An interesting article was shared with me this morning from Forbes. The title is “Top Five Personality Traits Employers Hire Most”. Great article in concept. The challenge is none of the traits listed are actually personality traits, but rather learned behaviors. Here they are:

  • Professionalism
  • High Energy
  • Confidence
  • Self Monitoring
  • Intellectual curiosity

So, first I read them and I thought, “okay, makes sense, they want a go-getter who needs limited supervision. Got it.” Not at all surprising when so many are being asked to do more with less and managers are being given more employees to look over when the management ranks dwindle due to cost cutting. Well, of course you would want these traits, but doesn’t it depend on the job?

Do you really want someone high energy who is going to be monitoring nuclear threat levels? Really? Can you imagine? “It looks fine….squirrel!” followed by “Um, Houston, we have a problem.”

Do you really want someone who is intellectually curious that sits in a cube all day taking customer complaints? They would be bored witless and constantly looking for other things to occupy their mind instead of focusing on the customer. That, or they might ask a bazillion questions of the customer before solving their problem.

In further reading, it actually looks as if these traits are highly prized so that leaders don’t have to do much leading. Okay, so I get that, too, but what might be the five most prized traits employees seek out in their pursuit of employment? Hmmm… Perhaps these would rank high on the list:

  • Interested in my growth and development
  • Able to see my intent, not just the outcome
  • Communicates clearly their expectations, not just how much trouble I’m in
  • Shares their learning with me and guides me on a career path
  • Stays out of my way, but is there when it’s really needed

Maybe there would be others, but top on my list would be someone who recognizes that anyone can be a prized employee and a leading performer, if they the desire, skills, and practice. These also are not personality traits, but characteristics and behaviors relevant to a specific scenario, much as the traits described in this article are as well. Is your job or company and inviting and appealing scenario for the person you are interviewing?


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