Hiring Wisdom: Hiring Just For Skills Can Be a Big Mistake

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Harvard Business School found that four factors are critical to success in business:

  • Information;
  • Intelligence;
  • Attitude; and,
  • Skills.

The surprise was that information, I.Q. and skills combined accounted for only seven percent of success while attitude accounted for 93 percent!

Why talent and attitude trump skills

That’s why skills are not a good reason to hire anyone (even though a lack of skills may be a reason not to).

By far more important than skills (or experience) are talent and attitude. The majority of bad hires are dismissed because of things like poor quality, an inability to play well with others, and a failure to take responsibility/ownership. (Those are all attitude problems.)

Applicants with all the skills you need will only be great employees if they have the right attitudes.

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It is by far easier to hire for attitude and train for skills than to try to teach a skilled person to be a responsible, reliable, team player. Talented people with great attitudes easily learn new skills.

This was originally published on Mel Kleiman’s Humetrics blog.

Mel Kleiman, CSP, is an internationally-known authority on recruiting, selecting, and hiring hourly employees. He has been the president of Humetrics since 1976 and has over 30 years of practical experience, research, consulting and professional speaking work to his credit. Contact him at mkleiman@humetrics.com.


1 Comment on “Hiring Wisdom: Hiring Just For Skills Can Be a Big Mistake

  1. Mel — Good article. I have read where Google no longer pays much attention to the university name or GPA of candidates. Perhaps in part it is because the knowledge gained in universities is so out-of-date by graduation that it’s not relevant for the workplace — at least for STEM grads.

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