Building a team that gels together is a tricky task which eludes many business leaders and managers. It’s relatively easy to recruit and throw together a bunch of high-performing individuals without regard to their different personality types, but this can often lead to internal discord and division later down the line.
That’s why many managers now prioritise personality in the hiring process, often over the candidate’s skillset and past accomplishments. All of your research, interview prep and written documents (CV and cover letter) could amount to nothing if you haven’t given proper consideration to the type of personality the employer will be looking for.
Not everything that a hiring manager needs to know can be communicated on two pages of A4, which is why it’s so important that you convey your full personality during interview. You can certainly hint at the below character traits on all your written documents, but it’s in a face-to-face environment that you’re really given the opportunity to bring them to life.
Unlike the next trait, professionalism is something you can convey throughout the hiring process i.e. in written application documents and in person.
Prove that you have the potential to be a hardworking and dependable employee by meeting all the application deadlines in good time (including turning up to the interview on time), making sure your documents are error free, dressing correctly for the interview and communicating effectively throughout. This is the most basic characteristic the hiring manager will be looking for.
This is perhaps the most important personality trait you’ll need to display during interview, and the one that the employer will make a conclusion on the quickest.
Make sure you greet, not just the interviewer, but the doorman, receptionist and anyone else you meet before entering the interview room with a keen handshake and a big smile – you never know who will be asked for feedback on you. If you’re particularly nervous for the interview then here are some bonus tips for projecting confidence.
A candidate who appears self-assured is a good indicator of an employee who will work well under pressure and be a good decision maker.
3. Positive mental attitude
The business is looking to hire new employees because they have internal deficiencies or problems they need resolving; problems to which they’ll expect you to have the solutions to.
Therefore, throughout both the application process and the interview, display your sheer enthusiasm for the task at hand. Focus on all of the positives from your previous roles – objectives you achieved and successes the business had – rather than throwing scorn upon past colleagues or line managers, as tempting as that might be. A tendency to focus on multiple negatives will only flag you as a potential problem hire.
Come to the interview with suggestions on new trends or areas the business may be wise to explore; therefore demonstrating both your positive mental attitude and knowledge of the current marketplace. Be cautious not to offend the hirer by being patronising, however.
Even though the employer will be constantly checking you against their existing group of employees to ascertain whether you’d be a good fit, they still want to know that you are a self-motivated and self-governing individual.
By this I mean that you’ll need to showcase an ability to do your own marketing throughout the hiring process . It doesn’t matter how effective or productive you are in the workplace, if you don’t let others know about your good work then you’re unlikely to be recognised and reach your full potential. This trait speaks to the very essence of the job interview: being able to sell yourself. A by-product of someone who is a good self-marketer is that they’re also likely to be a good ambassador for the business.
5. Intellectually curious
Finally, employers want team members who are keen to grow and learn more – many allocate large portions of budget for this purpose. Make sure you allow for ample conversation around your aspirations and future career plans during the hiring process. In your CV this means giving a brief overview of your personal interests. While some professionals advise against this, it can be a useful tool to inject some personality into your CV and helping the hiring manager imagine a real person out of all the words before them.
Great businesses thrive on a constant diet of new and exciting ideas, so you need to evidence that you’re able to bring this trait to the table. Be sure also to ask the interviewer plenty of questions throughout the process, as to appear on the front foot – here are some to start you off.
What do you want to be known for?
Try and incorporate the above five traits into your job search process, but also try and carve yourself out a specific niche: what do you want to be known for?
This is important because once the interview is over the hiring manager is likely going to categorise you as either ‘the big thinker’, ‘the strategist’, ‘the details person’, ‘the cool communicator’ and so on. How much or how little you lay on each of the above traits, and thus the role you create for yourself, should depend entirely on the organisation that you’re interviewing for. Do your research around the company beforehand and try and gain a good insight into the type of team you’ll be entering – for this you can use both LinkedIn and Twitter.
While your skillset will obviously also be assessed during the process, it’s ultimately one’s personality fit within an organisation that has a direct effect on retention, productivity and workplace wellbeing. By first understanding the importance of personality, and then bringing yours alive in line with the above recommendations you’ll give yourself a much greater chance of acing the job search process.