Science Tuesday: Employers rank personality over technical skills

By Sanah Faroke, Staff Writer
@sanahfaroke

The first job I applied to was for a temp position at a Barnes and Noble bookstore in my hometown. I was terrified about the interview process and I tend to scare myself by doubting my qualifications, but once I got in there, I was hired on the spot.  I figured that as long as I didn’t have a criminal record or a really heavy accent, I’d be golden.

The thing is, I didn’t have any real experience in the bookselling industry, and even then, I beamed with excitement about being around books (and possibly finding ones I wanted to buy) and I’m all about working hard, which the manager liked.

According to a recent study from CareerBuilder, employers aren’t just looking for candidates that have the desired skills, but also the personality. They don’t go hand in hand, but they’re measured in importance equally, which is good news for people like me. Having a pleasant personality in a job interview isn’t a new thing, but according to the study, having good humor, good fashion sense or pop culture knowledge can play a part in getting hired. Finally, all that useless pop culture trivia will pay off.

The study, conducted online by Harris Interactive, questioned 2,076 managers and human resource professionals nationwide about qualities they looked for in candidates and what they kept tabs on while the employee was working between May 14 and June 5, 2013.

The top personality traits managers looked for in new employees were:

1. Hard workers
2. Dependable
3. Positive
4. Self-motivated
5. Team-oriented
6. Organized
7. Good under pressure
8. Effective communicators
9. Flexible
10. Confident (ehem, not cocky)

One day, the manager who hired me asked if I’d been manning the phones all day, and I had been. He then told me that a customer called him and told him that he should permanently hire the girl answering the phones and so, I was no longer a temp (and no longer a cashier).

Although I technically didn’t perform well under all tasks, I persevered, worked hard and was always cheerful and motivated.

So although knowing how to code or film with a JVC camera or cook with a skillet are things you may need to know for your industry, remember that hard skills aren’t the only qualities employees look at. And heads up, they’ll also stalk you on social media, so you better fix that up too.

Good luck to all you seniors venturing out into the real world soon. Take note from “Morning Glory”: Becky may be embarrassingly enthusiastic, but the point is, she got the job!

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s