The importance of personnality of a candidate in a recruiting process

We recruiters have to find the right candidate for a particular position. This is basically our job and, belive me, this is not a piece of cake, especially beacause we deal with human dimensions.

Identifying the right candidate is not only about assessing his knowledge and skills and check if his education is proper to the position. We also have to wonder if his/her personality can match with the culture of enterprise, with his/her future colleagues and with the tasks he/she will have to manage.

Forgetting this aspect can bring to huge recruiting mistakes, leading to a dismissal or, at least, a unhappiness of the candidate – and therefore of the client and the recruiter. I remember a French friend of mine who was hired by a recruiting consultancy for a job in Germany as a copywriter. The recruiter had apparently ignored the fact that this woman was not psychologically ready to leave her country, her family and friends to experience a new life in Germany, even though she had all the technical requirements for the job. She expressed many doubts about her potential leaving though. The conclusion is simple : after one month in position, she dismissed.

To assess the personnality of a candidate, we recruiters have of course to be aware about the future working environment and ask the right questions to the applicant to make sure he/she will feel at ease or not. The intuition of the recruiter is also major in a recruiting process : people do not always tell the truth and are not always conscious of the potential problems involved by a job and our role is to feel if the candidate will be able to manage them.

Some tools exist to help recruiters in this difficult task. I would like to talk about the PFPI test, one of the personality tests created by a French psychology teacher. The aim of this test is not to put people in fixed categories but to identify some ways of behaviours in particular professional situations (management of stress and tension at work, the competition spirit, the organization skills, the capacity to adapt to change, to search for success, etc.). This definitely helps to find the right questions to ask, to exchange with the candidate about it and to bring some nuances to the personality of a candidate.

In a word, it might be sometimes harder to assess the personnality of a candidate more than checking that his knowledge and skills are sufficient for the job. This is for we, recruiters, a daily learning that we constantly have to keep in mind and to improve.