Interviews, like sales presentations or exams, can be prepared for.  It’s to your advantage to be able to refer to your resume without looking, for example.  After all, can you imagine the person who can explain their background from memory, compared with the person who must check his resume to verify that he graduated in…2003?  Obviously, the first person will come across as having a sincere interest in his future, whereas the second will appear unprepared and less confident.

Qualifications are facts of your educational and professional background, but fundamental personality qualities are harder to define.  And while one can train one’s behavior for a short-term goal like creating a good impression for an interview, most people have their basic personality traits fixed by the time they are about ten years old.

Richard Branson, entrepreneurial founder and CEO of Virgin Group, recently cited he most closely focuses on candidate personality, rather than qualifications.  You can read the article here.  With several HR and other managerial professionals to handle background checks in qualifying interviews, Branson can afford to only consider personality.  But he isn’t wrong to do so:  his primary interest is on building teams of people that can work together for the overall success of Virgin.  Whether a candidate went to a top school or has ten years of experience is somewhat incidental.  Rather, his concern is to know whether that person can work synergistically with the other members of the team.

One survey of global clients rated the top five aspects of personality as:

  • Professionalism
  • High energy
  • Confidence
  • Self-monitoring
  • Intellectual curiosity

We can explore these in a future blog posting.  If you care to comment, what aspects of personality would you consider to be important in your coworkers/management/staff?


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