Behavioral Patterns vs. Qualifications: What Every Hiring Manager Should Know
Good employees are hard to find. Great employees are almost impossible. You may think you’re upping your chances of landing that next great employee through your current hiring methods, but instead, you may be hurting your chances from the start.
When you decide it’s time to add a member to your team, what’s the first thing you do? You likely craft a job ad that includes all of the qualifications you’re seeking, some of which are required. Those required skills probably include those “hard skills” that are specific to the job being filled, including a specialized industry background, software experience, and degree and certification requirements. In doing so, you’re likely missing your next great employee from the very start. Why? Because that highly-talented employee will be scared off by your list of requirements.
Why Hard Skills Don’t Matter
When writing that job description, ask yourself how many of those requirements can be taught. Industry-specific experience may give an employee a head start in training, but many of those things can be learned in a matter of weeks. A quick learner could pick up these specifics by observing your activities for a while, attending specialized training, or reading a few manuals.
Experience with the exact tools you use to do your work each day might be nice, but those tools can be learned, as well. Many businesses now use specialized software solutions that can be learned within a short period of time. Requiring that the worker has used those tools before can dramatically limit a business’s pool of candidates.
The next step of the hiring process is to choose candidates and begin interviewing. Even if you’ve written your job description so that you’re open to a wide variety of qualifications, you may feel tempted to narrow down your interview pool to only those who have specific experiences. Instead, open your mind to candidates who might not be the best fit on paper. You’re looking for someone who has an eagerness to learn, a positive attitude, and a strong work ethic—all things that often don’t come across on a resume.
This means you’ll need to identify those ideal candidates during the interview process. The best way to do this is by asking behavioral questions that identify a pattern. This can be done through asking a question, then following up the answer with, “That’s interesting…tell me more.” This follow-up question will prompt the interview subject to reveal patterns of behavior that tell you far more than a list of jobs and certifications on a resume ever could.
Businesses that want to hire a candidate with staying pattern should hire the person who will be the best fit for their company culture. This has little to do with past job experience and everything to do with a candidate’s behaviors in certain situations in the past. You could learn everything from how a person feels about following rules and responding to authority to how he’ll react in certain situations with clients or customers. In doing so, you’ll fill your team with employees who share your goals and want to help your business succeed.