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8/23/2006
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To Get That Job, Bring On The Charm: Survey

A job candidate's likeability and personality matter as much or more than skills when it comes to hiring and promotions, according to a new survey of senior managers.

Forget about those professional tech certifications, those many years grinding out code at your company, or your fancy MBA. What matters nearly as much are your charm and personality when it comes to getting jobs and being promoted, according to a new survey.

A survey of 223 senior executives and managers--including tech leaders--across several industries found that 63% rely on "likability" and personality of a candidate when making hiring and promotion decisions, according to a new report by research firm NFI Research.

In fact, a candidate's "skills" mattered slightly less than likability, at 62%.

Apparently, personality isn't just what the managers and executives themselves focus on. The survey found that 64% of the respondents admitted that the likability of a candidate was also something that their companies or departments relied on when making hiring and promotion decisions.

"We were stunned, the idea that a person relies on personality and likability vs. delivering results and past performance in those decisions were shocking," says NFI CEO Chuck Martin.

Well, being likable isn't exactly everything, but the other key factors are pretty closely related, says Martin. Some 73% said they base their hiring and promotion decisions on a candidate's "likelihood to fit in" with the organization; 70% on how the interview with the candidate went; and 69% said a willingness to learn.

"People tend to want to hire other people who are like themselves, clones, someone they think will fit in with them," says Martin.

What matters least to those hiring and promoting? Knowledge of the organization, which was cited by only 20%; diversity at 19%; and testing, at 15%

So what does this mean to the stereotypical techie who is often labeled as lacking sparkle when it comes to people-skills? "Bring on the charm," advises Martin.

Indeed, outside of the NFI survey's findings, employers say that building a sustainable tech career today increasingly requires a mix of tech skills, business savvy, as well as customer-facing and communication skills, the latter two of which are often helped by a "likable personality," Martin says.

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