Words by Francis Kahihu
As the dust eventually settles on the interviews facilitated by the Judicial Service Commission for the positions of Chief Justice and the Deputy, the manner in which the process was carried out has continued to dominate public discourse since the close of the process. It was a rare occasion for the public to be treated to a real job interview show on live TV. Readers who have been sending emails asking about possible interview questions witnessed live sessions that should add value as they prepare for the interviews.
The most interesting observation however was on the role that someone’s personality plays in the determination of the best candidates for a position. During the interviews, you must have realized that after the panel scrutinized the academic credentials of the candidates, they decided to place more value on the past engagements and personalities of the persons being interviewed. One of the candidates was alleged to shout at clients and this seemed to be her undoing. Just why should the panel be concerned about the personality of the candidate?
Interviewers are people seeking to propose people for certain job opportunities. With this in mind, it is clear to appreciate the reasons why the panel tends to be drawn towards people who impress them. A person with a pleasant personality is most likely to be proposed for a certain job as compared to one with a dull personality. This happens even in cases where the ‘dull personality’ person has better qualifications than the one with a pleasant personality. This is understandable since in certain cases, persons with dull personalities are unable to better express themselves to panelists.
I have been part of interview panels where persons with lower grades were able to express themselves with lots of enthusiasm to the extent of convincing the panel that their deficiencies are well within their plans for capacity development. This tends to make the panel look upon them with a certain amount of favor hence a more favorable score.
The second reason why personality matters relate to the fact that panelists in most cases would be interviewing would be work colleagues. It is human to hope to hang around pleasant people. In this case, panelists seem to be driven by an inner desire to recruit a pleasant team member. As the interviews progress, the panelists subconsciously battle with the identification of a person who will be a great team member, a person they will all want to hang around. The way you express yourself hence has a direct relationship with the possibility of being hired.
It is also worth noting that jobs have a way of determining the appropriate personalities for effectiveness. For people expected to work in front office and customer care or community mobilization jobs, pleasant personalities are preferred. This explains why persons are advised to pick on careers that match their personalities since there is a relationship between careers and personalities. On the flip side, there are cases when people with outgoing personalities have been locked out of certain jobs since they have been seen to be less serious in life. It is hence wise to play a balance around your personality so that you do not unnecessarily deny yourself an opportunity for a job.
It is however good to note that is possible for persons to make certain adjustments on their personalities to match certain job requirements. Talk to experts on how to align your personality with your career choices and aspirations.