Hire the Character – Train the Skills

Organisations are essentially built on people, know-how and processes. These are the main ingredients for any group of people focusing on doing one thing – say producing cars, auditing accounts or offering consulting services. All these activities are composed by an exclusive group of people working together towards an exclusive set of goals. Nothing more – nothing less. In this context, each element is critical in the success of the organisation and its product/services. If one element is less efficient than the next, then the whole chain fails to deliver the optimal product.

Therefore, people, the main ingredient in this mix, is critical to the success of the organisation and its products. This is especially obvious in the services industry, but also quite important in industrial activities – on a longer term horizon. This is why the Country of Origin or Brand mark is such an honoured element for many high quality producing entities – depending on the product at hand. So, our exploration here is emphasizing the attention to selecting the right people, with the right qualities for the right organisation. This is the art of Human Capital hiring and allocation.

Indeed, recruitment is a multi-step process with many considerations including personal attributes, skills, experience, and character. Unfortunately, many businesses are unable to classify what is really critical in their own organisation. This confusion leads to bad matches and disappointment for all parties involved. An understanding of skills and experience is important, but character matching is invaluable in hiring the best fit for an organisation. This is because empathy, compassion, morality, patience, integrity, courage and justice cannot be taught in school.

So while skills are important, the axiom hiring the character and training the skill is gold. Matching the personality is more important in determining if an individual will succeed within a specific company culture. In other words, skills can describe what a person can do but attitude determines how a person goes about using those skills. In fact, worldwide Human Resource research suggests that 50% of new hires fail within 18 months and that nearly 90% of the time the reason is character, not lack of skills. So, firstly, you should decide what your company’s values are and then match people with those values. Ideally, values such as:

  • Integrity
  • Empathy
  • Transparency
  • Self-Discipline
  • Trustworthiness
  • A Positive Mind Set

These are emphasized because research on thousands of European and American companies demonstrates that skills can be acquired but character and work ethics are intrinsic. Most importantly a specific mindset and attitude is needed to acquire any skills. So, matching values is the most valuable asset an employee can ever have. Conclusively, when hiring a new worker a company needs to understand that culturally aligned employees make good teams, and good teams increase efficiency, and increased efficiency equals better products and services. And great products and services customers love equals to increased company revenue. So, which one do you value the most when engaging in hiring new employees: education and skills, or culturally aligned individuals?

Learn More