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Why Personality Trumps the CV

What are we exactly looking for in a candidate when recruiting for our team? More and more we see that employers both big and small are prioritizing personality over hard skills. That is not to say that skills acquired are not valued or needed to perform certain jobs. Take coding, data science or building spaceships for example. That is something I should not be considered for. I would call these skills critical hygiene factors and they will always be important. But even for the most difficult roles and the jobs that we haven’t even thought of yet, the ultimate match will be made on personality. And the future outlined below, although quite black-and-white, is very near and possible.

The World Economic Forum researched the top-10 skills employers are looking for in employees in their “Future of Jobs” report. When compared to 2015, in 2020 employers are looking for new skills such Emotional Intelligence and Cognitive Flexibility. Creativity moved from the #10 spot in 2015 to the #3 spot in 2020. How can we assess these skills with only a CV in front of us to navigate with? And how do we convince the hiring managers to adopt their archaic interviewing skills they have been using for so long already? And if we turn the hiring process upside down, we can even see that candidates nowadays will assess our company, culture and hiring managers with the same top-10 skills. And then the question remains, how will they judge you in the recruitment process? Is it intelligent, creative and engaging?

Here’s 2 ways how personality will trump the CV by 2020:

#1: Personality is measured in real-time

These days we do not necessarily need a traditional personality assessment anymore to “check under the hood”. With much of our professional activity moved online, we can assess candidates’ real behavior. Rather than working with a limited set of variables in behavioral tests, we can work with an unlimited number of variables through machine learning. This expands the number of options we have to assess candidates. Tools like Crystal Knows help assess communication styles based, for example, on what can be publicly tracked in a person’s online interactions. Apply Magic Sauce, developed by the University of Cambridge, translates individuals’ digital footprints into psychological profiles. IBM Watson Personality Insights can recognize emotions in video through measurement of micro-expressions or analyse tone of voice in a digital job interview. And all of that is available TODAY with APIs, ready to connect to your recruitment process.

#2: Matching becomes predictable

Since forever we have counted on the recruiter and hiring manager to sift through countless CVs, make assumptions and then check them in an on-site interview setting. We generally do trust their skills to know who is best for our team, although we may also feel that this process really lacks scientific support. On top of that, lack of time often provides an excuse for shortcuts and duck-tape solutions in the selection process. Why not use recruiters’ and hiring managers’ valuable time where they perform best, at the very end of the selection process where they can spend quality time with suitable candidates who successfully went through a fair and unbiased process. In order to achieve this, the start of the process should be automated and powered by technology. This will help create a fair and unbiased opportunity for all applicants to be matched with the job based on smart algorithms and machine learning. It is possible to measure applicants against your top performers today and predict who could likely be a top performer tomorrow. Suddenly hiring becomes predictable.

I do realize that the picture painted in this blog is still somewhat futuristic for most, even for a recruitment technology aficionado like myself. My personal view is that there will and should always be room for the ‘human factor’ in recruitment. At the same time, I am also convinced that new technologies will help us improve the recruitment process at a much faster pace than ever before, allowing us to make better decisions and provide a fair process to all. The “Future of Jobs” Report by the World Economic Forum lists Complex Problem Solving and Critical Thinking as the top-2 skills we are looking for in employees. The only thing we need to do is to apply these to the recruitment process as well.

Happy Hiring!


Infographic | 10 most needed work skills of 2020 | Download