If you want your organization to achieve great things, you have to hire the right people. Should you look for candidates with all the necessary degrees and certifications, or are qualities such as likability and initiative more important?
The choice isn’t always easy and there’s no “right” or “wrong” answer. When you’re faced with a tough hiring decision, you need to make the best choice for your company, and that depends on a number of factors.
Consider your company and its unique environment. Do you have a strong mentoring program in place and time to nurture and teach your new employees, or is it a fast-paced atmosphere where it’s necessary for new hires to perform right out of the gate? Another important consideration is the nature of the job itself. Is the position customer-facing or heavily reliant on teamwork and fostering relationships? Or is the role more independent in nature and one in which the quality of work is the most important factor? Giving careful thought to factors like these can help you to identify the delicate balance you need to strike in your candidate selection.
The fact is, skills and personality are both important. You need to hire people that possess both attributes to some degree. Companies—particularly those in the technology sector— are seeing that hiring solely for skills doesn’t work. They’ve come to realize that smart people who have the right personality for their culture can learn. And conversely, hiring highly-skilled people who have the wrong personality characteristics for their workplace can be disastrous.
Take your interviewing seriously. The goal of the interview is to identify and select a candidate whose skill set best matches what’s required for a particular position and whose personality aligns with the culture of the organization. In implementing fair and accurate selection methods to find this ideal candidate, you need to be well-informed about the interviewing process and adept at conducting them. In a successful interview, you and the applicant both receive valuable, accurate information that will allow you to make an informed decision about his or her suitability for the job.
Behavioral interviews are considered by many to be the “gold standard”. Comprised of open-ended questions, behavioral interviews are intended to derive information about a candidate’s past experiences in relation to specific abilities required for the open position. This information often reveals his or her actual level of experience and potential to handle similar situations in other organizations.
Follow these tips to make your interviewing process its most successful:
- Interview for fit first, and then for skill. That way you don’t get so impressed with the candidate’s skills that you overlook his or her personality traits.
- Utilize a tag-team approach. Conduct two interviews with two different interviewers, one assessing for skill and the other assessing for personality.
- Beware of personality tests. Few are accurate predictors of a person’s success and longevity in the job, and they’re never a substitute for a solid interview. In addition, many of these tests have been the subject of litigation, as they can be construed as a psychological profile and may violate the Americans with Disabilities Act.
- Don’t rush the process. Interviewing properly takes time. There is no quick fix, but your investment in finding the right employee will pay off in the end.
When it comes to hiring, it’s your job to balance skills and personality to build a strong, productive team that works well together. Find the right mix and you’re sure to boost your company’s bottom line.
“I’ve hired for the person, for the job, as a favor – I’ve done it all. But I can tell you that at the end of the day, it’s a balancing act to ensure you get the right mix of passion, drive, expertise, talent, and teamwork that will help your corporate environment flourish.” – Robert Herjavec
About The HR Team: Founded in 1996, The HR Team is a Maryland-based human resources outsourcing firm committed to developing strategic, customized solutions that respond to the unique needs and cultures of organizations of all types and sizes. Available as a one-source alternative to an in-house HR department or on an à la carte project basis, the company’s flexible service models address the full spectrum of HR needs that many organizations struggle to address. The HR Team helps clients achieve their highest level of success by providing value-driven human resources services that leave them time to focus on what they do best: directing business growth and profitability. To learn more about The HR Team, call 410.381.9700 or visit www.thehrteam.com.