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Personality matters more in your job interview than you might think — these traits are the biggest turn-offs

CNBC logo CNBC 24/7/2019 Karen Gilchrist
a person sitting at a table © Provided by CNBC LLC

The next time you go for a job interview, you should spend time brushing up your personality — not just your skill set.

That's according to a new joint report from United States careers advice site TopInterview and job search platform Resume-Library, which ranked personality among the top three factors most employers look for in new hires.

Alongside skills and experience, personality emerged as a top consideration in 70% of employers' decision-making processes, well ahead of education (18%) and appearance (7%).

Confidence emerged as one of the most desirable personality traits among prospective job candidates, according to the 200 talent acquisition professionals surveyed for the report. Arrogance, meanwhile, ranked among the least desirable.

The least and most desirable personality traits in job candidates

Least desirable:

  • Arrogance
  • Dishonesty
  • Entitlement
  • Unreliability
  • Closed-mindedness

Most desirable:

  • Confidence
  • Authenticity
  • Honesty
  • Reliability
  • Self-discipline

TopInterview career expert Amanda Augustine said the findings were reflective of the growing emphasis both employers and employees are placing on their work environment.

"Today's hiring managers are tasked with assessing whether a candidate will fit in with the company culture, and this determination is primarily based on how the candidate behaves during an interview," said Augustine.

"The fine line between 'confidence' and 'arrogance' when making that first impression is everything — one's personality can make or break an interview," she added.

Play to your strengths

A tight labor market in the U.S. has also shrunk the country's available talent, meaning that employers have had to get creative when looking for potential candidates, according to Lee Biggins, founder and CEO of Resume-Library.

"Employers have less talent to choose from than ever before, and this is encouraging them to think outside the box when it comes to assessing candidates' potential and experience," Biggins said.

"Indeed, a key part of this is considering how well someone's personality is going to fit in with their teams, so it's crucial to stand out for all the right reasons," he noted.

As such, Biggins recommended playing up the best parts of your personality at your next interview.

"Every company is different, each with its own priorities, but our survey shows that key personality traits simply won't cut it in the workplace. So next time you're headed to an interview, try to be a bit more self-aware and conscious of how you're coming across."

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