The secret to hiring great employees

Every hiring manager has experienced it. You hire a prospect who looked good on paper and interviewed well, but they don’t settle well in the company.  Cue the timely (and costly) process of finding other potential candidates, interviewing them, shortlisting them, etc. How can you stop making these frustrating hiring mistakes?

Stop focusing on skills and experience alone

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying that skills and experience are not important. In some professions, you won’t even get through the door if you don’t have the right qualifications or skills. Still, one mistake that recruitment managers can make is to assume that somebody who has previous experience along with all the right skills will definitely be a great fit for a company.

These factors alone are not enough. A candidate can possess all the skills they need to be capable of succeeding in a role, but for one reason or another they might not.

One of the possible reasons a candidate might not live up to expectations is because of their personality type. They simply might not fit with the company culture, and this is a common problem hiring managers face. It is impossible to get an insight into a candidate’s personality, because their CV doesn’t mention what they are like as a person. But why not? Personality and attitude can’t be taught. Skills can.

And it’s not just that. The need for particular skill sets is constantly changing. We live in an age where it is impossible to keep up with the pace of change in business software and applications. This factor alone would mean it is safer to hire someone who is adaptable and a quick learner with a little knowledge of a particular software, over someone who is an expert when it comes to using the same software but who is very slow to learn new features.

You can train a new recruit to use a particular software or to perform a specific skill, but you can’t teach them how to be resilient when faced with difficulty, how to take initiative to do more than what is asked or how to stay motivated after failures. People either have that attitude or they don’t.

Why does personality matter?

Without establishing a candidate’s personality strengths and weaknesses, how can you assess whether they will be up to the challenge of the role?

According to Mark Murphy, founder and CEO of Leadership IQ, in their research on 20,000 new hires:

…46% of them failed within 18 months. But even more surprising than the failure rate, was that when new hires failed, 89% of the time it was for attitudinal reasons and only 11% of the time for a lack of skill.”

A huge 89% of failed new hires were due to problems with attitude. As a recruiter, if you hire based on attitude rather than purely on skill, you could cut employee turnover and boost team morale within your company.

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Think about it – if your company has a very friendly, sociable atmosphere, hiring a new team manager who has a strict, authoritarian nature will not be a good fit. Making sure that everybody in your team works well together is fundamental to your company’s success.


How can you gauge prospect personalities?

It is impossible to know what a candidate will truly be like until you’ve worked with them for some time. To improve your chances of hiring a great employee, there are steps you can take to assess their personality before committing to hiring them.

Larger companies with access to more resources will sometimes use personality tests to evaluate candidates at the interview stage. The problem with this is that by the time the number of applicants to call to interview has been narrowed down, the ones who might have been the best fit for the role will have been weeded out based on their lack of skills or experience.

A quicker, easier way to get a true snapshot of a prospect’s personality traits is to check their Xpo-Online profile. With Xpo, there is an entire section of user profiles dedicated to personality traits. You can see every candidates’ personality traits along with genuine endorsements.

And it’s not just that. You can post job adverts or search for candidates based on their personality as well as other important factors. By incorporating the importance of attitudes into the hiring process, Xpo helps you to cut down on costly hiring mistakes.




Have you tried hiring for attitude over skill before? Has it improved your company performance? Let us know in the comments below.


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