Values or Skill: Which Is Better for Your Business Recruitment?


Every time your company hires someone, you make a choice. From the initial application right through to the job offer itself, you are checking and rechecking the candidate’s qualifications, their background, their skills and their personality.

This process can take weeks, or even longer for a particularly important or well-received position.

The ultimate recruitment decision can be a hard one. Do you go with applicant A, who has a great set of skills, or applicant B, who aced the interview and was ambitious and driven? When you boil it down to it’s most basic essence, the entire hiring process can be summed up in one single conundrum. Which is more valuable to your business plans: values or skills?


Consider your perfect employee. They are probably skilled and experienced but are also likely to have certain ‘soft’ skills and attributes as well. They’ll be hard-working and amiable, a team player, as well as an independent worker. They know their stuff, yes, but they also need to have some of those harder-to-define qualities that make them a great person to work with as well.

In fact, some might say that qualifications, degrees and even experience are less valuable than these personal attributes. One survey conducted by Bridge, a SaaS company in the US, found that business owners considered attitude and work ethic as the most important factor when hiring entry-level employees. The same survey revealed that education at a well-known place of learning was the least important.

If you find yourself nodding your head in agreement, then you can count yourself among the enlightened business owners that realise that there are some things that no amount of formal training, education or qualification can teach. You know that you need to hire for attitude, and train for skill. That's the key to successful business recruitment.


It can seem counter-intuitive: surely a person who doesn’t need formal training is far more valuable than one who does? After all, it costs a great deal of money to onboard a complete rookie, not to mention the potential trouble that crops up from inevitable beginner mistakes.

This is all true—but the danger of holding onto an employee who doesn’t hold the same values as your company is even worse. Even if they are keeping up with your performance standards, these are the people that can destroy the valuable human capital that you’ve built up over the years. Considering how the vast majority of human resource departments all over the world think of company culture as a vital competitive advantage, failing to respond to this threat is risky at best, and dangerous at worst.

Stick to your guns. No matter how skilled someone is, if they don’t fit with your values, you need to politely refuse their application or get started on freeing up their future. A person who is hard-working and willing to learn is infinitely more valuable than someone who knows a great deal but thinks they know it all.

Skills are worth a lot, but values are worth a lot more. Remember, you can always give someone more training, but you can never change the foundations of who they are.

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