Company Culture

The Case for Personality Hires


Written by Danielle Smith • March 18, 2024

The Case for Personality Hires

We all have that one coworker, the one that makes us laugh in meetings when recounting their weekend misfortunes, the one who enjoys playing harmless practical jokes on the office manager. The coworker who brings joy into the workday, breaking up the monotony. We’re, of course, talking about the personality hires.

What is a personality hire?

The term “personality hire” recently became popularized, with some pure gold TikToks giving us examples to relate to with our own office experiences. But what does it mean? Personality hires are the people at work that bring positive energy. They’re the friendly ones, the ones that like talking about things besides just work, the ones that bring people together. They plan the social events for the office and they enjoy getting to know others on a level deeper than simply company roles and responsibilities.

Often, it’s said that personality hires were literally hired for their personality, as opposed to hard skills or previous work experience. On a technical level, they might not be the highest performers at the company, but they bring so much value into teams because of their innate traits, likeability, and how they connect with other people.

Why are personality hires beneficial for companies?

Does it make sense for companies to hire people based on personality, rather than their ability to do the job? For many companies, there are clear benefits to hiring individuals whose behavior adds value to the team rather than their skills.

One of the most important ways to create a sense of fulfillment within employees is human connection. Bringing people together through office lunches, milestone celebrations, or end-of-the-year parties gives coworkers the chance to relax and talk about something other than what happens when they’re at their desks. This can lead to feelings of interrelatedness and help companies build and maintain positive working cultures — which, in turn, can lead to higher productivity and higher staff retention throughout the years.

Personality hires directly influence the social connectedness of an office, even for quite diverse teams, making them a huge value add to have on the team. Their skills are people skills, which are hugely important for any company. Because they’re good at connecting with other people and facilitating social connections, their performance, in the end, tends to be on par with others who were hired because of strong resumes.

For what personality hires lack in hard skills (which, let’s be honest, often is exaggerated), they make up for in their ability to connect people and contribute to a good working culture.

How to hire people with good personalities

If your team could benefit from a personality hire, checking out your recruitment practices is a good place to start. While it’s important to engage in unbiased, non-discriminatory recruitment processes, scoring applicants across their alignment to company values — like positivity and kindness — can be a stronger indication of how well they would fit into a team than their technical skills.

Look for applicants who have the right attitude and are socially savvy, as well as those who are just generally pleasant to chat with about anything. Taking behavioral aspects into consideration during the process can be another way to hire the right person for the team. This could include asking them more behavior-related questions, such as:

  • “Tell me about a time when you faced a challenge. What happened and how did you overcome this challenge?”
  • “How do you work in a team? What do you think is the most important aspect of teamwork?”
  • “Please describe a time when you stepped up to help out a teammate.”

“Personality hires” began as a funny bit on social media, however the idea of hiring people for being pleasant to be around has caught on — and there are clear benefits to doing so. If your team is looking for someone to bring everyone together, then consider hiring someone who brings joy into the space.