Person, Education, or Skills?

Workplace Health and Safety – Process or Culture?
What Should We Be Looking For?

Person, Education, or Skills?

A recent request from a client represented a simple but refreshing point of view.

Glenn Munro the CEO of Freight Specialists, a leading and progressive express freight organisation, simply said, “We are urgently in need of several people”. He went on to say that whilst skills and experience were obviously a factor, his requirement was first and foremost for appropriate individuals.

People who could –

  • Communicate and collaborate
  • Engage
  • Learn
  • Analyse
  • Gain the trust and support of company personnel at all levels

… and most importantly establish an environment where everyone has the opportunity to excel.

So how important is specific experience? How critical are tertiary qualifications? The answer is “somewhat”, but in our humble opinion not at the expense of finding the right person.

Do you really need someone with “At least 2 years experience with SAP, 3 years in your industry, advanced use of analytical tools and processes, multiple relevant tertiary qualifications etc etc?” Or would you consider an applicant with a genuine passion and commitment to successful outcomes, a history of successful management, and an acceptable level of the foregoing requirements?

Unfortunately all too often this passionate, successful person doesn’t appear on your radar, because the lack of appropriate key words on a CV results in the application being redirected to trash by some smart software, without even a small measure of human intervention. It is also true that a candidate may not apply because they may have 2 years experience in your industry and 6 months experience with SAP. Neither of which should (sensibly) exclude them from consideration.

It is certainly true that modern recruitment software significantly reduces the time taken to reduce 100 applicants to a short list of 10.  However we suggest that some time spent on reading will nearly always unearth options well worthy of consideration. Candidates who may not have perfect technical and tertiary qualifications, but who have a persona and skill set eminently capable of fulfilling  your objectives.

Most importantly, you can always add to a skill set, but good luck changing someone’s personality! Think of our bullet points above. They do not refer to academic skills. They are not specifically industry related. They identify with an inherent personality, not a qualification.

We’re not suggesting that qualifications are of secondary importance. But neither are personality and generic experience. It is our belief that giving too much credence to one at the expense of the other severely limits your options, and consistently overlooks a rich and unique candidate pool just there for the taking.

Subscribe for Latest Updates