Hire for Personality, Not Skills

166468204While interviewing and hiring for skills is important, it shouldn’t be the sole focus of recruiters. The best recruiters recognize the impact personality and culture fit have on job success.

The best recruiters realize that any candidate can be a star performer at the right company. It’s not all about someone’s skills and education. It’s about what drives them, their ability to self-evaluate, and their sense of right and wrong…and if their outlook on these things aligns with those of the company.

The recruiters who spend time up front getting to know the client and their culture almost always identify the top candidate.

Recruiters should spend time on-site at the company; interview key players, top performers and management, attend client events and understand the long- and short-term vision of the company. If possible, they should shadow the employee who is in the role currently and understand why they are so successful. Is it their ability to develop relationships with clients? If so, presenting candidates who are personable and recognize the importance of maintaining relationships is important. Is it their demeanor? If so, what traits to do they have? Is it their willingness to dive into any task? If so, a candidate who is eager and has the mentality that no task is too small may be ideal.

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Knowing these things helps to identify the right candidate faster and more efficiently.

Once a recruiter fully understands a company’s culture, they need to ask themselves in every interview, would this candidate pass the airplane test with the hiring manager or the employees at the client? Would the hiring manager be able to sit next to that candidate for four hours and actually enjoy their time with them? If the answer is a confident yes, they would pass this test, they may be the right fit.

Despite all of a recruiter’s efforts to identify candidates who fit with a company’s culture, clients may still be hesitant to hire a candidate who is a culture fit over someone with the necessary experience. This is an objection we see often in recruiting, and as consultants, it’s our job to overcome it…In the end, hiring for personality will save the client time and money almost every single time.It’s more costly to deal with the amount of damage that employee turnover will cause as opposed to investing in training sessions. Clients should develop the skill sets of a select, loyal group of employees instead of constantly hiring. The more a client invests in training, the more it will pay off in the long run through dedication and loyalty.

Obviously there are two sides to every coin. Are there instances where a position will require a specific skill set or degree, of course, but the best recruiters take it one step further and identify someone with the necessary requirements and the personality to excel in the work environment.

MORE: Understanding your company culture is key in staffing

Tom Gimbel
Tom Gimbel is the founder and CEO of LaSalle Network, a staffing and recruiting firm based in Chicago. Gimbel is an expert on organizational development and securing a job, as well as how to hire successfully.

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  1. […] While interviewing and hiring for skills is important, it shouldn’t be the sole focus of recruiters. The best recruiters recognize the impact personality and culture fit have on job success. The best recruiters realize that any candidate can be a star performer at the right company.  […]

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