Insights ... at your fingertips

Call Us Today(514) 745-3189
Toll Free:1-888-855-6975

Sugar and spice and everything nice: 11 Characteristics of likeable people

Posted by Deb Muoio

Aug 11, 2015 1:51:00 PM

characteristics-of-likeable-peopleThe impact of likeability on sales, branding, company culture, and public relations cannot be underestimated. That’s why customers shy away from pushy salespeople, complain about rude behavior from service desk employees, and blacklist any company that puts one toe out of line. One bad review on a social media site and it could take years to rebuff a tarnished reputation. Just ask the majority of cable providers, who often make up the list of companies with the worst reputation.

Like a Matryoshka doll, the likeability of a company begins at its most basic level – individual employees. How clients feel about individual employees then feeds into the company’s reputation as a whole. So if you’re a restaurant owner and one of your waitresses is rude with your customers, it’s not just her problem, it’s also your problem. Given that she represents the company, her behavior, good and bad, represents you. Take a look at negative customer reviews of restaurants; when a customer points out that service was slow and the waitress was bad-mannered, most of the reviews will end with “I won’t be going back to this place/I would not recommend this place to anyone.” The bottom line: If you want to be a likeable company, you need to start with hiring likeable staff, from service staff to managers.

So what makes a person likeable? Analyzing data from our Multi-dimensional Emotional Intelligence Quotient, we focused our analysis on people who:

  • Are popular among their peers
  • Experience conflict less often than others

What we discovered was that likeability isn’t just about being tactful and polite; it’s a reflection of a person’s self-image as a whole. Here’s what our study reveals about likeable people:

  • They possess keen social insight. Their attention to social cues and body language allows them to understand others (their emotions, motivations, behaviors) and adjust their own approach accordingly. Likeable people are skilled at building a rapport and putting others at ease in social situations.

  • They recognize their strengths. Likeable people are self-motivated, self-confident, and believe in their ability to succeed.

  • They treat themselves with respect, and accept the fact that they are not perfect. Likeable people rarely speak ill of themselves or of others.

  • They have an upbeat attitude and are not easily discouraged. Rather than focusing on everything they don’t like about themselves or others, they focus on the positive. Likeable people do not obsess over mistakes, failures or the past. If they are not happy with their life, they won’t sit there and complain about it – they’ll take the steps necessary to make changes.

  • They control their impulses. They self-monitor their thoughts and behavior, and will consider the consequences of their actions before saying or doing something they may regret.

  • They know how to assert themselves without being too aggressive. Likeable people are comfortable saying “no” when they need to, and are willing to speak up and share their opinion, even if there is a chance that their views or requests will not be well-received. This seems to fly in the face of the belief that it’s best not to “rock the boat” if one wishes to maintain harmony in relationships.

  • They are trusting. Although they have the ability to empathize with others, likeable people are also willing to take others’ words at face value and to give them the benefit of the doubt. They won’t overanalyze people or situations in an attempt to uncover problems that don’t exist.

  • They are good at controlling their temper – and negative emotions in general. Even when their buttons are being pushed or they’re having a bad day, likeable people are able to remain objective and keep the situation in perspective.

  • They compromise. In most disagreements, they meet others halfway or try to find an alternative solution that will be acceptable to everybody. Being right isn’t as important to them as being able to regain a sense of harmony in their relationships.

  • They are at ease with emotions. They are comfortable with the sense of vulnerability that comes with sharing their feelings. Likeable people don’t back away from emotionally charged situations or people. They are in touch with their emotions and are not afraid to tell people how they feel.

  • They are able to maintain a civil disposition, even when they have to deal with people they don’t like. This isn’t to say that likeable people are fake; they just recognize the need to self-monitor and to treat everyone with dignity, tact, and respect.

Wondering how you can possibly find someone who possesses all of these likeability characteristics? Consider the benefits of investing in a good emotional intelligence assessment and adding it to your hiring tools. Some employees and managers may have all the technical skill to do a job, but they may not have the right people skills.


If you’re interested in using the MEIQ – HR (Multi-dimensional Emotional intelligence Quotient), or other tests for HR purposes, request a free trial for ARCH Profile here.

Want to learn more about using psychological tests for hiring, leadership development, career development or talent retention?
Download our free eBook loaded with down-to-earth information about psychological testing for HR purposes.


Topics: Employee Attitude, Personal Development, Personality Assessment, Pre-employment Testing

Subscribe to Email Updates

Request your free trial of ARCH Profile!


Recent Posts

Share on


Follow us on