Finding Talent

Bob Schultek
Author of
The Gauntlet

Businesses are struggling to find and hire talented people. Job postings cite requirements and experience levels, which translates to expertise. Companies hire for expertise. 

But not all expertise is equal. Attracting and retaining the most talented people, those with the highest level of expertise, is expensive and time-consuming; and it can be risky if the person hired ultimately isn’t the right fit for the business. So, most companies design jobs that can be done reasonably well by a person with the typical amount of expertise. Perhaps the actual differentiator for any job is not expertise but attitude

Perhaps what businesses really need is a person with the proven ability to apply expertise in combination with a positive attitude and strong interpersonal skills. Individuals who act with integrity, commitment, empathy and resilience – who listen more than talk, are willing to learn, collaborate, take initiative and accept responsibility – while demonstrating their expertise, are going to outperform others.  

To find this person, during the hiring interview, probe the behaviors that accompanied the applied expertise. Ask for specific, personal examples of how the individual acted in challenging situations – how obstacles were overcome to fulfill a promise on time, how teamwork enabled completion of an urgent project, or how a customer was satisfied by going beyond expectations. Rely on the expected behaviors of your core values to identify the best interview questions. 

If attitude is as important, or even more important than expertise, then shouldn’t companies hire for attitude and develop expertise? 

What characteristics drive your hiring process?

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