Before you go to market with a new job role, do you consider the type of skills you require in a candidate or do you analyse the type of personality, attitude and behaviours you seek in your candidate of choice? Perhaps you consider both, but how much emphasis do you place on each? Your approach to recruitment in this regard can result in very different outcomes, not only with whom you choose to hire, but their overall performance and fit within your organisation.

There is no doubt that every employee is a character of distinct personality who brings a unique set of skills, knowledge, values and behaviours with them. And these will affect how they perform. This is important to note. Skill and knowledge can be taught. Personality traits on the other hand are ingrained and much more difficult to influence. And when it comes to performance, it will be the characteristics of a person that will determine how a task is completed. Let’s take a closer look at this…

Personality traits will determine how an employee reacts in a situation. In times of crises for example a level headed person will likely take a rational, calm and intelligent approach. A highly strung person will probably panic and be chaotic in their management of the situation. Sure both understand and are trained in executing protocol in high alert moments, but under pressure, which will perform to the best interest of the organisation? Mr Composed or Mr Flustered? In normal working circumstances both perform to a high level, but for the ten percent of time when one needs a strong, cool as a cucumber person to lead, that is your ideal candidate. Yet it is not just in times of vigilance that an employee’s inherent traits will affect their performance. The self-motivated will drive themselves to achieve objectives in short timeframes and to a high standard. Those with the same skill set and experience, but who need constant driving, will take much longer to deliver the same outcome. We all understand how productivity affects the bottom line.

Lots of job descriptions speak to the skills, qualifications and experience of a person. Lots of resumes demonstrate a strong match to the search criteria. But where do we describe the type of person that is most suited to the role? Perhaps the job advertisement alluded to someone who is well organised, a great communicator and a team player, but these traits seem generic. How do you look beyond the baseline and find that special someone with just the right characteristics to take your company to the next level? In looking for your next CEO you want someone who is innovative, conceptual in their thinking, a calculated risk taker who has the ability to create a unified focus and motivate a workforce.  An applicant’s resume will only tell half the story, the rest you will need to extract through other means.

And how does one separate the average worker from the best and the brightest? Finding the intangible qualities of a candidate may involve performance based interview questions. Or perhaps you could assign applicants a task to identify if they possess the traits required to excel in the position on offer. So important is it to organisations that they find the right recruit that they are investing in pre-employment personality tests, some of which you may be familiar with; The Myers-Briggs type indicator, the Caliper Profile and the DiSC Behaviour Inventory. Research demonstrates that if an employee is placed in a role that does not match their personality type it will often lead to lower engagement. The result is 21 per cent lower productivity and approximately 45 per cent higher turnover. Can you imagine how laborious and expensive it would be to replace an employee at this rate?

The impact of personality across various job roles is widely studied and the results are clear in their demonstration that it is a valid indicator of job performance. The right person in the right job significantly enhances the individual’s ability, and ultimately the organisations ability, to excel. Thus it is important to recognise different personality traits and pair these with different job roles as it can lead to increased productivity and job satisfaction. And that translates into longer term retention of employees. Great companies need great people. They are not always easy to come by. Yet the investment in a bad hire could cost you upwards of $25,000 – an error that many businesses, particularly small businesses, cannot afford to make. So next time you are seeking to hire a new recruit, don’t simply analyse their resume and working history, invest a little more time and effort to see if they really are the right personality fit for the role on offer.

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