Some employers value personality over technical merit

Having a winning personality has always helped in making friends orgetting a date, but a recent survey confirms it also opens doors in thejob search.

Having a winning personality has always helped in making friends or getting a date, but a recent survey confirms it also opens doors in the job search.

When presented with accounting or finance candidates who possess similar qualifications, 31 per cent of chief financial officers (CFOs) interviewed said applicants’ people skills would tip the balance over such attributes as software proficiency and advanced certifications. This is up significantly from five years ago when interpersonal skills were cited by only 1 per cent of respondents.

The survey was developed by Accountemps, the world’s first and largest specialized staffing service for temporary accounting, finance and bookkeeping professionals, and conducted by an independent research firm. It was based on telephone interviews with more than 1,400 CFOs across the United States.

CFOs were asked, “If two candidates interviewing for an accounting or finance position had similar skills, which one of the following additional qualifications would you find most valuable?”

“Interpersonal skills take centre stage in a collaborative workplace,” said Max Messmer, chairman of Accountemps. “Accountants must be able to present financial information to nonfinancial audiences, make strategic recommendations and work with colleagues from diverse departments.”

Messmer pointed out that job seekers should use the employment interview as an opportunity to establish a rapport with hiring managers. “The conversation should be natural, and applicants should try to find common ground with the employer. It’s also valuable for job seekers to describe business situations where they were recognized for their teamwork or for inspiring others to perform at a high level.”

 
 
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