At the risk of sounding like the old man complaining about kids these days with their rap hop music and their fancy iDroid phones and yelling at them to get off my lawn, we must discuss this concept they have invented called "Personality Hires."
Apparently, Gen Z has decided that a skillset isn't the most important thing you need in the workplace because morale and smiles are more important than all that efficiency nonsense, right? Well, that's what they're saying on social media, anyway.
Corporate workers are discovering whether or not they're "personality hires" as the term has gained steam on social media in recent weeks.
Bella Rose Mortel, a 22-year-old social media strategist at newsletter platform Beehiiv, went viral this week labeling herself a personality hire, and suggesting that other Gen Zers might embrace a more "playful" attitude at work.
The term "personality hire" refers to an employee beloved for bringing a positive attitude and seamless interpersonal skills to the office — usually to compensate for a lack of hard skills or productivity.
"Personality hires" are apparently a way to make up for the fact that some young folks are coming into the workplace completely unprepared for... well... work.
"The personality hire is also the client whisperer," one top commenter, with 12,500 upvotes, wrote. "Omg I may have been the personality hire at several jobs," another viewer added. "I once went shopping with my boss' wife. Mid work day."
"I'm the opposite of a personality hire," a third commenter wrote. "I'm unapproachable but I get stuff done lol."
Whoever that last commenter is? Give them a job ASAP. They're who I want on the team.
It's cool and all if you're "approachable" and, dare I say, "bring the vibes," but when that is used to make up for your deficits in actual workplace efficiency, you're doing no one any favors. I've worked with plenty of "personality hires." I've also worked with people who were both personable and efficient. The latter tend to hold their jobs longer. People also tend to be able to see through the facade of the "personality hires" when it comes time to actually get a project done. They're MIA.
But, hey, use those hip Gen Z slang phrases and you're just as valuable in the workplace, right?
In her series of TikToks, Mortel suggested Gen Z viewers might lean into a more playful approach at work. She said she interacts with her managers by using slang terms like "Hey king, "Slay," and "Y'all ate." (Being a startup, she acknowledged to Business Insider her workplace is a bit more lax than most. She also said she built rapport with her manager first, and now he's even started to reciprocate, greeting her with, "Hey queen.")
Here's a key quote from Rose:
"A lot of my previous managers have told me that they really like the energy I bring," she said, "and that's the nicest compliment I could ever get in my whole life."
"A lot of my previous managers" meaning "I don't hold jobs for a long time." There aren't many people who achieve a lot of success without holding jobs for long periods of time. If you're a young worker and have gone through "a lot" of different managers, you have either been job hunting most of your professional career or you've been passed over for promotions at fewer places of work. So, either you don't hold a job for very long or you aren't qualified to move up in the company you work for. Either way, that doesn't look great for you as an employee.
Part of this has to do with the fact that young employees coming into the workplace don't have the skills necessary to actually exist in the workplace. Failures in the education system, primarily from secondary education and higher education, have left young adults entering the workforce less prepared than at any other point in history. The other factor here, though, has to do with previous generations also letting their kids down with a general lack of accountability.
Today's young adults are simply unable to handle the world that has progressed while they have been made to regress.