Why “Personality Hires” Matters in Southeast Asia, ETHRWorldSEA
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Why “Personality Hires” Matters in Southeast Asia, ETHRWorldSEA

Discovering the Power of Personality: Why ‘Personality Hires’ Matters in Southeast Asia

In the noisy corridors of Southeast Asia’s corporate landscape, amid the quest for technical prowess and academic excellence, a quieter but powerful force is gaining recognition: personality hiring. Beyond the skill areas listed on resumes and academic pedigrees, employers increasingly value individuals whose personalities align with the organization’s culture and values. This shift means a shift away from traditional hiring norms to a holistic approach that prioritizes cultural fit and long-term synergy over mere qualifications on paper.Southeast Asia, with its diverse cultural tapestry and dynamic economic growth, provides a unique backdrop for exploring the importance of hiring for personality. From the thriving financial hub of Singapore to the emerging tech scene of Vietnam, organizations are discovering that a candidate’s personality can be a game-changer in promoting innovation, strengthening team dynamics, and ultimately driving business success.

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Defining employee personalities
At its core, personality-based hiring refers to selecting candidates not only for their technical skills but also for the personality traits, values, and attitudes that complement the organization’s ethos. This approach recognizes that while skills can be taught, personality traits such as adaptability, resilience, and team spirit are inherent to an individual’s potential for long-term success within the organization.

According to a recent HR Asia study, 82% of companies in Southeast Asia now consider culture fit when making hiring decisions. This shift reflects a growing awareness that a candidate’s ability to integrate and strengthen an existing organizational culture significantly impacts employee engagement, retention rates, and overall organizational performance. In short, personality-based hiring prioritizes a candidate’s cultural fit and interpersonal skills alongside their technical skills. This means looking for people who not only have the necessary expertise, but also embody the company’s values, communication style, and overall work ethic. As Michael C. Mankins puts it in his book The Talent Code, “Hiring for fit is about finding people who are not only competent, but also committed and will contribute to the company culture.”

Strategic imperative: why hiring for personality matters
In today’s competitive marketplace, where digital transformation and rapid innovation reign supreme, the strategic imperative to hire people with personality is becoming increasingly evident. Organizations across Southeast Asia aren’t just looking for employees who can get the job done; they’re looking for cultural ambassadors who can embody and champion organizational values ​​both internally and externally. Recent research from Deloitte Southeast Asia highlights that organizations that prioritize culture fit by hiring people with personality experience a 30% higher retention rate than those that don’t. In addition, such companies report a 25% increase in employee engagement, underscoring the tangible benefits of aligning personal values ​​with organizational culture.

“Hiring people with personality plays a critical role in shaping a company’s culture and driving innovation,” says Dr. Mei Ling, Chief People Officer at a leading Kuala Lumpur-based technology company. “When individuals resonate with our values ​​and bring diverse perspectives rooted in their personalities, they contribute to a vibrant workplace where creativity thrives.”

The benefits of prioritizing hiring for specific personalities in Southeast Asia are multi-faceted. Here’s a closer look at the impact:

  • Improved team dynamics: A 2022 report by Hays, a global recruitment agency, found that 72% of employers in Southeast Asia prioritize cultural fit when recruiting. Focusing on personality fosters a sense of belonging and collaboration. Employees who share similar values ​​and communication styles are more likely to collaborate with each other, leading to a more positive and productive work environment.
  • Better customer relationships: Building trust and relationships with customers is key in Southeast Asia, where personal connections often matter. The 2021 Edelman Trust Barometer found that 80% of Southeast Asians believe that companies must operate with a strong sense of purpose. Employees with strong communication and interpersonal skills are better equipped to build meaningful relationships with customers, nurture long-term partnerships, and drive business success.
  • Reduced rotation: Gallup research suggests that employees who feel a strong cultural fit with their company are more likely to engage and stay with the organization. In a region with a growing pool of tech talent, attracting and retaining the best talent is key. Focusing on personality reduces turnover costs and ensures project continuity.

Examples of sought-after soft skills in Southeast Asia

  • Respect and harmony: In cultures that emphasize respect for hierarchy and collectivism, people hired for personality often demonstrate strong interpersonal skills and a willingness to cooperate.
  • Effective communication: The ability to communicate clearly and concisely across teams and cultures is essential. This includes active listening, adapting communication styles, and fostering open dialogue.
  • Adaptability: The technology landscape in Southeast Asia is constantly evolving. Personality-based hires are flexible and eager to learn new things, allowing them to thrive in a dynamic environment.
  • Problem-solving: Finding solutions that take into account the needs of all stakeholders is key. Personality hires are resourceful and can solve challenges collaboratively.

Overcoming Challenges: Finding Balance

While the benefits of personality-based hiring are clear, challenges like unconscious bias and subjective evaluation criteria require a nuanced approach. Effectively implementing this strategy requires a strategic approach. HR leaders in Southeast Asia emphasize the importance of structured interview processes, diversity training, and continuous feedback mechanisms to ensure that personality-based hiring practices remain fair, transparent, and aligned with organizational goals. Here are some tips for companies in Southeast Asia:

  • Clearly define your company culture: Articulate your core values, communication style, and desired work ethic. This will provide a framework for evaluating candidates.
  • Use behavioral interviewing: Go beyond traditional interview questions. Use behavioral questions to assess a candidate’s past actions in situations that reflect desired soft skills.
  • Interviews with the band: Involve team members in the interview process. This allows them to assess the candidate’s cultural fit with the existing team dynamic.
  • Cultural sensitivity training: Equip recruiters with training on Southeast Asian cultural nuances. This ensures a fair and inclusive recruitment process.

Looking Ahead: The Future of Personality Hiring in Southeast Asia

As Southeast Asia becomes a global economic powerhouse, the role of hiring people with specific personalities in shaping organizational culture and driving innovation is poised to expand even further. From fintech startups in Malaysia to e-commerce giants in Thailand, organizations are changing their recruiting strategies to prioritize people whose personalities not only fit but also enrich their corporate structure.

“Investing in hiring people with specific personalities isn’t just about filling positions; it’s about investing in the future resilience and adaptability of our workforce,” says the CEO of a prominent Singapore-based conglomerate. “By embracing diverse personalities, we’re opening new avenues for growth and ensuring our teams remain agile in an ever-evolving marketplace.”

In short, the concept of personality-based hiring represents a paradigm shift in how organizations in Southeast Asia approach talent acquisition. By placing equal emphasis on personal values, cultural fit, and technical competencies, companies can create environments where employees thrive, innovation thrives, and business objectives are realized with unprecedented agility and resilience. As Southeast Asia navigates the complexities of a post-pandemic economy, the strategic integration of personality-based recruiting practices will undoubtedly play a key role in shaping the future of work across the region.

  • Published on 11 Jul 2024 at 05:00 AM IST

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