I looked again at the resumes of the two candidates. Both interviewed well. One gave the right answers and had some relatable work experience. The other was new to the workforce and was bright eyed and bushy-tailed.
I saw promise in both - who should I select for the position?
I made calls to previous employers for the one with experience. The references were standard. I could read between the lines she was a decent worker and worked best alone.
The one new to the working world gave personal references to make up for the lack of work experience. I called the first name on the list - a long-time family friend.
I learned about the candidate’s character, his enjoyments, and his goals. His ability in the working world was still unknown, yet his friend was solid on his character.
The real question became apparent: did I want someone with experience and skills or someone without experience but exhibited obvious character.
While considering which way to go, I remembered a previous hire who looked good on paper, yet never fit in to the office environment. She had standard references and appropriate experience. I figured she was a safe pick because I wouldn’t have to spend a lot of time training since she had many of the required experiences for the job.
I offered her the job.
She was very capable and did her work well. In fact, she did the tasks of her job exceedingly well; but her attitude caused difficulties and rifts on the team.
She was more focused on being right than being in a relationship. She was caustic and didn’t value kindness or patience.
That was a rough space of time. I almost lost other quality employees because of the frustrations this teammate caused. It wasn’t until she moved on that our team could really solidify.
That path of pain taught me skills don’t matter if character isn’t present.
I’m not discounting aptitude - the person should be able to do math if they are applying for an accounting job. I’m talking about skills demonstrated through previous experiences.
Here’s a fact: 100% of the jobs have been learned by the incumbent at some point. Every. Single. One.
I can teach skills and jobs. I can’t teach character.
I decided to go with my gut and hire for character.
Yes, training was longer and more in-depth, but the long-term outcomes were wonderful. The new employee not only learned the job quickly, but his character helped maneuver key relationships both inside and outside of the office.
Totally worth it.