A fountain pen checks a financial or business document with an adhesive note reading "payroll" attached to it. Image Credit: Agency


UAE residents share their experiences of how their personality has affected their pay cheque.

Did you know that your personality could be the reason you get hired?

Dubai psychologist explains the best ideal body language to have during a job interview


Personality can influence your job prospects: Gulf News readers

Huda Tabrez, Community Web Editor and Evangeline Elsa, Community Solutions Editor

He became a doctor because his family wanted their son to study medicine. But his personality wasn’t one perfectly suited for patient care.

Today, 35-year-old Ajman resident Dr Abdullah Timraz manages the out-patient department at a UAE hospital and said that his personality had a lot to do with how much he earns today.

The Jordanian national said that he was the only student from his batch in medical school who ended up pursuing healthcare management.

“I have a personality more suited to running a business, I like to focus on leading a team. So, after I did my Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) I decided to to take my career to the next level of business management,” he told Gulf News.

One’s personality, accoding to Dr Timraz, can make a big difference in how much you earn.

Apart from persuasive communication, the ability to manage a team and spot how to generate profits in any set up will play a crucial role in determining his future pay cheque as well, he said.

I have a personality more suited to running a business, I like to focus on leading a team. So, after I did my Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) I decided to to take my career to the next level of business management

- Dr Abdullah Timraz

“If the person looks smart, it will appear in his general appearance as well. Your power to convince and confidence level also helps,” he added. 

Many UAE residents Gulf News spoke with agreed that one’s personality could influence their salary, even if they did not choose the field they were working in altogether.


Dubai resident, Tarannum Rahman, felt that being an extrovert with good communication skills were crucial in determining how much you earned in life.

“The more clearly you speak and communicate your achievements, the better it is for you,” Rahman said.

The more clearly you speak and communicate your achievements, the better it is for you.

- Tarannum Rahman

However, communication can be tricky when working in an international company, as she does.

“In international companies, sometimes the reporting manager is located in a diffent part of the region and the person who does the job is in another. This is where it is even more important to have highly developed communication skills,” she added.

Even though people who are able to communicate with their managers on a face-to-face basis more regularly had an advantage, personality traits like being an extrovert could help people who were placed in international company structures.

Rahman added that one’s success at their specific job role was also significantly influenced by personality traits.

As someone who identified herself as an extrovert, with the natural instinct to also be cautious with decisions, she said: “I run a department on my own, so I manage a team of workers. That requires me to communicate with them openly and clearly.

"But because we are working often with cases of fraud, waste and abuse, it requires a high level of confidentiality. I feel like my ability to carefully consider things before I take a decision helps in these cases.”

Top traits: Conscientiousness, extroversion and agreeableness

A new study done at the University of Copenhagen on schools based in California, US, shed light on how personality traits like conscientiousness, extroversion and agreeableness could make a big difference to how much a person earned in a lifetime.

According to the study, conscientiousness among men boosted their life’s income, with being less agreeable also helping in parts.

The study, however, was limited in its scope as it only studied high IQ individuals in Caifornia.

Dubai resident, Ghassan Anwer, who quit a full-time job to start his own business felt that skills and knowledge played a much bigger role than personality in determining one’s paycheck.

However, once all these parameters are lined up, a person’s personality can influence how much they make.

“When I was working at my last company, it was always my personality and my ‘go-do-it’ approach which helped me get a promotion when people were not even thinking of bonuses or salary increase. From being a mid-level manager to senior management, I got the career jump because of my ability to take things head on,” he said.

When I was working at my last company, it was always my personality and my ‘go-do-it’ approach which helped me get a promotion when people were not even thinking of bonuses or salary increase.

- Ghassan Anwer

As someone who does not like to be categorised as being an extrovert or an introvert, he said that he had the personality type that communicates clearly, but only when he knows it will be productive.

“I do not like to complain or criticise, I prefer providing positive feedback and motivating people. It would be better if you would do that and work in line with your objectives,” he added.

Physical appearance

Apart from personatity traits, even physical appearance can impact one’s job prospects.

Surabhi Sudarsan, 31, said that her weight often affected her chances at getting a job.

“I have always been chubby and good looks always receive attention. I have always faced this question of being fat. Body weight is automatically counted as a part of personality, especially for women. But if you need to prove yourself, you need a chance. And that chance is mostly not given in terms of promotions or new projects.”

Body weight is automatically counted as a part of personality, especially for women. But if you need to prove yourself, you need a chance.

- Surabhi Sudarsan

In 2015, the University of Messina, Italy, set out to see if physical appearance played a part during the first stage of the hiring process.

