Recruiters have long relied on diplomas and technical know-how to decide between several candidates. But faced with an increasingly qualified workforce, they are increasingly taking “soft skills” into account. Enough to push inexperienced candidates to rely on their personality to get hired.
These assets are referred to by English speakers as “personality hires” (“recruits with the right personality” in French). This expression refers to professionals whose main asset on the job market is their interpersonal skills. They say, for example, that they are good-natured or have a sense of humor that will hit the mark in the coffee machine. They also pride themselves on knowing how to demonstrate interpersonal intelligence, initiative, creativity and the ability to adapt easily. In other words, “personality hires” would have the socio-emotional skills most sought after in the professional sphere.
To hear them say, that would be enough to make them hireable. Because by surrounding themselves with “personality hires”, managers would help to create a work environment where good humor is essential. These employees would breathe positive energy into the company, which would contribute to the well-being of their colleagues and, therefore, to their productivity. “(Most organizations) believe that personality hires can promote a positive work environment or better team dynamics, or they believe that they serve their brand and reputation“, explained Carys Chan, lecturer at the Griffith Business School, to the Australian site ABC.
In the wake of those responsible for happiness at work
The phenomenon of “personality hires” is, in itself, nothing new. But it has recently returned to popularity on TikTok, where the associated hashtag has reportedly generated more than 6.6 billion views. The publications mentioning it feature young employees in fictitious situations where their natural good nature makes all the difference, or take the form of short explanatory videos extolling the merits of such an attitude at work.
In one of them, Savanah Cuevas (@savanahcuevas) explains that “personality hires” must ensure the happiness of their colleagues. “The first two or three minutes of each meeting should be devoted to personal interaction. Make jokes. Write them down if necessary. Then, you must greet each person (that you meet in the office). If you know them personally, ask them how their weekend was“, she explains in one of her videos.
@savanahcuevas 🤣 hope this answers all your questions 🤣 #personalityhire #corporatetiktok #corporatehumor #corporatelife ♬ original sound – Savanah (Corporate Version)
Happy Washing or real contribution to well-being at work?
In this sense, “personality hires” have a role quite similar to that of those responsible for happiness at work (“chief happiness officers”, in business jargon). The latter strive to make life in the company more pleasant, by organizing afterwork events, seminars focused on well-being and other festive events in the professional context. The professional network LinkedIn lists a thousand in France, which shows that this profession, born in Silicon Valley in the early 2000s, is still marginal in France.
In any case, the craze for happiness managers and “personality hires” shows that companies are increasingly striving to contribute to the well-being of their employees. But happiness in business must be the responsibility of everyone, and not just of a few employees with sparkling personalities. This subject must be the subject of a real examination of conscience among all employees, including those occupying positions of responsibility, to avoid falling into “happy washing”.