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Finding the right personality fit for your team


Updated: 06 Jun 2016

Putting together a team that not only has the required skills but also a mix of personalities that complement one another is essential for success. Personality mismatch is one of the main reasons behind unsuccessful hires, so focusing on a candidate’s personality when adding to your team can be just as important as assessing their technical skills during the interview process, says Hays CEO, Alistair Cox, in his latest LinkedIn Influencer blog.

Truly understanding a candidate and what drives them is crucial to finding out whether they will complement your existing team. The interview process gives the perfect opportunity to assess someone’s personality and question whether they would fit within your organisation. Interviews can often be focused on learning about a candidate’s technical or operational skills, however, it is equally important to use the opportunity to assess the candidate’s personality traits.

Using his own executive team at Hays as an example, Alistair comments on how the different personalities can complement one another through challenging, supporting and inspiring each other. Having a range of different personalities on a management team can allow them to make better business decisions. Alistair says, “Above all, binding this unit together is absolute clarity that we are all driven by the same beliefs and values of our business. Our agenda is common, even though our individual ways of getting there may differ.”

Making an unsuccessful hire can be a costly mistake to a business, so assessing the right personalities in a potential new team member is essential. Doing so will take time; you must first ask what it is that you are looking for, what does your team need to run the business to maximum effect? Alistair adds, “Get it right and a whole world of exciting but unpredicted opportunities open up. Get it wrong and both you and the business could find life a struggle.”

Alistair offers four tactics he often implements when looking at a new hire and whether they will ultimately fit within the business.

1. Know who your organisation is
A company’s culture and values must always be taken into consideration when looking to make a hire. If the leader of the business doesn’t understand the company’s own culture, then you will struggle to find the person with the right personality fit and attitude. Alistair says, “In order to be successful, you need people who are motivated by and completely aligned with your organisation’s personality – your system of values, beliefs and behaviours. I therefore cannot emphasise enough the need for you and your senior team to take a step back and make an honest assessment of what your company culture really is and should be.”

2. Spot the gaps in your team
Before trying to find the right candidate you must first examine your current team to discover what is missing. You must also make sure there is a balance of personalities, having a team of people who think alike could destroy any innovative thought. Whereas having a team made up of wildly different personalities could cause the team to fall apart. Alistair advises, “Innovation thrives on the diversity of ideas and a truly dynamic leadership team that inspires profits and productivity will contain a mixture of personalities that approach challenges in different ways. The trick is getting the team to work well together, given that each individual may well see the world through a radically different lens.”

3. Chemistry matters
It is extremely important that colleagues gel, it ensures that they work together more effectively. If a candidate is unable to have a free flowing conversation during the interview this can be considered a bad sign. In the interview process, let your own personality to come through. “The interview process is a two-way street and the prospective candidate should be given the opportunity to make their own assessment on how well their personality might fit with yours and the organisation’s.” Alistair adds.

4. Utilise existing networks
Existing employees should already fully embody the values of the company, as well as your company culture. So the candidate you are looking for can sometimes already be found within your business. If the candidate isn’t within the organisation already then asking staff for recommendations can be a powerful way of finding that person you need; as employees they should understand what fit is needed for the company. Alistair offers this advice, “Asking team leaders for recommendations from within their own teams will give them an element of ownership over the process and also reduces the risk of sourcing an ill-suited candidate.”

Following these four tips will help you in your quest to find the perfect candidate that not only carries the skills you want but has the personality and values to fit. Making sure your team has the skills, experience, style and approach that complement each other is very powerful. There are still risks in building a team and occasionally the process can go wrong, Alistair closes on, “There is still a lot that can be done upfront to try and mitigate these risks and it is worth working very hard to get it right. The rewards of doing so far outweigh the effort.”

Hays is located in Hong Kong at 6604-06,66/F, ICC, 1 Austin Road West, West Kowloon, Hong Kong. Phone +852 2521 8884 or email

Hays, the world’s leading recruiting experts in qualified, professional and skilled people.

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For further information please contact Esabella Yeung, Marketing Executive SEA, Asia at Hays, on +65 6424 0158 or

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