It is a common mistake for the hiring manager in any company to consider only skills and knowledge at the interview. After all this is what the resume reflects, and job description describes. However, it is also common that after a few months, or even a few weeks from the hiring, it becomes apparent that the hiring was a mistake. This may be often too familiar, and often a costly mistake especially for small businesses. Therefore, what else should the hiring manager consider during the interview and screening process? It is missing two other factors: personal characteristics and motivation.

It is certainly important to screen for skills and knowledge initially. After all, the person should have the basic ability to perform the job at hand. However, it takes more than labor ability alone in order to for the employee to thrive within the company in the long term. In fact, it can be argued that personal characteristics and motivation are even more important than the current skills and knowledge. Whereas skills and knowledge are bound to change with time, personal characteristics are much less likely to change. Let us review the most important qualities that should be screened for the job:

Firstly, personal characteristics are what make a person who they are. For the most part, they are less likely to change drastically to realistically change. Qualities that should be considered are integrity, intelligence, judgment, passion, communication, initiative, energy, and drive.

Secondly, motivation should be considered. As with personal characteristics, this is also difficult to change. Motivation is essential for aligning the person within the company. It covers preferences about work environments, stress levels, challenges and team dynamics, which can vary greatly. Misalignment in this area is one of the primary causes of job dissatisfaction and under performance. Whereas when motivation aligns with the job environment, the employee is more likely to find personal growth within an enjoyable job.

Thirdly is skills, which requires some reframing. The skills that should be screened for are the more foundational skills, rather than the specific application in the job environment. This is because many skills are much easier to learn once in a role than the more foundational skills you should be evaluating first. Thus, foundational skills to be screened are such like communication, project management, organization, and the ability to handle change. This is of course as long as the position is flexible enough to support learning additional skills along the way.

Fourthly, knowledge should be considered, but within its context. Knowledge per se is not as important as their foundation and framework for gaining new knowledge, as well as their ability and willingness to do so. Thus, even when they do not have the current knowledge, they can be a good candidate, as long as they have the capacity to gain this knowledge on the job.

At the end of the day, it is assessing the candidate in these soft abilities that are not reflected in the papers that they submit. Practically, these soft characteristics may determine whether an employee would thrive in a company, or feel frustrated and abandon ship.

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