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Dear Jobseeker: Personality Matters

Dear Jobseeker,

We hate to have to tell you this (we know you have a lot on your plate) but it’s something you should know: it’s not enough to be qualified for that position. 

By the time you get to the final round of interviews, it is highly likely that you have the qualifications and experience to be able to do the job — and the other candidates being considered have those things, too.  That means you may have to step it up a notch.  One way to gain an edge over the competition is to simply have more of what they’re looking for, but here’s another: your personality.  You can do all the right things in the interview, but without demonstrating your personality fit, the interviewer is still going to have doubts about you.

Remember that speed dating event you went to a while back?  We know you didn’t take a checklist of ideal mate qualifications with you.  So how did you decide who you wanted to see again?  Personality.  Hiring managers do the same.  Sure, some things are deal breakers — if the position requires ten years of experience with quantitative analysis and you haven’t even heard of linear regression, your personality won’t get you the job. But when given the choice between two candidates of similar abilities, hiring managers will choose the person they would most like to work with — every time. 

So is your true personality shining through?  OK, not your super-relaxed, “I’m going to kick it with my buddies on a Saturday night” personality, but your “let’s pitch in and get this done” positive attitude and “seize the work day” personality?  We know that sometimes you let your nerves get to you, but it is to your advantage to be yourself — how else will you know if this is right for you?  Have confidence in who you are and what you can bring to the table.  Imagine yourself as the interviewer, and ask yourself: would I hire me?  Then perhaps imagine yourself as your most judgmental friend, and ask again: would s/he hire me?  Why or why not?  Remember, from the first point of contact, hiring managers are forming impressions about who you are.  You want those impressions to be accurate.  (For more tips on how to show yourself in your best light, we’ve enclosed this article to help you out).

What shouldn’t you do?  Be someone other than yourself.  After all, if you aren’t a good fit, it’s best to find another job where both you and your organization would be happier.  Be memorable, but for the right reasons: for being competent, thoughtful, engaged, and your authentic self.  Make sure to bring your best self—but make it uniquely you. 


Commongood Careers

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