Here is a question I am sure everyone has heard a countless number of times: Do candidates who are qualified for the position get hired, or candidates with the better personality get hired?

In my experience thus far as a recruiter, I have noticed a little bit of both. Some of our clients barely look at a resume and solely base the interview off of the content the candidate is telling them. If the candidate went to the University of Texas and so did the hiring manager...poof! However, I have also seen some clients turn down resumes because we are giving them candidates who do not meet every single requirement but us recruiters think they will match the companies personality (culture). 

It can be very tricky as a recruiter to recruit for positions that you know are solely based on either personality or qualifications. I guess that just means we need to recruit harder and find an equal balance on both sides. HA! So quick word of advice to all job seekers out there: Show interest and spunk in an interview and make sure you have done your research on the position you are interviewing for and what the job duties will entail. It really isn't a "tough world out there", if you just put some time and effort into your interview process. Show your passion. And if you don't end up getting hired at that certain company-- I'm sure in the long run it really was not a good fit anyway. 

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Comment by Ilona Jerabek on January 18, 2012 at 11:50am

I think it depends - there are some positions where the candidate need to hit the ground running - for those, it is essential that the required skills are there. Still, a personality fit is necessary in the long run, so it is ill-advised for managers to overlook that aspect in favor of skills, knowledge and experience.

In general, I am a proponent of 'Hire for attitudes, train for skills'. Most of the time, you can't have it all - perfect skill set AND great personality and cultural fit. Minimum skill level should be a requirement, but I would much rather hire someone who will be a great fit and is willing to learn than to go with an expert with an abrasive personality and poor work ethics.

Ilona Jerabek,

Comment by Tim Spagnola on January 18, 2012 at 12:17pm

Katie - I think part of it can depend on the job itself. Although I agree a good mixture of both really works. Ideally we want to have the most qualified (least amount of hand holding) coupled with a sparkling personality. If the job is merely task oriented than having good experience and best skill set might win out. As you conclude showing passion in the end often will win out.

Comment by Katie on January 18, 2012 at 10:24pm

Thank you both for your comments! I definitely should of added that someone who is truly not qualified for a position, based on skill sets alone, is really going to need a lot of micro managing which in the long run can be very time consuming. As a recruiter it is our job to have that special "instinct" during our screening process of whether or not a person will be the best fit. Mastering this technique can take time, but I believe some of the best recruiters have that skill. 

Comment by Valentino Martinez on January 21, 2012 at 3:18am


When the required qualifications are there for each of two competing candidates for a specific job and workplace--the one with the “better” (judged as best fitting) personality will normally win out with few exceptions.  Most hiring managers will look for capability and compatibility as best they can judge and validate those factors.

Personality, by the way, can be good, bad or indifferent.  Some jobs/workplaces thrive on one over the other which may confuse you if you assume that a pleasant, vivacious personality should always have the advantage.  For example, I placed a person with previous problems with co-workers and supervision and past terminations.  However he was ideal for a highly classified job in a vault on 3rd shift.  There was no human contact just computer input responsibilities.  His personality sucked and his qualifications were perfect for that job and employer, whereas a person who thrives on human interaction would not do so well in such a role.

And I would caution on the assumption "that it really isn't a tough world out there".  Because it actually is a tough and demanding world out there if you cannot adapt to changes and challenges that will be coming down the road.  Today you can have the best job, supervisor and coworkers only to see them changed out under new management six months later.  Yes, bring your passion and positive attitude to the job interview, and to the job and workplace—and be a top performer.  Those dynamics will go a long way in keeping you employed and on a growth long as you can avoid being at the wrong place at the wrong time.

Comment by Cora Mae Lengeman on January 21, 2012 at 6:18pm

I have had clients hire candidates that do not fit all the qualifications but "felt" they would be a good fit for their organization or they really liked them.  I have never had a client hire someone that had all the qualifications but they didn't like them or didn't think they would fit in their organization.

I believe that the resume - and good presentation on the recruiters part - can get someone the interview but if they don't "click" with the company they don't get hired.

Good fit wins over qualifications - but come on, candidates have to have most of the qualifications to even get presented; right?

Comment by Sandra McCartt on January 22, 2012 at 5:48pm
There are no positions that are based solely on personality.

There are no positions that are based solely on qualifications.

It really is tough out there. There are many candidates who have both personality and qualifications who present well.

That is all.
Comment by Valentino Martinez on January 22, 2012 at 6:56pm

Sandra is right and...brief at 42 words.

Comment by Katie on January 23, 2012 at 8:32pm

Thank you all for your responses! It is very refreshing hearing other people's takes on my struggles as a recruiter and what the industry has to offer. 

Comment by Greg White on January 24, 2012 at 9:12am

It is entirely position and team dependent. Every hiring manager wants a plug and play candidate but the really good ones also recognize the value of building their team's bench. I've seen this pendulum swing both ways, but when it comes down to it certain roles allow a hiring manager more leeway with qualifications than others. We wouldn't want our surgeon to be hired based on their personality.


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