Do you hire for personality or ability?

There are several factors which are considered by an employer before they make a final decision on whether they are going to hire a candidate. However, there is a long-running debate as to whether personality or ability is the most important. An argument can be made for both, with some believing that being able to do the job well is the only factor that should be considered. On the other hand, others have the belief that having the most likeable personality is the most important trait. Here are some arguments which support both opinions:

Reasons to support the ability theory:

A candidate must be good at their job.

An obvious reason to support the claim that ability should be the most important factor considered in the hiring process is the fact that a candidate needs to be able to do the job to a high standard. Ultimately, an employer hires an individual because they believe they can improve the business, and help make more money for them. Therefore, they have to be competent at their job in order for this to happen. Even though personality is almost always the first thing that comes across to a hiring manager during interview, their ability to do the job to the standard expected is ultimately the factor that leads to the end decision being made.

Ability level is the only thing that is considered on a CV.

When an employer or recruiter is analysing a CV, there is obviously no consideration given to the personality of a candidate, meaning their skills and experience are most important. Even though the personality of a potential employee can come into play during the interview stage, many candidates do not even reach this stage. This is because they were not suitable due to the contents of their CV, meaning their application is not taken any further. Consequently, to stand any chance of landing the job you are looking for, you must display the required ability level on your resume, meaning it is the most important consideration.

They can help other employees enhance their skills.

Another factor which may be considered by a hiring manager is the fact that a candidate who has displayed high levels of ability may be able to help other employees, already at the business, to improve. If they are potentially going to be working alongside an existing team, the candidate may be able to come in and enhance the capabilities of each member of the team, as well as the overall team itself. In turn, this should help to improve the results achieved, which is the ultimate objective of the employer. Therefore, the ability of a candidate can have far reaching effects on a business, meaning it is the most important factor to consider.

Reasons to support the personality theory:

Help to create a positive working environment.

If a candidate gives a positive impression during interview, most employers are more likely to offer that person the job. This is because the candidate is seen to have the personality a business requires. A lot of hiring managers will look at this and believe that the candidate will help the whole workforce to improve their productivity and performance. The reason for this is the fact that they will create a better and more positive working atmosphere, which in turn, could help to enhance the motivation of the existing employees to work harder. So hiring for personality can have a positive effect on everyone involved with the business.

Can help to attract other top performing staff.

If a candidate improves the atmosphere of a workforce with their personality, it can help to attract other potential employees to the business in the future. This can be because of the impression a candidate receives when they come into the business for an interview, and if everyone is warm and welcoming, they are more likely to accept an offer. This can sometimes be the difference when in-demand candidates are deciding between more than one offer. Furthermore, a candidate often considers the company culture before making a decision, and the personality of the workforce goes a long way to determining this. Therefore, if a candidate has a positive personality, it can help to attract other people to the business, leading to overall growth taking place.

Therefore, there are several factors which support both arguments, and in many cases, the decision can often be a mixture of both. A candidate must have the ability to perform the duties expected of them, whilst also fitting the culture of the business with their personality. However, it is often found that one of the two factors is considered as more important than the other, but that depends on the business and individual itself. Therefore, make sure you have the skills required, as well as the desired personality, to give yourself the maximum chance of landing the job you want!