There has never been an employment climate like the one we are experiencing right now. It is now favoring skill-based labor far more than ever before. Around roughly 50 years ago, the average adult could get a low-skills job that would train them when they get to work.

However, today, it is almost impossible to be able to find a job listing that doesn’t require familiarity with at least one suite of software tools. Funnily enough, this doesn’t even account for the massive increase in technical jobs such as technicians and engineers. Considering the current job climate, it might seem odd to hear that hiring for personality has never been more critical.

Hire for Attitude, Train for Skill

Herb Kelleher, one of the co-founders of the US-based Southwest Airlines, once said that you should “hire for attitude, train for skill”. This ideology essentially pushed the concept that attitude is what truly creates a successful employee. Companies who are searching for employees should look for candidates that match their company’s core values, it is there you will find a match.

However, while jobs that require no education or technical skills have seen a massive decline, so have the number of jobs out there that require a skill set that can endure an entire career.

So, Should You Hire for Personality or Skill?

Sadly, it is not uncommon for employers who have failed to adapt their hiring practices to match the new world of continuing education. Instead of any particular skill set or education, this new environment we live and work in is favoring the curious and adaptive mind.

At the simplest level, a skill set is only a snapshot of a job candidate’s current abilities. However, this is no longer needed! Hiring based on personality, however, means that the skills your potential hires have today will not be the skills they need five years into the future.

It is likely that it won’t even be something they need in a year! That is why companies are encouraging weekly employee training programs. Hiring by skillset is myopic. Hiring by personality, on the other hand, is the way to go in this new environment. 

The Bottom Line

When it comes to hiring new employees, many employers think that simply hiring someone who has a massive skill set is the way to go. However, nowadays, skill sets only take up space on their resume. It is more common to identify what someone’s personality is like and see how that can be a match for your company.

When you hire someone, with the right personality, they can easily adapt to a number of different skill sets and a changing environment. Essentially, you hire an employee for life. However, if you hire someone with a massive skill set, they may not be able to have the emotional intelligence to handle the stress of changing environments.