Should You Hire For Skills Or Personality?

Hiring for skills or personality is a hot topic in the HR world. There is no right or wrong answer to this question. When you’re faced with a tough hiring decision between two candidates, you’re going to have to make the best choice for your company. The right choice depends on several different factors.

Four job candidates waiting for job interview

The costs of hiring a new employee is far from cheap and you definitely don’t want to hire the wrong person. Are you going to hire someone with all the degrees, certifications, book smarts, and portfolios you could ever want OR are you going to judge a job candidate on their human attributes like attitude, values, people skills, and personality? It’s a tough situation to be in.

There are three key questions to ask yourself:

  1. What’s better for your company?
  2. What’s better for your team?
  3. What does the job require?

While thinking about these important questions, let’s take a look at whether you should hire for skills or personality:

Hire For Skills
Any candidate with the right set of skills is going to immediately get their resume to the top of the stack and through any applicant tracking systems. Their resumes have all of the keywords that a recruiter is scanning for. They know how to do the job and they have the resume to back up their skill set. The problem with these candidates is often their lack of an enjoyable and adaptable personality, something that is important on a team or while working with clients. Skill based hires are best for high tech jobs where the skills are mandatory to complete the job and to achieve success.

Hire For Personality
A manager once told me that he always hires for personality over skills. When asked why, he said that skills can be taught, but personality is already a part of who you are. This is an good outlook on this debatable question. When you hire for personality, you’re going to get an employee that is a team player, has a positive attitude, is able to communicate, is good with people, and is open minded. This is incredibly valuable in any guest service niche or in a job that relies on a team. The key here is that hard skills can be built and learned, but soft skills and personality cannot.

How To Choose Between Two Equally Qualified Job Candidates

Ultimately, it is your decision whether you are going to hire for skills or personality. Make the best choice for your company based on the person, the job, and the role. There are no clear cut answers here. It really does just depend on the situation.

As an HR professional it’s your job to balance skills and personality in your hires to build a strong, productive, and happy team that works well together. Find the right balance and you’ll boost your company’s bottom line in no time.

So what does your company need? More skills? Or more personality?

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