Yup, that they do. Think about it, lads and lassies. Let’s start with the more mundane jobs – I don’t want to offend anyone with what I consider mundane but e.g. if you’re a minimum-wage barista, then you have to be pleasant to customers, or you’ll start affecting their revenue as customers disappear to the shop a couple of blocks away. You have to be nice to colleagues, too: My local supermarket has in recent months lost lots of friendly, helpful check-out staff because they couldn’t take the less-than-adorable store manager. At the other end of the scale, CEOs known for their abrasive/aggressive style of management often come a cropper when the shareholders start complaining about the excessive turnover of management – there are examples in the newspapers all the time.
So…..personality matters. In the interview process, as hiring managers ask questions about experience, skills, education, they are also trying to gauge whether you will “fit in” (five little letters, huge implications). How do you know what sort of personality they want? Good question. You can’t pretend to be someone you’re not –well, some politicians can, I guess, and there are some movie stars out there who have a screen persona which is nothing like their real selves. But for the most part, you’re you. A good recruitment consultant will have given you a couple of pointers. “Be concise. Don’t ramble on. Have some of the answers ready in advance so you don’t have to hum and haw thinking of the reply.” “Be a good listener; the HR person says the Department likes that. Don’t interrupt with rushes of enthusiasm to show that you have whatever you were just asked. Just nod and smile a lot at the interviewer.”
It’ll all depend on the job (Duh!). You’ll have to use your own judgment as well as take the advice of the consultant. And of course, you can always ask what the company culture is like….whatever they say, try to tailor your answer accordingly – while still sticking to the truth.
Some things are universal, though. Showing respect for the company, the people you meet, and the interview process. Be on time, smile and be polite when being introduced, to everyone (do you KNOW the number of people who don’t get jobs because they were snotty to the receptionist?), be appropriately dressed, have done your homework about the company, do follow up thank you letters/emails — even if it’s the thousand-to-one occasion when you want to withdraw your application, you don’t want to burn bridges. You might come across that HR Manager again one day. These are universal truths and you stray from them at your peril.