What's a personality hire? Here's the value they bring to the workplace.


Steps any office can take to fix low morale


Steps any office can take to fix low morale

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If you or a co-worker is extroverted, personable and equipped with other soft skills but low on technical experience, you could be what is known as a “personality hire.”

These employees are often charismatic and have stellar interpersonal skills, which can go a long way in the workplace. Indeed, so-called personality hires serve a valuable purpose: They boost morale, cheer on coworkers, and can seal deals with clients. 

And hiring managers are looking for people to champion corporate culture at a time when only one-third of U.S. employees say they are engaged at work, and nearly half of workers say they are stressed, according to Gallup’s annual report on the state of the workplace. 

“Personality hires refer to employees that were hired for their personality. Think about their charisma and their ability to cheer the team on,” said Vicki Salemi, career expert for Monster. “If it were baseball, they’d be on the top step of the dugout cheering on the team. They are hired for their approach to work and their attitude.”

Almost half of workers — 48% — consider themselves a personality hire, according to a recent survey from career site Monster. Of those, 85% say they bring with them the ability to strengthen relationships with clients, customers and coworkers. Another 71% said they improve work culture, and 70% said they lighten the mood and boost morale. More than half say they exhibit enthusiasm for company sponsored events like happy hours. 

Daniel Bennett, a 28-year-old founder of a creative agency, DX Creative, told CBS MoneyWatch he believes he was a personality hire in a former role at an advertising agency. 

“You get hired based on if people like you or not,” he told CBS MoneyWatch. “I got my job with zero experience, and I attribute my beating out other candidates to making interviewers laugh and have a good time with me, instead of being stoic and telling them what they wanted to hear.” 

“The right cultural fit”

There’s a relative consensus, too, among both personality hires and traditional employees that the former’s most valuable attribute is their ability to enhance relationships with clients and co-workers. 

“They are the person on the team who can get along with anyone, especially if a relationship is sour. They can repair it and turn it into positive one,” Salemi said. 

Of course, possessing soft skills or technical skills doesn’t have to be mutually exclusive. “The sweet spot is a candidate who has both. They have the technical skills to do the job and they are the right cultural fit,” Salemi said. 

“It is a balance. Imagine going to the office and no one has a personality, and you’re not having fun at all. That’s an extremely hard environment to be successful in,” Bennett, the founder of the creative agency said.

He added that personality hires are far from bad at their jobs. 

“Just because you’re a personality hire doesn’t mean you’re bad at your job; it just means your personality got you the extra oomph to get it,” he said. 


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Can build resentment 

On the flip side, workers who fall under the traditional hire category can sometimes be resentful when a colleague they deem inexperienced or simply too chatty in the office is rewarded for their likability. 

About four in 10 workers say they believe personality hires may receive opportunities and recognition they’re not deserving of, because their personality is valued more than hard work or the technical ability to do the job, according to the Monster survey. 

“Someone who is more of an introvert may still be positive about the work environment and have high morale, but not be as extroverted as a colleague, and might be passed over,” Salemi said. “They’d say, ‘I bring just as much if not more to the table, and here is this personality hire who is advancing,’ but not for what they consider to be actual work.”

But in the view of some, including personality hires themselves, chatting with colleagues in the hallway or at the water cooler is an integral part of the job, and does drive real value for companies. 

In a video on social media app TikTok, comedic actor Vienna Ayla pokes fun at personality hires while also highlighting their merits. 

“So this job calls for five years of experience and expertise in Excel,” Ayla said of a fictitious role she’s in. “I had no experience and thought that Excel, was for, like, astronauts or something. But you know what I did have? A can-do attitude, and I think they really saw that.” 

Ayla also said that the character she was playing had been insulated from numerous rounds of layoffs.

“There are rumors about some crazy layoffs coming. Am I nervous?” she said. “No. I’ve survived eight rounds of layoffs.”





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