They sent out more than 11,000 CVs for 1,542 roles across Italy using the same resume and changing only the first and last names, address, and photograph.


Callback rate for good-looking women

The overall callback rate was 30 per cent, but the researchers found that good looking women had a callback rate of 54 per cent, with handsome men receiving a call back 47 per cent of the time.


Callback rate for 'handsome' men

However, good looks can only take your so far.

In 2016, researchers from University College London’s School of Management found that men who are blessed with traditional good looks were considered competent.

But there's a caveat: They were less likely to be promoted by men as they were deemed “a threat” to their male rivals.

What HR managers think about prospective employees’ personality

Rabab Khan, Community Interactivity Editor

Close-up of cheque being handed to another person. Image Credit: Agency

When you walk in to an office for a job interview, you keep your resume close by and try to be as professional as possible. But, did you know that your personality could be the reason you get hired?

Byju Devassy, an assistant human resources (HR) manager based in Abu Dhabi, believes that an individual’s personality is “very important” when it comes to job interviews. Why?

He said: “It may not always be a key factor for selection, but for senior-level jobs, this is certainly an important factor especially if the person, after hiring, may have to represent the organisation on various business verticals and external organisations.”

Personality is certainly a factor to create a good rapport

- Byju Devassy

Each job has a set of required skills, but it seems like an interviewer can be persuaded to consider you for the role if your personality type matches the role.

“Personality is certainly a factor to create a good rapport,” Devassy added.

Personality: Key factor

Jafar Puthiyottumkandy, an Abu-Dhabi based human resources officer, agrees that one’s personality has become increasingly important in recruitment. Through personality assessment, the interviewer is able to get an understanding of the candidate’s suitability to the job role.

He said: “An interviewer would be able to understand how the candidate reacts to certain situations on the job, which is going to be assigned to him or her. Not every personality is suited for every job position, so it’s important to recognise personality traits and pair employees with the duties that fit their personalities the best.

This can lead to increased productivity and job satisfaction, helping on business function more efficiently.”

But, does your personality type also affect your paycheque at the end of the month? While it doesn’t entirely, Puthiyottumkandy explained how it does make a difference.

He said: “Personality traits such as conscientiousness and neuroticism are significantly related to workers’ productivity. More conscientious and emotionally stable people were more productive and therefore earned more for the task they were set. But, personality is considered only one of the factors from the interview assessment, so separately it doesn’t have any big impact in considering the salary.”

He further explained that since a candidate’s personality affects the position offered to him or her, it indirectly impacts the salary, too. For certain positions, one’s personality is considered highly important. For instance, the personality needed for a sales executive would be quite different to that of an administrator. Based on this, a candidate’s salary could differ.

Puthiyottumkandy said: “Employers want to know that you are qualified for a position, but they also want to see that you will fit in with the company culture. The only way to assess this is to get a sense of your personality.”

Rrecruitment professional says 

Murugesh S. S. Sivam, a personnel practitioner who is involved with recruitment in a Dubai-based company, emphasises on the way a person answers questions being more important than the technical aspects.

He said: “The way you answer is more important as it can reveal your ambitions, passions and creativity and can hence be more influencing than any other qualities.

"Understand your curriculum vitae (CV) thoroughly so you answer all the queries about yourself in a confident manner. The interviewers can be influenced by your communication style.

"Your body language, especially the way you walk in, shake hands and take your seat, is important. Your dress sense and the facial expressions matter a lot, too.”

Take your time, relax, and listen, added Sivam.

How personality affects paycheck: Research and psychology

Why do some people end up earning more than others or having better career growth? And how much does it have to do with their personalities?

happy young woman at the office Image Credit: Agency

Soft skills matters

According to Dr Saliha Afridi, a clinical psychologist in Dubai: “Companies look for individuals that are confident, effective communicators, flexible, dependable, able to work within teams, lead and follow, self-aware, has a growth mindset and is able to take feedback. There are many qualified individuals who have the right skill set but they are not hired because their personality traits may not be the best fit for a company’s culture and/or job requirements.

“People who are most successful will have generally have a higher emotional quotient (EQ) and soft skills.”

She added: “Personality traits make themselves evident in a person’s body language, their dressing, the confidence and positivity they exude, the way they answer questions and complete tasks- effectively and with calmness.”

People who are most successful will have generally have a higher emotional quotient (EQ) and soft skills.

- Dr Saliha Afridi

Lower voice = higher paycheck?

To increase your paycheck, lower your voice.

