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July 2014
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TD Magazine

Personality Is More Important Than Hard Skills, Managers Say

A new survey from Hyper Island, a company that designs digital learning experiences, shows that employers overwhelmingly value personality over technical skills when searching for talent. Its survey of more than 500 international executives and employees found that 78 percent of respondents indicated personality as the most desirable trait in a job candidate, while only 39 percent of respondents indicated that skillset is the top trait. Cultural alignment is the most important factor for 53 percent of the respondents.

When asked about specific personality traits that are most desirable, a majority of the respondents said that creativity, drive, and flexibility are important. "There is a growing desire for ... people who can collaborate, adapt quickly, and are enjoyable company, but also have the drive to get things done," says Hyper Island CEO Johanna Frelin. "All those traits boil down to a personality that is essential for businesses operating in an ever-changing digital landscape. Thus, specific competence is less important."

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The high value on cultural alignment reinforces organizations' desire for candidates with the right personality fit. And although technical skills may not be quite as important as personality, the study indicates that creative technology, user experience/user interface design, programming, and analytics are the most prized skills.

When asked about their top concerns, the responses were more spread out across a variety of factors, although attracting and retaining the right talent edged out the other concerns, with 20 percent of respondents indicating it is their number one challenge.

About the Author

The Association for Talent Development (ATD) is a professional membership organization supporting those who develop the knowledge and skills of employees in organizations around the world. The ATD Staff, along with a worldwide network of volunteers work to empower professionals to develop talent in the workplace.

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