Hiring Behaviors vs. Technical Capabilities

Resume at desk

In today’s recruiting environment, there is an important debate going on about whether you should hire for behaviors or technical expertise. Employers are seeking candidates who can not only perform the job but also align with the organization’s culture and values. When you consider the ability to retain employees for the long haul you might want to consider the behavior side of recruiting. If it’s for a short-term solution, then technical might be the more effective direction.

Below are the advantages and disadvantages of both areas.

Technical Expertise:
Hiring someone with technical expertise provides immediate contributions to the company, very little learning curve, and client satisfaction in getting the work done.

The disadvantages include rigidity which can create a stifling environment, limited growth opportunities, and interpersonal challenges including soft skills that could limit a person’s growth as well as the ability to communicate effectively.

Employees hired for behaviors are more likely to align with the organization’s values and contribute positively to workplace culture. These employees tend to be more adaptable with better communication skills that can help navigate change in an evolving organization. Working in a team environment will have diverse strengths which can lead to creativity and innovation.

The drawbacks of hiring these types of individuals could be longer learning curves, gaps in skill levels, and a potential lack of client satisfaction.

The best scenario would be to strike a balance between the two. In order to do this you would need to do the following:

  1. Clearly outline the job responsibilities including technical and behavioral requirements of the job.
  2. Create an outline that will allow you to ask questions that will present the various aspects of behavior and technical qualities needed for the role.
  3. Evaluate an individual’s cultural fit during the interview process.
  4. Create training and development programs that will provide the opportunity for individuals to grow under the company’s cultural and behavioral guidelines.
  5. Assembly teams of strong technical and behavioral qualities that would drive innovation and collaboration.

In conclusion, one of the hardest parts of this process is determining the behavior qualities that the company wants. The technical side is easy based on the specific role someone is playing. Deciding whether to hire based on behaviors vs. technical capabilities will be determined if this is a short-term or long-term situation. Striking the right balance will ensure that you have employees who can excel in getting the job done and will contribute the to environment of the company.