Employer Insights

Getting Recruitment Right: Personality Fit Versus Skill Fit

Marissa Varudo Posted by Marissa
min read
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In my experience as a recruiter, I have come across many clients who mention the need for a candidate who is the right “personality fit” or “culture fit”. A candidate’s attitude and personality almost always pushes them over the line, especially in the roles that I recruit for, in the office support space. 

Positions such as customer service and roles where the employee interacts with others within a team or with customers, are where ‘soft skills’ are especially important. Coming from a customer service background myself, I often reminisce about my time on the phones in a fast-paced call centre when I’m recruiting for customer service roles. I understand what is needed.
Some qualities I like to observe during the interview include: 

  • Communication skills

  • Body language (including tone)

  • Examples of resilience from their previous roles

  • Coachability

This helps me determine whether the candidate would be the right personality or culture fit for the organisation. For clients, selecting the right personality fit for a team can have a positive impact such as a happier workforce, better employee engagement, and enhanced customer interactions.

How do I go about hiring for attitude?

 There are many ways employers can assess EQ as part of their recruitment process and the beauty of utilising a recruitment agency is that experienced consultants are part of the process and can run assessments to determine a candidate’s situational awareness and reactions. Some of my methods involve asking for examples to demonstrate a candidate’s character. For example, if the client has asked for someone who is a natural customer service superstar, I would ask the candidate for different examples about times where they went above and beyond for a customer and see if they had the instinct to follow up with the customer to ensure they had the best experience possible. I’d also investigate how they handle disgruntled customers. From their answers, I can determine their level of expertise and experience, ensuring the fit is right. 

But what about skill?  

This does not mean skill is an afterthought. Depending on the role, a skill may need to be prioritised over attitude but remember, it is easier to train technical skills than implant a new personality in someone! Ideally, the right candidate has both technical skills and a great attitude, meaning that they hit the ground running in their new role, in a positive environment with a well-matched team. 
I was once asked, “Are money or employees the lifeblood of an organisation?” I chose employees! I believe if you have a great employee who is a motivator, genuine team player, energetic and believes that you truly never stop learning, then the benefits of having that personality fit are unmissable.