They like me. They like me not. They like me? The Hidden Soft Skill that Trumps Them All

When it comes to soft skills that are valued by employers, most of us know the basics: communication skills, honesty, flexibility, creativity, motivation, attitude, and more.

likeability biasHowever, a Harvard Business School study has identified a soft skill that employers value more highly than all of these. Not only that, but most employers are not even aware that they value this soft skill!

It’s called the likeability bias. According to this study, most employers report that they would value an employee that is competent and unlikeable over an employee that is incompetent but likeable. However, the opposite turned out to be true when the Harvard researchers took a look at the employers’ workplace dynamics. In practice, employers preferred likeable but incompetent employees over unlikeable and competent employees.

This study provides valuable information for both employers and jobseekers that are active in the hiring process. For employers who are looking at video resumes, be aware of how strong the likeability bias is. If you come across a very likeable candidate with questionable credentials, consider bringing him or her in for an interview nonetheless.

On the flip side, however, employers need to be aware that the people we like tend to be similar to ourselves. If employers let the likeability bias influence their decisions too much, they’ll end up with a very homogeneous group of employees with a limited range of perspectives.

To the job seekers out there: remember to smile and be personable and friendly in your video resume. Both your video resume and your in-person interview are your chances to show the employer who you are as a person. Employers want to see that you have a personality and will be a good fit for the company. Avoid being stiff and boring in an attempt to “be professional.” Instead, rely on your paper resume to provide them with the professional details.

Click here to read more about the soft skills that employers value. Or get started with your free video resume trial today!

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