02 August 2011

Does Personality Trump Skill?

Image: tungphoto / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
In our lives we'll make many professional relationships. We tend to favour those we like personally - it's a natural tendency. You may not care about your accountant, but you might have a close bond with your hairdresser. If you don't like your boss's personality, you'll be in for a rocky ride no matter how qualified or experienced they are.

Obviously in any professional relationship, the person’s ability to do the job is the most important thing. If we only hired people we liked, we’d just work with our friends and never get anything done. But personality is important. I've had to hire quite a few people. I have said no to perfectly qualified people based purely on cultural fit. I knew they wouldn’t fit into the team, that they’d be unhappy, and that ultimately I might have to recruit someone else in a few months. Getting on with people, or just being able to relate, is important.

I wonder how vital personality is when you're selecting an agent (most of us would be estatic if any agent selected us, but in a dream world you'd have multiple offers). The most important quality for an agent is obviously their ability to sell your work. But depending on an agent’s style, the relationship is incredibly important. They are a coach, a mentor, they work alongside you to develop creative ideas and they deliver news, good and bad. If you’re not on the same wavelength, you can’t expect to be very productive. At best, you may have limited contact. At worst, it could disrupt your career.

How important is personality to you in selecting an agent? If you only had one offer, would you dare say no because they rubbed you up the wrong way?

Now this is completely unrelated, but the word "personality" always makes me think of this song:

1 comment:

  1. Good thoughts Charlotte! Personality would actually be a big factor for me in choosing an agent. It's important for me to have someone I can trust and get along with. Although, I'm leaning more and more toward self publishing so it may not be an issue... =)