One reason hiring fails is because people focus on the person’s skills and experience, and then if everyone likes the person, they are the right person and will be successful. This is not true. I have asked thousands of CEOs and key executives if they have ever hired someone with an excellent resume, that had all the right skills and experience, that the interviewing team really (I mean really) liked and once that person came on board the person fell flat on their face within 6 months. Usually about 99% reply, “Yes.” How could this happen if skills and experience are so relevant? The fact is, just because a person has all the right skills and experience and everyone likes them, that doesn’t mean that they will be successful. These things are important but having the right skills and experience isn’t what is relevant when making a good hire. What is relevant when making a good hire is whether or not the person can apply these skills and experience in your organization. Can they apply them to achieve the results you need? Can they apply them effectively in your culture? If they can’t, they are not the right candidate for your organization.Skills and experience are simply tools every candidate brings to the job. The ability to use them effectively is what matters. I know many people that have golf clubs in their car and have been playing golf for 20 years, can swing the club over 100 miles per hour, and have taken so many lessons that if an MBA in golf existed they would have one. Even with all of these skills and experience they still aren’t on the PGA tour. Why? Because having skills and experience is different from applying them. When hiring, it is important that the person you choose can apply these effectively in your organization and your culture.One problem is that when we define things around skills and experience the interviewing process often becomes focused on these rather than the real job. For example, if you were hiring a CFO, most job descriptions would define the ideal person as a CPA, 10+ years experience, 5 years industry experience, knowledge of GAAP, financial reporting, cash management experience, good leadership skills, etc. All of these are important, but not what you really want to hire. What you really might want is a CFO that can improve cash flow by 10%, implement a cash management system, reduce overhead costs by x% within x number of months and have accurate financial statements within three days of the close. This is the real job and requires the person to have the right skills and experience or they could not achieve these goals. When you are ready to make your next hire, instead of focusing on the person’s background, focus on how they would apply those skills and experience to achieve the results you are seeking. Ask yourself this, “If you hired someone with all the skills and experience listed above, what are the odds they could achieve the results listed?”Just because a person has the skills and experience you seek doesn’t mean they can deliver the results you need. But if they can deliver the results you seek that means they have the skills and experience you need. I don’t know if that is 10 years, 8 years, or 15 years, and it doesn’t matter, they have enough to deliver the results.
Why Skills and Experience are Irrelevant when Hiring