Hiring Skills vs Personality

Hiring the right people is a hard thing to do. However, it’s the key to any successful organization. I recently came across some comments by Krista Whiting that looked at hiring someone based on their skills and credentials versus their personality and character. Here’s what she said:

Clients, if you interview someone today; please keep this in mind:

Hire the person with the character that is genuine, not the credentials you read on a resume.

Hire the candidate that can work with you and your team the best, not just perform the skills for the job.

Hire the selfless leader that will help transform the changes you need, not the boss who will delegate meaningless tasks to others.

People are a collection of choices; please hire the person that is excited about the job, not just who feels entitled to it. You can teach someone a skill, but you cannot teach people to change their personality.

One thing that Krista didn’t describe is that most people are going to go through an initial skills filter before doing interviews anyway. You wouldn’t have brought them in for an interview if you didn’t think they had the skills to do the job.

With that in mind, it makes sense that in an interview you’re looking at a person’s personality and character vs their skills. Unless of course, you discover that the person doesn’t have the skills to perform the job and couldn’t easily learn the skills. However, Krista is spot on when it comes to the importance of hiring someone who has the right personality and character to be a successful part of your team.

What’s the lesson for job seekers? It’s not enough to have the skills for a job. Your personality and character matter a lot to employers too. What’s interesting to remember is that a potential employer will learn a lot about your personality and character based on the small things you do during an interview as much or more than the formal questions.

For example, when someone arrives at your interview, do you stay sitting and greet them or do you stand up and give them a firm handshake? These subtle things send a strong message about you. Simple acts of kindness and respect are powerful in a job interview.

What’s been your experience with personality vs skill? Do we value one vs the other too much? Have you had good and bad experiences hiring for one or the other that taught you to change your practices? Share your thoughts in the comments or on Twitter with @HealthcareITJob.

About the author


Adam Greenberg

As the lead blogger covering healthcare IT careers, Healthcare IT recruiting, and tips and tricks for healthcare IT job seekers on Healthcare IT Today, Adam brings a wealth of perspective and experience to his coverage of the industry. Having previously specialized in placing EMR implementation people with hospital clients, Adam Greenberg brings his 15 years of experience and connections in healthcare technology staffing to his coverage of the healthcare IT career space.