Study: Personality Is More Important Than Skill to Potential Employers

Having the right set of talents can go a long way in getting you a job interview. After all, nothing makes a resumé pop more than a long list of special skills and plenty of experience to hone them. Employers regularly use a potential candidate’s skills to decide whether or not they’re going to have them come in or not. However, when it comes to the actual interview with your potential employer, a particular set of skills can only get you so far.

According to a recent study that surveyed 500 business leaders around the world, 78 percent of potential employers believe that personality is the most important factor in choosing the perfect candidate. Skills (39 percent) and culture fit (53 percent) paled in comparison to having a charming demeanor, a friendly smile, or whatever else these business leaders think the word “personality” means in this context. And the data has some pretty impressive entrepreneurs behind the theory:

“The person with the top grades and most credentials isn’t always the best person for the role,” said Richard Branson to Inc. “Time and time again I’ve seen people with a background of broad-ranging employment and skills hired for a job where they don’t necessarily tick the specialist criteria boxes, but become incredibly successful by offering a new level of understanding to the role. With this in mind, we focus on hiring people with transferable skills–team players who can pitch in and help others in all sorts of situations. It’s important never to underestimate the power of versatility.”

It stands to reason. Intelligence, while often considered stagnant, is easily improved and molded to fit a company’s requirements. However, personality is fairly unchanging, particularly at the age where you’re looking for employment, and can have decidedly more of an effect on team productivity, company culture, and overall work performance in a specific company.

I apologize for sounding like your mom right now, but if you really want to get the job, just be yourself. Getting an interview means you’ve already impressed them with your skills and your experience, and the face-to-face is mostly just to find out what kind of person lies behind the piece of paper. By being yourself, you’ll appear calm, cool, and collected, an invaluable skill under pressure, particularly to an interviewer that has probably seen more pit stains than a TSA agent.

Read more about getting hired at your dream job on TechCo

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Conor is the Lead Writer for For the last six years, he’s covered everything from tech news and product reviews to digital marketing trends and business tech innovations. He's written guest posts for the likes of Forbes, Chase, WeWork, and many others, covering tech trends, business resources, and everything in between. He's also participated in events for SXSW, Tech in Motion, and General Assembly, to name a few. He also cannot pronounce the word "colloquially" correctly. You can email Conor at
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