In 2013, scientists at Duke University discovered the optimal pleasing sound frequency to be around 125 Hz, and the lower the voice, the more authority it conveys.

To put this in perspective, James Earl Jones — the actor who gave voice to Star Trek’s Darth Vader — speaks at around 85 Hz.

Along with researchers at the University of California San Diego, the Duke team analysed recordings of 792 US chief executives at public companies. After controlling for experience, education and other influential factors, they found that a drop of 22 Hz in voice frequency correlated with an increase of $187,000 (Dh686,879) in compensation.

Research says...

A study by Miriam Gensowsk, an assistant professor at the University of Copenhagen analysed how people’s lifetime earnings are influenced by their personality traits. She statistically compared men with equal IQ, parental characteristics, and childhood conditions (including finances and health), at each age.

The study found that in the early years, earnings were no different for men with strong personality traits. At around age 30, a gap emerged, as men who were more conscientious, extroverted, and less agreeable started earning more.”

Findings of a 1998 research at Santa Clara University in the US, reinforced the notion that: “An individual’s personality plays a significant role in workplace behaviours. The kind of impression that person makes during the recruiting process also appears to be a function of the applicant’s personality.”

Body language during an interview

So, what is the ideal body language to have during a job interview?

According to Dr Afridi, during a job interview, “one must be upright but not stiff, shoulders back, arms in an open stance, not crossed. Slight use of hand gestures is encouraged, breath steady and legs must be uncrossed. For women, legs can be crossed at the ankles.”

Soft skills can be learned

“If a person wants to change something about themselves or highlight certain traits then they should focus on learning them. Many of these soft skills are just that - skills. this means they can be learned.”

Is it advisable to display a different personality?

Dr Afridi added: “I would discourage people from acting as something different than who they are, just for an interview. Because you will either come across as inauthentic or be hired for a job that requires certain traits and you will find your self struggling to please.”

A 2017 research titled ‘Uncovering the Power of Personality to Shape Income’, published on The National Center for Biotechnology Information, US, showed that individuals can earn an additional income of more than their monthly salary per year if they hold a job that fits their personality.

Thus, at least for some traits, economic success depends not only on having a “successful personality” but also, on finding the best job suiting one’s personality.

What do young people think?

Youngsters share whether someone’s personality affects their professional growth

By Falah Gulzar, Trainee with the Gulf News Social Media Team 

iStock-874346900 pay cheque salary
Pay day Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Most commonly, one dives into the professional world at a young age. From anxiously looking for jobs to diligently trying to impress your new boss, youngsters have to deal with the hardships that arise in one’s career path.

Gulf News asked a group of young individuals about their thoughts on finding a job, excelling in their careers, getting paid well and the effects that one’s personality traits might have on those aspects.

Mahnoor Malik believes that people can have greater chances of getting employed due to their social skills but further climbing the cooperate ladder is determined by their set of professional assets and qualification.

Mahnoor Malik Image Credit: Supplied

The 23-year-old said: “It’s also important that people know when to use their personality traits. This can contribute to their professional growth but it does not entirely depend on it.”

The Bachelor of Arts student also believes that in today’s age, the corporate environment is shaping itself to require more “socially adaptable” people, therefore, developing one’s personality is a must. “Although employers don’t bullet point things like that in the job description, they are looking for people with social skills.”

Malik added, “We live in a fast paced world where mistakes happen, but it is how you choose to respond to the situation is what defines you, not only as an employee but as a competent member of the society.”

Business analyst, Haris Toffic believes that the emphasis on one’s social traits depends on the field of work and the specific type of personality required for it.

Haris Toffic
Haris Toffic Image Credit: Supplied


He said: “I strongly believe that some professions put more emphasis on personalities. An example of this would be that of a salesman. A salesman should have a personality that is open, cheerful, extroverted, someone who is better able to capture the attention and convince customers to purchase a product, rather than a person who is more of an introvert and isn’t very good at talking to people.”

Toffic added that people who are more expressive can have a better impact on their employers. “They can convince [employers] through their personality that they would be a valuable asset to the company and increase their chances of getting a job or getting a higher salary.”

The 23-year-old also said that qualifications are the first thing employers look for but a person’s demeanour makes a big difference when searching for jobs. “What really matters after you have the qualifications is the interview and how you portray yourself. First impression is the last impression.”

On the contrary, civil engineer Mohammad Fares Mohammad believes that people get hired strictly due to their qualifications, hwoever, progressing further after getting the job can depend on their personality.

The Ras Al Khaimah resident also said that youngsters are more adaptable to change and such personality traits are what companies are looking for. “Millennials quickly adapt to new environments,” he said.