Preparation vs Personality – And the Winner is…

August 5, 2003

An international survey of employers has revealed that when it comes to hiring administrative staff, preparation, not personality, wins the day.

Employers in Australia and eight other countries said the top candidate moves that impress were:

  • Researching a potential employer thoroughly before attending a job interview
  • Asking informed questions at the end of the interview
  • Neat appearance and arriving with all appropriate documents well prepared.

Good manners were rated by a small five per cent of managers as a job winner and only one per cent cited personality as a major influence in giving a candidate the job.

The Workplace Survey relied on data collected by a research firm for recruitment giant Robert Half International in nine countries including Australia. The other countries included Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

The survey involved 1,550 managers in charge of recruitment from human resource staff to finance directors. OfficeTeam, a specialist recruiter of administrative personnel and a division of Robert Half, released the results in Australia.

Nicole Gorton, Australian branch manager of OfficeTeam, said the survey results showed how important it was for candidate’s to do their research. “In today’s competitive environment, anyone who wants to succeed in interviews has to do their homework and appear committed to the vision of the company,” said Ms Gorton.

“Getting through the interview may only be the first step to career success but it is the time when you are meticulously judged and it is true when people say first impressions last,” she said.

OfficeTeam have also released the findings of a survey of candidates that asked what areas of their career get the creative treatment during an interview.

  • 33 per cent of respondents ‘enhanced’ the content of their former jobs
  • 22 percent expanded on their management skills
  • Only 5 per cent exaggerated their salary
  • 51 per cent of interviewees found it difficult to talk about their weaknesses
  • 23 percent preferred to avoid discussing the reasons for leaving their last job.

Story by Kate Southam, editor of CareerOne. Go to more career related articles. Job hunting and workplace questions can be directed to CareerOne by emailing:

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