I’m quoting a friend who recently was in the hospital for several days.
He was poked, prodded and drained of bodily fluids, which eventually provided the positive lab results necessary to get him discharged. He also admits that he may not have been the best patient who the nurses ever cared for.
His story reminded me of another friend who didn’t get a job offer he expected.
Friend #2 passed all of the objective job tests.
He met every specific requirement on the job spec:
- Functional expertise
- Previous employers
- Career successes
He was even geographically desirable and appropriately priced.
When he heard that he didn’t get the job offer, he asked the recruiter to obtain feedback hoping it would help him land his next opportunity.
He had failed the personality test.
- There was no pushback on his qualifications.
- His potential peers simply preferred working with another candidate.
- This is shorthand for we didn’t like you, at least not as much as the successful candidate.
Since no one should reach the short list of final interviews without having proved that they have the experience and skills to do the job, it shouldn’t be surprising that the successful candidate is often selected based on emotional reasons such as perceived personality.
People are hired for passing ALL 3 of these tests, but you probably already know this:
1. S/he can do the job
- Yes, he could.
2. S/he will like doing the job
- Yes, he would have, and I’m guessing this would have been evident.
3. We’ll like working with him/her
- The answer was no, they didn’t think they’d like working with him.
The interviewing process makes “likability” rather artificial since it is an immediate judgment. It reminds me of the only Oscar acceptance speech I can even partially remember: Sally Fields nearly 20 years ago said: “…you like me, right now, you like me!” While this line is often misquoted, I think the critical phrase for job seekers is “right now.”
People fail the personality test for many reasons:
- Too confident…not confident enough.
- Too inquisitive…doesn’t ask enough questions.
- Too outgoing…too reserved.
- Too much or not enough along many personality spectrums.
Often, even the hiring committee can’t describe why they preferred one candidate more than others…but they are forced to have a preference.
So, how does someone pass the personality test?
These come to the top of my list:
- Enthusiasm for job, people, and company.
- Positive but not cocky about what has been done and can be done in the new job.
- Flexible and demonstrated open to change.
- Can do attitude.
- Curious learner/up to date.
- Proud of helping others, including reports and peers, be successful.
- Emphasizing the team’s success as much as themselves.