If you're looking for a new gig, or to get that promised promotion in a few months, you'd better keep an engaging personality in front of the boss.
That's because a majority of senior executives and managers admit to relying on an employee's "likeability" factor when making both those hiring and staff management decisions.
More than half of executives, 63 percent, use personality in hiring and/or promoting in their business, according to a worldwide survey of senior executives and managers conducted by NFI Research
. The firm surveys 2,000 senior executives and managers globally every two weeks, chronicling workplace issues.
The good news, though, is that a candidate's ability to fit into a team environment, a willingness to learn and good skills are still important, though the "likeability" is a huge decision-making factor, says Chuck Martin, NFI CEO.
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"We find it very interesting that liking someone is more important than track record or recommendations for those doing the hiring," says Martin.
Knowledge of an organization (20%), diversity (19%) and testing (15%) are what the majority of executives and managers use the least.
"Applicants can interview extremely well, test good, and have great skills and yet not be a good fit with your department or the organization," explains one survey respondent. "So many variables come in to play and there are some things you can't test or measure that sometimes it comes down to liking the person and that good ole gut feeling."
But in Martin's view, hiring managers are doing a huge disservice to their organization by placing so much emphasis on likeability instead of cognitive functions and skills.
"I see a huge problem in having [likeability] factor in and people being hired on that aspect. Hiring and promotions should be based on success and results," he says.
And getting hired because of your personality isn't necessarily good for candidates, he points out. No one has much chance of career success if their skills and interests aren't a good match with a job role.
"Both candidates and hiring managers should be focused on making sure whatever special executive skills that are needed for the job can be met by the candidate seeking the role," he says.
To do that job candidates should identify their strengths and weaknesses and then assess how those come into play with specific IT roles. For example, project managers must have strong organization skills and priority decision-making strengths. IT staff required to work independently on projects need to have good focus and time management skills.
It comes down to understanding your unique brain function and capabilities and how to parlay that brain capability into a success career, says Martin, who's just published a book, "Smarts: Are We Hardwired for Success?,"
specifically on the topic. Martin's seventh business book was published this month by AMACOM/American Management Association.
As Martin explains, there are 12 important cognitive functions that begin developing in the brain at birth. Each person has these "skills" but to varying degrees.
These cognitive functions include time management, organization, working memory and even stress tolerance. It is that unalterable combination of a person's strengths and weaknesses that determines success or failure in any given role, says the author and business expert. The book features an "Executive Skills Profile," a self-assessment tool that helps identify innate strengths and weaknesses.
Martin says that successful people know that the real opportunities lie in playing to their strengths, not trying to improve their shortcomings. IT leaders, in understanding their own innate assets and limitations, will be more tolerant and have more patience with the strengths and weaknesses of others. This, says Martin, will make them better bosses, exceptional workers and more understanding partners.
"If skills are a mismatch with a job, then it's not a good result for the staffer or the employer. But if skills are matched, and are a natural fit, both the company and the IT professional will benefit."
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