A while ago, a previous boss of mine asked me a bit of an rhetorical questions, which was, “We hire on skills and fire on attitude, so why don’t we also hire on attitude.” As a young-ish and inexperienced manager at the time, struggling with the people management side of things, and looking for answers why this was so, I really connected with what he was saying. Ironically, the boss, and the business, including myself, continued to hire on skills and fire, or performance manage out (more politically correct), on attitude.

When I say “attitude”, I’m not meaning that someone had a bad attitude…it’s much more that they were a bit of “a square peg in a round hole”. Despite, having all the skills and knowledge to do the job, there was something just not quite right and it affected their performance….to the point that they didn’t meet the expectations of the job.

Well, years on, I’ve now got some clarity at this matter….and a solution.

My take on things is that, when a person comes to work, they bring their “whole self”. They don’t just bring their experience – their knowledge and skills. They don’t “park” everything else – “they are who they are” – at home and at work.

So, surely, when we recruit someone to a role, we need to understand the “whole individual” we need, not just the experience we need? So, why is it then, that 99% of recruitment decisions are based on experience alone….their CV?

Don’t believe me? Then consider how many recruitment decisions are based around someone’s CV, whether it’s the initial sifting or final interview.

So what’s the alternative…or the solution?

Well about 3 years ago, I sat in a presentation given by a pretty inspiring chap, Roger Philby, the CEO and Founder of an amazingly successful recruitment company, The Chemistry Group.

What he said immediately “clicked” with me.

He, similarly, held the view that recruiting on experience alone is mis-guided – he put an actual number on it – recruiting on experience alone is only 25% successful in the predicting success of someone in a job. Don’t believe me (or him)? Ask yourself the question: how many of the people that you’ve recruited in the past, would you recruit again, if you had the chance, knowing what you know now? I bet it’s about 1 in 4, 25%! This number is really scary!

Why so low? It’’s back to the “whole individual” thing!

What Roger went on to present, was the really exciting bit….a model on how to understand the “whole individual”.

Through years of analysis, he had identified the following factors that make up the “whole individual”.

Intellect – which is the speed at which someone takes in, retains and processes information.

Values – which are the inherent beliefs that we hold.

Motivations – which are the things that compel us to do the things we do.

Behaviours – which is simply how we behave

And finally…Experience!

….and the order is really important: bottom to top, they become increasingly difficult to change.

Essentially, therefore, for many jobs, experience is the least important factor because it is the easiest thing to change – through training. The other things are less easy. Take Values…we establish our Values in our formative teenage years. So if you’re recruiting someone and they have the wrong or different set of Values, to what you require or looking for, you’re unlikely to change them and therefore you end up with someone who is a ”square peg, round hole”….or someone, in my early interpretation, who has the “wrong attitude”!

So, the method, being advocated, is that, when you come to recruit, establish what Intellect, Values, Motivation, Behaviours and Experience you need for a particular role….”what great looks like” in each of these areas. Then establish how you’re going to test these things with the candidates for the job.

What’s the end result? Well, the accuracy of using this method in predicting the success of someone in a role is 75%, compared to the previous 25%.

Now, that’s surely a reason why you should be thinking about your recruitment differently!