You Shouldn’t Be Looking At Your Candidates' Skills

When looking at new hires, are you placing a strong emphasis on skill? If yes, you may be missing out on some of your best potential employees. That’s because in today’s applicant pool, Millennials and Gen. Zers make up the majority, and realistically, they just don’t have the experience and skill many companies are looking for in specific roles. But that doesn’t mean they can’t learn that skill and learn it quick.

The real importance should be placed instead, on if they have the drive to do the job, do it well, and do it for a long time. In other words, competence is great, and will help you hit your mark, but it won’t keep you hitting your mark over and over again. Competence and skill alone isn’t enough to sustain success. Skills can be learned, which means the only distinguishing factor between two people of the same skill set isn’t what they know, but rather how they learn, and how they apply what they learn to their job.

Instead, when looking at candidates, it’s important to gain a better understanding of what makes them tick. Are they someone who loves a fast and changing environment? Then placing them in a role where they work head down and complete the same tasks every day will not be a great fit. That candidate may tick off every box you have for desired skill, but the chances of them staying in that role for more than a year is incredibly unlikely. You’ll then be left looking for a replacement and eating the cost of that employee turnover. However, if you would have found a candidate who thrived in a steady and predictable environment, but lacked the required skills, in a year’s time, they would have learned the necessary skills and been happy and motivated in their role and you wouldn’t be looking for their replacement.

This is important to remember. A skill set can change, who a person is, cannot. That is why placing a greater importance on skillset than on drive and personality is a big mistake. That candidate mentioned above who likes a fast paced work environment, is likely to cause disruption if they’re stuck working on one task all day. That’s because they’re simply not wired to work head down, so they are looking for some kind of outlet. But if they’re with employees who do need to work head down and avoid distractions throughout the day, that disruption is going to create a lot of tension in the office.

Looking at potential hires skillset is useful to see if the new team member would be able to effectively pull their weight, however, underestimating the importance of drive could prove to be a major detriment to your organization. In the end, it is recommended to hire for drive, teach for skill.