Research reveals the top traits that cost interviewees the job

What personality traits are most important to recruiters, and what traits should you be looking out for in your candidates to avoid making a bad hire?

While skills and experience are key areas companies look at when hiring, a new CV-Library survey, with help from our friends at the CV-writing firm, TopCV, that reveals that three-quarters (77%) of employers believe personality is most important when considering someone for a job; more so than your education (13%) or appearance (12%).

Key findings

The survey, which quizzed nearly 200 UK employers on what they look for in candidates, found that after skills (80%) and experience (78%), organisations across the UK care most about personality, with the top turn-offs including: arrogance (65%), dishonesty (62%) and unreliability (60%). The full breakdown includes:

  1. Arrogant (65%)
  2. Dishonest (62%)
  3. Unreliable (60%)
  4. Close-minded (26%)
  5. Immoral (24%)
  6. Ignorant (23%)
  7. Entitled (18%)
  8. Self-centred (17%)
  9. Short-tempered (16%)
  10. Cruel (16%)

In the current market, where skills shortages are making it harder for companies to find the right hires, employers are increasingly opting to recruit on potential over experience. So, if you’re looking for a new job right now, you’re in a good position; as long as you impress with the right personality traits.

Of course, every hiring manager you meet will have their own preferences, but our research shows that there are a few key areas that could jeopardise your chances of securing a job. From being too arrogant when talking about yourself, to coming across as ignorant or self-centred; these are all traits that we as humans seek to avoid. So, make sure you portray the best version of yourself when meeting with potential employers.

Further personality traits

Interestingly, when asked to choose between experience, education and potential, employers believe potential (62%) is more important than experience (35%); while only 2% say education is most important.

What’s more, when asked about the traits that impress them the most when hiring, employers cite being reliable (62%), confident (61%), honest (58%), honourable (51%), loyal (32%), friendly (28%) and self-disciplined (27%) as their top choices.

Amanda Augustine, careers expert at TopCV, added:

“Historically, assessing job seekers was contingent on two factors – experience and skills – but our new survey reveals that more intangible qualities, such as personality, are determining which candidates rise to the top.

“Today’s hiring managers are tasked with assessing whether a candidate will fit in with the company culture, and this determination is primarily based on how the candidate behaves during an interview. The fine line between ‘confidence’ and ‘arrogance’ when making that first impression is everything – one’s personality can make or break an interview.”

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