Personal attributes more important than skills and experience


A good fit with an existing culture and teams is more important to many businesses than skills, qualifications and experience, according to a survey of Oxfordshire employers. Almost half (47 per cent) of the 122 Oxfordshire-based HR decision-makers surveyed by Oxford recruitment consultancy, Allen Associates, said fit with existing culture and teams was their number one criteria when it comes to recruitment. Experience (27 per cent) and skills and qualifications (26 per cent) were not as vital.

One of the survey respondents, Justine Pavey, HR Manager at Newton Europe based in Oxford, said: “People join us because of the potential for career development and other opportunities. Fitting in with our culture and team is crucial and a key recruitment criteria for us.”

Kate Allen, Managing Director at Allen Associates, said. “I’m not surprised that employers value personal attributes above skills and experience as these can be acquired or enhanced through training. We have built our business and reputation over the last 15 years on carefully matching the right candidate to the right role within the right organisation. Every candidate is different and every vacancy has its own special set of circumstances which is why we interview every candidate and client in person before we make any recommendations. The market for quality candidates is becoming increasingly challenging so it’s good to hear that businesses are looking at the person rather than just their CV.”

Almost all the businesses that took part in Allen Associates’ latest Oxfordshire Employment Trends Survey recruited staff in the first half of 2014 with over three-quarters (79 per cent) taking on more permanent staff – up from 53 per cent surveyed 12 months ago. The majority (60 per cent) of recruits were new hires in response to business growth.

Over half the respondents (55 per cent) said it had been harder to find quality candidates during the first half of this year when compared to the same period last year – and 45 per cent said they had had to increase salaries to secure their first choice candidate for a role.

To read the survey results in full, please visit

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