You don’t often see “likeability” as a key characteristic, or core competency when recruiting people. Yet in my view, it’s an essential business quality – “People Do Business With People” – whether it’s selling goods and services or customer operations, the ability to form genuine, warm relationships is one of the ingredients to successful, profitable trading. I am still surprised when people think it is their technical / product knowledge alone which is good enough to secure a job.
Human beings are emotional creatures, programmed after thousands of years of evolution to seek out and make connections with other human beings – we are social pack creatures. We naturally seek out people we like and make us feel good. If something has gone wrong with your service provision, or you have a sales target to meet, sorting it out or closing the deal is easier if you are likeable – that’s why it’s generally easier and more cost effective to increase revenues to your existing customers than secure new business – as Simon and Garfunkel sang Keep the Customer Satisfied.
Customers are savvy, they know when employees are faking it and insincerity can be sniffed out a mile away – take the advice of my mate, senior HR manager for a household name blue chip company – “if you are recruiting two people equally capable of doing the job, pick the one you like. If you like them after a 45 minute interview, chances are your customers will too.”
It’s even more important to understand the characteristics of people in a tough economic climate. The recruitment pool is bigger, but size doesn’t matter, its quality we need. Amiability, how often have you sat across from people and you’ve thought – too aggressive, too insistent, they’d only alienate my clients. How many experiences have we had from aggressive Corporations chasing and chasing from desperate sales people who come across as not likeable? When will these Stock Exchange listed companies grasp the idea of likeability and not chase the green back with promises unlikeable employees can’t deliver?
Power to the likeable people