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Personality vs Skills: Which is More Important for Hiring?

Posted September 19, 2017

When scouting for a new employee, you want the absolute right person for the job. You’ll comb over the resumes, shuffling those with the appropriate skills to the top, moving the most impressive of them onto the interview process, right?

While the resume screening process focuses primarily on work history skills, the interview process focuses on the candidate’s personality. There is a tool though that allows recruiters to vet skills sets better, something resumes don’t typically do a good job of.

The interview is primarily for gauging how they will fit into the company’s culture, not to mention their fit with their potential co-workers. Then it’s time to make the call on who gets the job offer.

As you make your way through the resume/interview/hiring process, do you weigh skills vs. personality on an even scale, where the “perfect fit” employee is a balanced mix of skill and personality, with each given equal weight? Or is one more important than the other? Read on as we discuss personality vs. skill, and what is ultimately the most important in today’s market. The result may surprise you.

Personality Matters… But does it outweigh skill?

A 2013 study by Hyper Island (a digital education company), “Tomorrow’s Most Wanted” revealed a surprising, but resounding YES. 78% of the 500 tech, communication and business development industry leaders reported that personality was the absolute most desirable quality in a potential employee, with skill-set falling to third most important at 39% after cultural alignment at 53% (which one could argue is strongly tied to personality.) Also interesting to note, the personality traits that the employers surveyed found most important were drive, creativity, and open mindedness.

Surprised? Johanna Felin, CEO of Hyper Island told Fast Company that she attributes the results to the speed of technological change, “The development of tech is so fast right now and there are no signs it will slow down. So skills become outdated very fast.” she says. Today’s ideal employee is an effective team member, and can “un-learn and re-learn according to new environments and realities”.

Finding the Balance

It’s pretty clear that personality is important, and many say it is most important – but it’s still a definite balancing act of skill vs personality. Finding the right combination of a team player with drive, creativity, and passion for their work, all while balancing your team personality-wise (not everyone is a born-leader, and that’s great, just make sure there aren’t too many of one type of personality on your team – or clashes and not-so-friendly competition are sure to happen.) is no small feat. Then, we throw in the whole skill detail.

Of course, there are many skills that can simply be taught, and many ingrained personality traits that cannot – but in the same vein, there is a line to be drawn. It would be irresponsible and potentially dangerous to the company (and in general) to hire someone completely ill-equipped skill-wise for the job. For instance, hiring someone for a computer technician position with super enthusiasm and a great personality that fits right in with the corporate culture and the other employees... but has absolutely no technical know-how (chips go great with sandwiches, and CAT7 is an obscure nickname for Bernice in accounting, who has 7 cats, right?) would quickly become disastrous.

That said, putting in the time and effort to really learn about your candidate’s personality and judging how they will mesh with your existing team, exploring their enthusiasm, capacity for self direction, and ambition – all while balancing that with their knowledge and skill set can be no quick nor easy task.

Traditional recruiting tools, like LinkedIn, don’t give you any insight into a candidate’s personality – that’s where a tool like GoGig comes in.

Using GoGig you can do both. It allows you better gauge a candidate’s skill level and experience as well as using specific, in-depth, algorithmically-based personality assessments to get a more complete picture of a candidate. 

Sign up for a free trial of GoGig today and let us show you how stress-free and painless the hiring process really can be!


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