Attributes to Look for When Hiring…and Skills to Train for in Onboarding
You build a great company by hiring great people. But how do you recognize great people when you see them? When you conduct an executive search, are you looking to see if they’ve mastered particular skills, or is it about finding the perfect cultural fit? There are no writ-in-stone rules for smart hiring, but recruiters in a wide range of industries have come to learn that their best executive hires are more about who the person is than about what they know – or what skills they possess.
Hire for Attributes
What matters most for those organizations is an attitude, a genuineness, a sense of integrity and motivation that says the candidate belongs inside their company. In other words, hire for attributes and train for skill. Here’s why:
- Who a person is rarely changes, but what they know often does. When you hire based on integrity, motivation, capacity, understanding, knowledge, and experience – in that order – you increase your odds of making the right hire the first time. Necessary skills will change over the years, but good people will stand the test of time.
- Perfect credentials don’t always mean perfect talent. Placing an executive in an environment that meshes well with their values, not their resume, is what leads to success. Often, an abundance of corporate experience comes with an inflexibility towards change. Job titles and keywords can be misleading, and in many cases, fully-loaded resumes don’t tell a reliable story.
Train for Skill
A lack of direct experience can actually be an asset in disguise. Specific skills, even in the most demanding executive roles, are only half the package. Individuals who are fully motivated and possess an innate willingness to learn can acquire outstanding skills through acquisition. Conducting an executive search predicated on attributes and attitudes is a rigorous process that requires a lot more work up front, but executives with the right mindset bring untold benefits to your organization in productivity and growth. To paraphrase Warren Buffet, hire someone for their integrity, intelligence, and energy, but keep in mind that if they don’t have the first, the other two are meaningless.