Skills V/s Personality Hiring

PERSONAL INTERVIEW! The last step in deciding whether the candidate should be hired or rejected. On one side, it is an appalling experience for the candidate, and on the other it is a crucial decision to make for the recruiter. If the candidate performs in his role, definitely the decision proves to be right. But if the candidate fails to perform in the role he is assigned to, the decision will surely incur tangible and intangible losses.

So when we know this decision is pivotal, how does a recruiter decide to recruit?

Does he give more weightage to the skills of the candidate? Or does he give more preference to the personality required for the functional role.

Skill-based hiring is predominant in most hiring situations. The recruiter would make the candidate go through various skill-based questions and might even include some behavioral questions to assess the candidate, but the truth is – it is very difficult to understand behavior through 30-45 minutes of discussion, and as a recruiter we end up focusing on the skills to take a decision, depending on the job profile. For e.g.: an engineer would be assessed on numerical ability, logical reasoning and problem solving, whereas a sales executive would be assessed on communication skills, numerical ability and situational analysis.

The biggest advantage of skill-based hiring is that you get to know whether the candidate is well-equipped with the required skills to perform the job efficiently. It is important to assess especially because of our educational structure which focuses only on theory, whereas to perform a job efficiently one needs to know how to utilize these theories into the practical world. Thus, if the candidate has the right skills it will help in reducing the time taken for training the employee, cost of the training and will thereby help in increasing the productivity.But is performing a job efficiently enough? What about the ‘effectiveness’ quotient?

While we all would agree that to perform a specific role our personality plays the most important part in deciding whether we would be successful or not. Though I may have all the skills to deliver but if my personality doesn’t support, I will never put my heart and soul to deliver my BEST, and hence will not be effective. For e.g. I might be a good orator, but that doesn’t make me a good sales person or help me have empathy towards my customers. It’s my personality which makes me a natural sales person who doesn’t have any inhibitions to speak to an unknown person or be very courteous or responsive to people. These traits are very important to be a good Sales Professional or a Relationship / Customer Service Professional.

Understanding the different facets of personality may help the organization to know the candidate’s personality traits. This might provide them with a guiding path to help the candidates improve their ability and thereby develop as a manager from an executive in due course of time. This hiring based on personality may lead to a positive work environment and also greater job satisfaction. This will ensure employees who are more committed, are able to identify more with their companies and are also more likely to remain with the organization for a longer duration thus reducing the attrition rate. Studies also reveal that such candidates are less likely to display any signs of anxiety or depression if their personality fits the kind of job they are doing.

The challenge with skill based hiring is that I can evaluate the skills like communication, comprehension or numerical skills which would be important but it will be difficult to know if I am an naturally warm and lively person, which are a must have for a successful sales professional on the other hand for a quality control roles or compliance roles I need different traits but the skills might be similar to that of sales.

Personality-based hiring is largely adopted in the western countries through psychometric assessments but in India it is catching up very fast and is used by quite a few organisations.

Psychometric assessments bundled with skills and competencies would help you to identify the best candidate for the role with a happy employee, as you would have an employee in a role which he likes as per his personality in turn reducing early attrition due to mismatch of roles.

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