This Is More Important Than Your Education to Hiring Managers

Your level of self confidence is significantly more important to employers than your education.

A new survey by TopInterview and Resume Library has found that 70% of employers consider a candidate’s personality to be among the top three factors in deciding whether to extend a job offer, the other two being experience and skills. Personality ranked substantially more important than education (18%) or appearance (7%, thank goodness). And the most desired personality trait was confidence.

The key, notably, is to be confident but not too confident. It’s a fine line.

Nearly 200 talent acquisition professionals were also asked which personality traits they find to be the most and least impressive during the interview process. The research found that, while employers rated confidence the most desirable or admirable personality trait, they rated “arrogance” or “overconfidence” as the biggest turn-off.


Here are the top five in each category.

The top five most desirable personality traits according to hiring manager:

  • Confidence
  • Authenticity
  • Honesty
  • Reliability
  • Self-discipline


The top five least desirable personality traits according to hiring managers:

  • Arrogance
  • Dishonesty
  • Entitlement
  • Unreliability
  • Closed-mindedness

“Historically, assessing job seekers was contingent on two factors — experience and skills — but our new survey reveals that more intangible qualities, such as personality, are determining which candidates rise to the top,” said Amanda Augustine, a certified professional career coach and resume writer, and career expert at TopInterview, in a statement. “Today’s hiring managers are tasked with assessing whether a candidate will fit in with the company culture, and this determination is primarily based on how the candidate behaves during an interview. The fine line between ‘confidence’ and ‘arrogance’ when making that first impression is everything — one’s personality can make or break an interview.”


Self confidence is key to everything

The survey supports more robust academic research findings suggesting that self-confidence is a key determinant of workplace success.

Researchers at the University of Melbourne conducted 100 interviews with professionals at large corporations in Melbourne, New York and Toronto, and found a strong correlation between confidence and occupational success

Participants were asked to describe their level of confidence at various life stages and it was found that those who reported higher levels of confidence earlier in school earned better wages, and were promoted more quickly.

If you’re low on self confidence, learning to believe in yourself is key to landing that job. Fortunately, you might start feeling more confident as you get older.

Separate research found that self confidence increases with age and seems to plateau at age 60, then remain stable until age 70.

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