When evaluating a potential hire it's tempting to bring on board someone with the technical skills to immediately get down to work. But a smarter strategy is to vet candidates carefully for their softer qualities. That's according to Donna Wells, CEO of online training platform Mindflash, who says any skill can be trained, but things like personality and temperament have a huge effect on how someone will meld into your team and perform for your customers. Here's why she says you need to hire for attitude, not skill.
1. Most people don't possess all the skills listed in a job description.
Wells says only a small percentage of candidates are a 100 percent match with what a hiring manager includes on a job description. Whether you want to blame American universities that are not preparing graduates or employers who have unrealistic expectations, you should see the current U.S. job and labor market for what it is.
2. Hiring for attitude opens up a wider pool of candidates.
At Mindflash, Wells found someone who didn't know how to use the company's customer service software, but had experience managing a restaurant and possessed a strong work ethic and a customer service mindset. "He had a winning personality that translated beautifully over the phone," she says. "So we grabbed him because we saw he had exceptional soft skills and just took the time to train him in our software and the tools that we use."
3. You can't anticipate the hard skills you will need several years out.
That's because the technical requirements for business are constantly evolving. Think about the tools and processes your company uses today. Are they the same ones you employed five years ago? For example, many Mindflash software developers are coding in a language called Node-JS, which they were not doing two years ago. "In no way would I have had that on the job description for the software developers we hired three or four years ago," she says.