a sense of belonging – the kind that fuels genuine enthusiasm and shared purpose.
A Forbes study revealed that diverse personalities boost creativity, innovation, and even profits.
Remember, hiring for personality isn't about finding clones of your existing workforce. It's about building a diverse team through personality, minimising interpersonal conflicts, creating a positive work environment and improving employee retention.
Did you know that younger generations of job seekers are more likely to favour a positive culture over higher salaries? Deloitte and NEW research report that 77% of Gen Z describe working for a company whose values aligned with their own as “vital”.
Companies are now expected to offer employees more than just a decent salary and the basic perks. Candidates are seeking to find their fit and are more attracted to organisations that prioritise wellbeing, collaboration and open communication as part of their company values and culture. Companies are also beginning to recognise that having the right personalities onboard, as well as the right combinations of skills is a driver of success.
Hiring for personality comes with a range of benefits which all contribute to building a stronger company culture. From improving employee engagement and retention, to enhancing teamwork, boosting creativity, improving DEI, and predicting job performance, the benefits are vast and varied.
Employee engagement is a crucial factor in determining the overall success of a company. Research from Gallup indicates that companies with highly engaged employees outperform their competitors by 147% in earnings per share.
Hiring for personality ensures that individuals not only possess the necessary technical skills but also align with the company's ethos, creating a workplace where employees feel understood and valued. This alignment leads to higher job satisfaction, increased motivation, greater productivity and a more positive work atmosphere.
People are the lifeblood of any organisation and their ability to collaborate as a team can make or break a company. The dynamics within a team play a pivotal role in achieving collective goals. By hiring for personality, companies can assemble teams with shared traits such as communication, adaptability, and collaboration.
A study published in the Harvard Business Review revealed that teams with diverse personalities outperform homogeneous teams in terms of problem-solving abilities and are more likely to drive profitable returns. Shared personality traits facilitate better communication, cooperation, and conflict resolution, while diversity of thought, experiences and backgrounds stimulate innovations and drive business growth.
High turnover rates pose significant challenges for companies, resulting in increased recruitment costs and disruptions in workflow. Personality-based hiring leads to better hiring decisions, as individuals who align with the company's culture are more likely to stay for the long term.
Understanding the personality needs of potential employees helps create a work environment where individuals feel a sense of belonging, reducing turnover and increasing overall retention rates. Identifying toxic personality traits in candidates can help avoid hiring the wrong people, and minimise personality clashes in the workplace that could disrupt productivity and impact team morale.
Diverse yet complimentary personalities bring fresh ideas and approaches, stimulating innovation. Personality-based hiring brings together individuals with diverse perspectives and strengths, fostering an environment where innovation and creativity thrive.
A personality-led hiring approach highlights traits and soft skills that individuals from varying religious, ethnic, gender and neurodiverse backgrounds may poses which would add value to your existing workforce.
Countless studies have proved that diverse teams are more likely to outperform their homogenous and neurotypical counterparts when it comes to innovation, problem solving, and profit driving ability.
By considering personality traits alongside technical skills, organisations can unlock the full potential of their workforce, improve creativity and foster a more progressive and inclusive workplace culture.
Unfortunately for most larger organisations, changing the way you hire requires a well thought-out strategic approach which may involve retraining your recruitment teams, building new application and interview practices as well as creating the collateral required for each stage of the process.
Let’s break this down into manageable steps:
Step 1: Start by assessing your existing company culture. What is good about it and what could be improved. Identify the core values that shape your culture and the personality traits that align with those values.
Step 2: Combine company values with the desired personality traits you’ve identified to create a profile of what an ideal candidate would be like.
Note: Do not let this “ideal” bias you against candidates of varying backgrounds. You should ideally form a diverse team to help you identify the personality traits that are most valuable to your organisation and ensure they are also involved in crafting that ideal candidate profile.
Remember the idea is not to create a team of identical individuals, but one that’s values are aligned despite their many differences.
Step 3: Choose an assessment tool. Explore the different types of personality assessment tools and select on that best fits your goals and budget. Pre-screening assessments shouldn't be time-consuming. Choose a tools that’s quick and easy for candidates to use and identifies key personality traits. Focus on what’s relevant. Look for assessments that provide insights into communication styles, work preferences, and potential cultural fit.
Step 4: Interpret the data. Use pre-screening assessments to discover communication styles, work preferences, and even potential cultural clashes early on. Filter out candidates who are unlikely to align with your culture to save time and resources and use insights from the assessment to inform your interview questions.
Personalise each interview based on what you already know about the candidate and gain deeper insights during the interview stage.
Personality-based hiring can be a powerful tool, but it's important to be aware of potential biases that can creep in. Here are some key points to remember:
Mind your own biases: We all have unconscious biases, so be mindful of your own and how they might influence your hiring decisions. Consider asking for feedback from diverse team members to help identify and address any blind spots.
Choose diverse tools and models: Not all personality assessments are created equal. Look for tools that are validated and unbiased, and avoid relying solely on one type of assessment. Consider incorporating assessments focused on skills and experience alongside personality testing.
Interpret data with care: Don't use personality data to stereotype or exclude candidates. Look for the strengths and potential contributions of each individual, regardless of their personality type. Focus on how diverse personalities can complement each other and build a stronger team.
Promote inclusivity throughout the process: Make sure all candidates feel welcome and respected throughout the hiring process. Use inclusive language and avoid asking discriminatory questions. Ensure your interview panel is diverse and representative of your company culture.
Remember, it's about fit, not clones: You're not looking for perfect clones of your existing team. Embrace diversity and look for individuals whose strengths and values align with your company culture. A well-rounded team with different personalities can be more creative, innovative, and successful.
By being mindful of these points, you can harness the power of personality-based hiring while avoiding potential pitfalls. Building a truly harmonious and diverse team takes effort and awareness, but the rewards are well worth it.
Hiring for personality goes beyond traditional methods to seek out not just the right skills, but the right fit. This approach is designed to identify candidates who have shared values and complementary personality traits which strengthen company culture and make team collaboration more natural.
By identifying candidates whose natural tendencies resonate with your company culture, you cultivate a space where employees feel engaged, satisfied, and motivated to contribute their best. This translates to greater retention and loyalty, a valuable asset in today's competitive talent market. This dynamic environment also fuels innovation and propels the team towards collective success.
Furthermore, hiring for personality broadens your talent pool. When you prioritise cultural fit alongside skills and experience, you attract a wider range of qualified candidates who may not necessarily tick all the traditional boxes. This opens the door to fresh perspectives, unique skills, and new approaches, ultimately enriching your team and boosting its capacity for growth.
Finally, harmonious onboarding of a new start reduces friction in your team, and accelerates productivity. Such smooth integration fosters a stronger team bond and a more positive work environment for everyone.
Remember, diversity is key. Embrace different personalities and leverage their unique strengths to build a well-rounded, dynamic team. Seek out individuals who resonate with your culture and contribute their individual talents to the collective goals.
Hiring for personality is not a HR fad. In fact, Psychology Today reports that around 80% of Fortune 500 companies use personality tests to vet applicants of upper-level positions.
So what are you waiting for?
If you’re looking for transformative HR support, contact our team today.
About the author
Michael, or Mike, is the CEO of Vitro and works closely with clients to discuss and define their current and future HR ambitions across the talent management spectrum. He knows that technology and process improvements are the greatest organisational enablers and understands systems and processes which can help an organisation meet their needs.
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