Richard Branson’s latest LinkedIn blog How I Hire: Focus on Personality went viral last month as over one million people clicked on the post to soak up his sage advice. While Branson is no doubt an exceptional businessman whose success is a testament to the power of thinking outside the box, he was not the first nor the only employer to have acquired this wisdom through trials and triumphs. In fact, a study conducted last year showed that 88% of hiring managers look for cultural fit over skills when hiring.
So, while Branson’s vague, albeit poetic, account of his categorically fun, friendly and loving employees, make for a light and breezy blog post, it is probably best we explore the personality traits that the hiring managers (like the ones who probably sift out these bubblegum employees for Branson) actually look for:(1) Professionalism includes everything from your resume to your manner of speech. Employers want people who are polished, prompt and, in essence, “camera ready.”(2) Positive energy goes a long way when making a first impression. Smile and be approachable.(3) Compliment givers will often win a few points. However, be sincere with your accolades, and make sure not to go over the top.(4) Interesting and interesting people are great at encouraging two-way conversations with anecdotes about their experiences.
(5) Present interviewees often translate into engaged employees. Leave the texting and daydreams until after your interview.(6) Confidence is a must when interviewing. If you don’t believe in yourself, you can’t expect a hiring manager to believe in your either.(7) Curiosity aids the cat when job hunting. Strong questions about the role you are interviewing for and the company can show that you’ve done your research, thereby making you more likeable(8) Intuitive individuals are keen at picking up on social and unspoken cues. They are best able to gauge company culture and give an employer what he/she wants how he/she wants it.(9) Multidimensional or dynamic job seekers are especially as today’s hiring managers are looking for talent that is inspiring beyond the job description.
Ultimately, just as no two applicants are the same, no two managers are looking for the same qualities in a potential hire. Recognize the traits above that are true to your personality and be sure to cultivate them so that you shine.For more on interviewing and landing a difficult job tune in at 10AM EST to this week’s The Michael S. Robinson Show on AM970 The Answer as Mary Ellen Slayter of Monster.com, business strategist and author Kahain Krippendorff and Vice Chairman of Morgan Stanley Carla Harris join me to discuss the do’s and don’ts of interviewing.[Photos via 1, 2, 3, 4]