Business leaders from Jack Welch to Richard Branson and organisations from McKinsey to Harvard Business School make the same point. A survey of 500 leaders found that the right “personality” was judged the most important quality in a worker by 78% compared with “skill set” which scored 39%.


So why is this self-evident point so routinely ignored?


Jobs go unfilled for months while an employer seeks exactly the right experience. Second tier graduates who happen to have accountancy or business degrees are favoured over better candidates with “non relevant” degrees. Note this is not to suggest skills/experience have no relevance: just that they are only part of the make-up of a great hire and one that is often exaggerated.


There are a few reasons employers often choose to prioritise skill over character: