Some recruiters can make flawed judgements about a candidate’s personality based on what they read in their application according to a new study.
The research said that overall the findings of the study showed that applicant’s personality plays just a ‘small role in role in how hireable applicants are perceived to be’, but that on five key personality areas, some HR staff drew the wrong conclusions about a candidate.
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The researchers came up with a list of recommendations for candidates that includes putting education achievements ahead of work achievements on a CV.
They also recommended that applicants should also include all leadership roles they’ve had within an organisation and making sure that hobbies are adventurous, in order to appear more outgoing and employable.
The study organisers asked 122 recruiters to evaluate the CV’s of 37 students and in each case they were also asked to look at 77 aspects of the document covering what psychologists called the ‘big five’ personality traits -openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism.
The students completed quizzes at the same time to see what their ‘real’ personalities were like to act as a control.
The findings showed that some recruiters were bad judges of character; in particular they tended to rate people higher than they were really in extroversion – a quality which meant they were more likely to be hired – and lower in conscientiousness than the reality.
An attractive resume with double spacing were thought of more highly than those who used single spacing.
The study also showed that those who said that they had volunteered were found to be better organised than those who didn’t.
Gary Burns, Lead author of the research from Wright State University in the US, said that job candidates should also avoid the temptation to make their CV stand out by using ‘unusual fonts or formats’, and to avoid adding a personal statement on your CV, he added.
In the report, which appeared in the Journal of Business and Psychology, Mr Burns said their results have ‘implications for both applicants and HR personnel evaluating resumes’.