Employers prioritize personality over skill, survey says

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The firm Hyper Island asked 500 business leaders what they look for in an employee, and only 39 percent said skills were the most important quality.

By Kevin J. Allen | Posted: April 7, 2014
You may have heaps of skill in your chosen profession, but unless you can, you know, hold a conversation, it’s going to be tougher for you to land a job.

A recent study from Hyper Island, a “global learning institute” found that 78 percent of the 500 business leaders surveyed gave a top priority rating to “personality” as the most desirable quality a worker can possess. Only 39 percent said the prospective employee’s “skill-set” was the most desirable quality.

The top concern for business leaders when it comes to talent is finding, keeping and developing the right people, with 20 percent.

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Hyper Island CEO Johanna Frelin explains on the Hyper Island site:

What we found most compelling about this research is how clearly it highlights that personality, not competence, is the determining factor of who’s going to get the most attractive jobs among tomorrow’s recruits. Also, there is a growing desire for talent with a unique combination of skill and flexibility––people who can collaborate, adapt quickly and are enjoyable company, but also have the drive to get things done. All those traits boil down to a personality that is essential for businesses operating in an ever changing digital landscape. Thus, specific competence is less important.

The company did not measure whether it makes it tougher to fire a person with a great personality who doesn’t have the skill to get the job done.

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