Because They’re Not Robots: Hiring for Personality Fit

December 9th, 2011 | Hiring Resources | No Comments »

You have your own individual style of interviewing. Maybe you stride in the room, armed with the hardest questions, ready to drill your sweating candidate. Maybe you’re relaxed and go with the flow, making conversation between light questioning.

Either way, you probably know that the right candidate usually has a good balance between great skills and a winning personality. A balance ensures they’ll be a good fit in the job alongside your existing team members.

The question is, how can a nervous, rehearsed, suited-up candidate give you any insight into their personality? And how do you know what kind of personality is best in any given position in the first place?

First, the best thing you can do is find out the personalities of your current employees. Even if you feel like you know them well, try to avoid subjectivity by finding a well-rated online test or look into testing companies. There are numbers of personality tests out there (the Wonderlic Test, the Four Temperaments Test, the DiSC Assessment, etc.) so you have tons of options. You want to make sure the test has a high level of validity so that results remain accurate no matter who’s taking the test.

With the results in hand, you can match up jobs and responsibilities with the personalities of the people who thrive in those positions. A pattern should emerge, and you’ll have a better idea of who will succeed in that open position.

Keep in mind that you would rarely want a team full of identical personalities. This can limit the level of innovation and new ideas, and can easily lead to a higher chance of conflict. As each personality has its own strengths and weaknesses, hiring a variety can combine those strengths and keep the weaknesses at a minimum.

So now you know who you want to hire, the first step is to write that into the job description you post or to tell the recruiter who’s searching for you. This should help attract the right candidates, so you’re not wasting time on candidates who don’t have the personality fit.

Once you’ve scheduled some interviews, now more than ever is a good time to have an accurate personality test. Otherwise, it is nearly impossible to gather a good sense of a candidate’s personality, as the context of the interview changes everything.

Whether you’re an intense interrogator or a curious questioner, with the help of a test you should be able to determine personality, no matter what your interview style.

* Want to avoid administering a formal test? It can be possible to get a fair sense of a candidate’s cultural fit if, after the first interview went well, you introduce them to your team and watch their personality slowly come out in the open.

Congratulations! You now have a new employee who is a great fit both technically and culturally. The next step? It’s a good idea to make everyone aware of each other’s personality types. Knowing how each team member works, thinks, and learns best makes it easier to understand and communicate with each other. Additionally, a good leader should manage each person according to his or her needs and personal working style.

Ultimately, it is important to be aware how each position in your company is best suited to a particular set of personality traits. It’s equally important to understand the balance of personalities within your team. Only then can you guarantee a successful hire.

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