Richard Brandon has a post up on Linkedin espousing personality based hiring decisions. He suggests that most skills can be learned rather quickly, and that the most important thing to consider when hiring someone is how they will fit in with the team and the culture.
I’m typically skeptical of this type of thinking because people can be good (or bad) in interviews for a variety of reasons (introversion, extroversion, nerves, what they had for breakfast that day etc.). Branson qualifies for these concerns in his statements, however, declaring that an experienced interviewer can put a candidate at ease in order to get a full and complete picture of who they are. In this respect I am inclined to agree with him; an experienced interviewer can bring the best out of almost any interviewee.
…And yet it is the fact that Branson speaks to the importance of experience even in describing what it takes to be a great interviewer that highlights why we must look at personality as just one component of the hiring decision (as opposed to the primary piece). To be sure, cultural fit and team chemistry are important; just as critical though are experiences to fall back on to guide us in our decision making when faced with difficult challenges.
Branson is right in stating that most jobs are relatively easy to learn if one has the right foundation. As such, hiring a candidate due to their rich work experience at the expense of other factors is not necessarily more (or less) likely to produce excellent results than any other interviewee analyses that heavily weights one variable over another. With this in mind, I am not championing experience-based interviewing: Personally, I am partial to asking interview questions that elicit why a candidate achieved success in prior roles. From there the decision making team can determine if the variables that lead to that success are in place within their own organization.
…All that said, Richard Branson has a net worth in excess of 4 billion dollars. He knows a few things about selecting talent and running a company – so tell me where I got this wrong in the comments section below.
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