Should You Hire for Fit or Skills? Why Not Both

— October 23, 2018

One of the great debates in the recruitment industry right now is “Should you hire for fit or skill?” Proponents on both sides of the issue claim great benefits for hiring for either fit or skill.

On one side, hiring for culture fit has proven to reap such rewards as improved retention, increased job satisfaction, and faster job assimilation. On the other side of the debate, hiring for skill is offers improved job readiness, less training needs, higher performance levels, and increase production.

The question no one seems to be asking is “Why not hire for both?” Why should employers have to sacrifice skills for fit, or vice versa? Even in today’s highly competitive job market, it is still possible to hire candidates that offer both. The trick is to use the right tools to identify which prospective candidates have the skills and attributes your company needs. Here’s a look at four great hiring strategies that when combined can help you hire for both skill and fit.

Resume Tracking

Resumes are ideal for highlighting a candidate’s experience. You can learn about the applicant’s education level, degrees, certifications, and any special training program they’ve completed. ATS (Application Tracking Software) can be very effective at helping you filter through applications to identify which candidates have the qualifications you need.

Unfortunately, employers must worry about the accuracy of these resumes. A recent study reveals the 85 percent of all applicants lie on their resume. This fact makes it difficult for employers to determine which candidate really have the skills they need by just reviewing resumes. Without the use of other hiring strategies, you may end up hiring a candidate who doesn’t have the skills you need.

Simulation Assessments

Even if you overlook the fact that a majority of applicants lie, a resume can tell you only so much about the candidates. Experience, education, and training are all valuable, but if the candidate cannot transfer that knowledge into performance, it won’t do your company much good. You need candidates that take what they learn and put it into action.

Simulation assessments can help overcome this obstacle. Employers have been using simulation assessments to evaluate candidate skills for years. For example, if you are hiring call center agents, you can use a simulation assessment that can track input accuracy, computer navigation skills, and multi-tasking ability. Rather than relying on the candidate’s resume to determine skill level, you can use pre-hire simulations to obtain data-driven results before hiring.

The Interview

For decades, employers have depended on job interviews to help them narrow down their selection. It was, and still is in many businesses, common practice to filter through the resumes, choose three or four of the best applicants to interview and then pick the candidate they liked the best during the interview.

The problem with this strategy is that high interview performance doesn’t always equate to high on-the-job performance. Interviews are very subjective. Interviewers tend to select candidates that they like, the ones they have the most in common with, and the ones that are most like them.

Relying too heavily on job interviews could cause you to select the candidate you like the most rather than the most qualified or the one that “fits” best with your company.

Pre-Hire Assessments

Unlike interviews, pre-hire assessments offer an objective way of testing candidates for culture fit. Employment assessments can evaluate various candidate character traits and attributes, such as motivation, integrity, adaptability, decision making, and critical thinking. With pre-hire assessments, you will obtain real-time results based on science, not opinion.

Using assessment testing during the hiring process will help you go beyond the interviewer’s personal opinions and subjective views about the candidate. Ultimately, employment assessments can help you identify candidates with the predisposition that fits well with your unique company culture.

Developing a hiring strategy that includes the ideal combination of resumes, simulation tests, interviews, and pre-hire assessments can give you the data you need to hire for both fit and skill. This hiring strategy also allows you to reap the rewards of both fit and skills, including higher retention, increased productivity, and improved quality-of-hire. Learn more about how to create the idea hiring strategy by contacting FurstPerson today.

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