While striving towards a promotion and the next stage of your career it is sometimes hard to know what employers are really looking for in potential candidates. It is common to have only a limited time to display to your potential new employer why you would be the best person for the role, so what are the key things you should be portraying to them?
Generally there are two broad categories that an employer will look for:
- How you behave with others, your instinctive reactions to events, and the implications this may have on your own productivity as well as that of others.
- Aspects of ones personality are unique to the individual and can be a crucial aspect of differentiating candidates when it comes to the selection process. You can play this to your advantage by being yourself, as this will further differentiate yourself from others.
- Certain types of personalities will better suit certain roles; employers will be aware of this and will actively be looking for certain types of people. As a candidate it is important to be aware that employers will often achieve this by throwing curve balls at you to observe how you react to them.
- Personalities are difficult to change and so it is important to research the suitability of any new role, acknowledging for example that someone who holds high levels of neuroticism would not be suited to becoming a surgeon, just as an extroverted person would not be suited to working in a library.
- The broad set of skills that you have acquired through education and various experiences.
- These skills are learnt and are often common of other candidates who are applying for the new role. For employers, having too few skills can mean that you are overlooked, whereas having more skills than required means that you can stand out and become a serious contender for the role.
- Anyone can gain a qualification, however it is another step entirely to learn skills at a high standard. It is crucial to reiterate to your potential new employer the skills that you have developed, to ensure that they understand exactly what you offer them.
- Skills are easily forgotten and also easy to obtain. For this reason it is important to continue on a path of education and to demonstrate this to your potential employer. This may entail continuing on with a part-time masters degree while working, and telling your employer that you are enthusiastic about doing this. To an employer a more educated employee is more valuable.
So what is more important when it comes to promotions, Personality or technical skills? Well, they are both just as important as each other for different reasons.
Depending on the role personality can be a make or break when it comes to the selection criteria, just as having the correct qualifications can be. In terms of personality a key method to landing that promotion can be through searching for personality compatible roles, and in terms of technical skills a key method can be through ensuring continued training and development is conveyed to your potential employer.
Article written by Andrew Flockhart
Kanfer, R., Wanberg, C. R., & Kantrowitz, T. M. (2001). Job search and employment: A personality–motivational analysis and meta-analytic review. Journal of Applied Psychology, 86(5), 837.