HUMAN resource professionals agree that personality is an important consideration in the selection process.

Employers are increasingly looking at a candidate's disposition when making their final choice. Sometimes, impeccably groomed and qualified individuals are knocked out in the last round because they do not meet the personality criteria of the organisation.

The most common personality considerations include conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness, emotional stability and openness to experience.

What is personality?

Personality is simply described as the typical way that an individual responds to a variety of situations. The personality traits of an individual are generally stable.

Personality is more likely to predict what a person will do. Ability is more likely to predict what a person can do.

Occasionally, certain situations and circumstances may lead an individual to behave such that it is out of character. Most employers usually overlook this.

The personality test

During the recruitment process, be aware that the final selection may not be based entirely on your paper qualifications, work experience and professional expertise.

These will get you to the final interview but the personality test will divulge clues of who you are, how you may behave in the workplace, and affect your chance at the job.

There are plenty of questionnaires designed by occupational psychologists to understand a person's personality. These are then translated into workplace competencies and responses for employers.

A person's interests outside work can reveal much about his character. Fresh graduates are measured by their performance outside the classroom as well. Extracurricular activities are thought to provide clues to one's personality.

Interviewers often like to ask prospective candidates to talk unreservedly about what they do in their leisure time. This is a discreet way of weaving in questions to find out more about their personalities.

So if you are bumped out at the final interview, review critically what you said at the last interview.

Qualities that matter

The most common personality trait that employers look for is conscientiousness. It is composed of two discrete factors: achievement and dependability.

A measure of achievement consists of the amount of effort put in by the individual in hard work, persistence and the desire to do hard work.

Dependability reflects the individual's discipline in relation to his work and the work environment, organisational skills and respect for laws and regulations. It also comprises the individual's honesty, trustworthiness and acceptance of authority.

Conscientiousness translates into a person's ability to get the job done well, so it is not surprising that human resource and senior managers in organisations are concerned about it.

Research has shown that there is a link between conscientiousness, emotional stability and integrity. A person with integrity is honest and ethical, and these factors are also associated with employee reliability.

Snag the job

Securing a job offer today takes more than academic and technical ability, experience and expertise. You will be assessed not only on whether your personality matches the requirements of the job but also if it fits in with the company's corporate culture.

What can you do to improve your chances of getting the job you want?

Analyse your personality carefully before you apply for your next job. Find out if it fits the kind of profile your potential employer is looking for. Read the job advertisements carefully for clues on the qualities that the potential employer is seeking, and research on the personality types the company currently employs.

If you have the personality that fits as well as the skills, you are well on your way.