Too often people spend countless hours writing a list of qualifications for a position with a dream candidate in mind. While it is understandable that we all want the best people for our companies it is too easy to lose sight of the true objectives. We do not necessarily want a person that has all the knowledge.

We want someone that will excel in this position!

Maybe we should focus on social aptitude and cultural fit first?

When we build comprehensive lists of degrees, qualifications, and requirements for a position, we are hindering our ability to find the best fit for the role. Many times it is the people that have a fresh perspective that bring the most innovative solutions to the table.

How many times have we seen a candidate that looks perfect on paper? They interview well, they possess all the ‘qualifications’ we specified, but somehow they still fall flat on their face in the first few months?

The average hiring manager and interviewer places too much stock into knowledge based needs instead of hiring based on personality and fit.

Knowledge can be gained, skills can be learned, however, it is impossible to train someone to get along with existing team members. It is ridiculous to expect people to adjust to a culture.

When we hire based purely on skills and degrees we can put our hopes of innovation and progress on the back burner.

Studies have shown that attitude and cultural fit are much larger contributors to success and longevity in a team environment. Don’t settle for someone that has all the information but none of the social skills.

Sure, we all want an employee who can send a coherent email and complete the tasks we ask of them, but if we want our hires to stay longer, our teams to be stronger, and our attrition to be lower, we must focus on personality traits of our candidates.

A master degree will not tell you if the person is a self-starter. Course certificates do not give you any idea about how well someone works with others. These sorts of things can only be assessed if we meet them.

Disqualifying ‘unqualified’ candidates too early is another scourge of existing hiring practices. It essentially wipes out people that could be a great fit and could learn the necessary skills, but never get the chance to prove themselves.

Many hiring managers can provide long lists of people who had all the right ‘qualifications’, but proved to be a poor hiring choices.

It’s time we look past lists of what skills candidates need and focus more on how they will affect our teams and results.

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