Would you hire a candidate who lacks certain essential skills for the job?
For most hiring managers, the answer is “Never!” For the wise few, however, the answer is “Tell me more.” Sometimes, a candidate who lacks one or two key traits is still the best candidate for the job.
Here’s how to evaluate past experience in order to find the best fit for your team:
Consider which skills will help the candidate learn.
Soft skills like curiosity and self-driven learning go much further than “hard skills” in most situations. A candidate who demonstrates an ongoing passion to learn can easily pick up certain abilities. Meanwhile, a candidate who has technical skills, but no curiosity is more likely to find their skill set become obsolete.
If you’re not certain which soft skills will best help a candidate learn the essential technical abilities, talk to your recruiter.
Take advantage of training opportunities.
Research shows that strong training and onboarding programs can improve employee engagement and retention. A candidate who requires training in certain specific skills also provides employers an opportunity to teach the precise way in which they want those skills to be understood and used. The skills-weak candidate becomes a “blank slate” with no prior prejudices or bad habits to overcome.
In addition, a candidate who enters training with the knowledge they have something to learn has more motivation to focus and to succeed – which can lead to more thorough learning and better implementation.
Don’t underestimate the value of cultural fit.
By definition, a “skill” is something that can be learned. Other elements of cultural fit, however, are more personal.
If a candidate has the right approach to communication, work ethic and values to fit well with your team, don’t discard their application merely because a trait or two is lacking. Instead, examine how the candidate’s fit with the team can help boost the team’s overall engagement as the candidate gets up to speed on one or two areas.