Hiring for Personality or Skill? Make Your Decision Count

One of the most difficult decisions facing recruiters is whether to choose the candidate with the biggest smile or the longest resume. While this over-simplifies the dilemma, you often have to choose between two close contenders – one with extensive skills and unengaging personality, the other with great character but no industry experience. There’s no…

One of the most difficult decisions facing recruiters is whether to choose the candidate with the biggest smile or the longest resume.

While this over-simplifies the dilemma, you often have to choose between two close contenders – one with extensive skills and unengaging personality, the other with great character but no industry experience.

There’s no right or wrong answer here.

Coming to the right decision involves weighing up the specific demands of your company and using valuable behavioural tools to identify candidates’ key attributes.

What does your company need?

Ask yourself what qualities the vacant position requires, and the kind of worker your organisation needs.

  • Personality: If you take the long view, putting in the effort now to mentor new staff and reap the loyalty rewards later, your character-filled hire has plenty of time to learn new skills.
  • Skills: If you need new staff to hit the ground running, prove an instant fit and churn through the jobs in hand, a skills-based hire could suit your organisation.
  • Personality: If your organisation places strong emphasis on staff empathy, customer service and face-to-face interactions, an engaging hire with great people skills can win the day.
  • Skills: If the position is a behind-the-scenes role requiring self-direction, impeccable accuracy and specific knowledge, such as accounts, an experience-based hire could be more suitable.

The right assessment tools

Using the right tools during interviews can help you drill down into the real aptitudes and abilities of your candidates.

If it comes down to the wire between two prime job hopefuls, the use of behavioural and personality tests can help you find the more suitable person.

Consider using:

  • Psychometric aptitude tests. These measure the candidate’s work-related cognitive capacity.
  • Psychometric personality tests. These measure the candidate’s individual personality and behavioural style.
  • Competency-based questions. These measure the candidates against a benchmark of key competencies or behavioural traits identified by the employer.

Personality, attitude and potential

If you decide that personality will play a big part in staff hiring decisions, it’s important to identify precisely which traits you need to find.

Desirable strengths include:

  • Problem-solving and dispute resolution.
  • Leadership and team-building.
  • Smart communication.
  • Customer liaison.
  • Independent and creative thinking.
  • Learning and personal growth.
  • Open-minded attitude.

So, the right decision involves balancing the needs of the role and the organisation as a whole.

Frontline IT & Digital can give specialist advice on hiring for personality or skill, as well as hiring staff for you. Please contact one of our specialist consultants to discuss this further.