Hire for Intangibles; You Can Teach Technical Skills

A bunch of my clients are having trouble filling their positions. They can’t find a bazillion years of Java or .Net or something else.

There is a relative candidate shortage, compared to the candidate glut of a few years ago. But of people start looking for attitude and general problem solving ability and ability to collaborate, they won’t need to look for technical skills. See what Anton says he’s looking for.

You can send someone to a class and they can learn a particular tool. If you then buddy that person with someone else, you’ve got a great coaching/mentoring relationship, and the new person will be up to speed quickly.

But if you don’t hire for the more intangible things, such as initiative or teamwork or problem solving, you won’t find the right people who can make a huge difference in your organization.

5 Replies to “Hire for Intangibles; You Can Teach Technical Skills”

  1. Oh yes.

    I would extend this a little to “Hire for Intangibles; You can teach specific skills.”

    One example, several years ago our church was hiring a person to do accounting, they also wanted the person to have experience working with the Fairfax Country, Virginia government on expanding a church building. Duh? There is only one way to get that experience – doing it. Hence, it was impossible to find someone with that specific skill.

    Find someone with general knowledge, skills, and the desire and ability to learn.

  2. I hate it when companies expect their current employees to teach even the most basic technical skills to new employees. As if we senior engineers dont have enough to do. We asked for someone new because we had too much to do, not because we had spare time to train someone on the technical aspects of their job. Perhaps if the company paid more salary up front they might find a qualified candidate.

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