CT Staffing and Recruiting News

The latest advice and best practices in hiring and careers.

Should You “Fall” for the Likeable Candidate?

The autumn of 2021 finds many employers caught in a whirlwind of filling what seems like a never-ending stream of open positions. For some of those openings, the stack of resumes is sizeable, but for other jobs, it’s slim picking.

An array of questions fill the weary minds of business owners and hiring managers:

  • Do I ease up on expectations?
  • Re-prioritize what qualities I’m seeking?
  • Should I focus on hard skills over soft skills? Or the other way around?
  • What happens if I go with the most likable candidate?

When reviewing resumes and interviewing candidates, we all know the goals: expose weaknesses and potential issues and uncover strengths and desirable characteristics while evaluating for a yay or nay on cultural fit.

Having the required knowledge paired with the right skills and some prior experience tossed in for good measure—all of that is important, for sure. But so are the intangibles. The things that can’t be itemized thoroughly or accurately on a resume. Of course, candidates can note that they have an abundance of people skills and thrive under pressure, but those are unproven claims at this point in the hiring process. The right type of questioning can root out the evidence for or against these soft skills, and those doing the interviewing would do well to take the time to search for that evidence.

So, where, if anywhere, does likeability fit into the mix? Let’s be honest. The prospect of working day in and day out with a highly-skilled, qualified-in-all-the-right-areas person who doesn’t ring the likable meter, even a little, is not appealing. While knowing the job will get done is reassuring, we desire to be around and bring congenial talent into the workforce.

It may come down to choosing a candidate whose skillset is right on target, but they lack in likeability versus a pleasant, genial candidate who will require a combination of time and training to meet all of the job requirements. What then? Some hiring managers will side with the better skill set, but a growing number of those in the hiring hot seat are going with the likeability factor.

In reality, the traits that lead to murmurings such as “I don’t (or never did) care for so-and-so . . . ” are the same traits hiring managers tend to avoid—for example, negativity, aloofness, boastfulness, egotistical, and a general inclination to me-ism, etc.

On the flip side, a label of likable often stems from the sought-after qualities such as an interest in and consideration for others, quiet, unassuming confidence that doesn’t insist on hogging the limelight, a true spirit of teamwork that pitches in without keeping score. If you find a candidate who, along with the above “likable” qualities, also possesses a teachable spirit and an eagerness to learn, now that’s a winning combination for sure.

Can likeability be a bad thing? Suppose a candidate appears to be trying too hard, too eager to please, or too agreeable. In that case, their behavior may be an effort to cover up or distract from the fact that the skills needed for this particular position are indeed missing. If something feels off or less than genuine, dig deeper. Always strive to delve below the surface to uncover as much reality about the candidate as possible.

At A. R. Mazzotta, one of our greatest resources is our pool of talented, likable candidates. We’ve already done the legwork so that we can fill your open positions promptly. So give our team of staffing specialists a ring today.