Chris Ruisi Behavior

Attitude vs. Skill: It’s All in the Behavior

As more and more people find employment during this growing economy it is creating a burden for employers trying to fill open positions. Highly and even moderately skilled workers are being hired at a rapid pace creating a challenge for all employers trying to fill their open positions.

Part of the solution for this challenge is for employers to willingly relax their skills requirements and begin to place greater emphasis on a candidate’s attitude. A rule of thumb which I have always followed simply states that you can always teach someone the required skills for a job, but you can’t teach them the right attitude. Hence, if forced to choose, I would always take attitude over skills.

In order to properly evaluate a candidate’s attitude, the interviewer needs to use more of a behavioral style of interviewing versus asking the typical questions that most of us use. In a behavioral interview, you are attempting to evaluate how the candidate will respond in different types of scenarios like working with other team members, handling problems, handling less than happy customers, avoiding conflict in the workplace and many other situations. All of this puts a big spotlight on the questions asked and how you prepare for the interview.

However, as I will explain, using a behavior-driven interviewing style is probably a good thing and something you should be doing more of regardless of the “hot” employment environment we are currently experiencing.

Behavior-based interviewing provides a more objective set of facts to make employment decisions than other interviewing methods. Traditional interviewing questions ask general questions such as, “Tell me about yourself.” The process of behavioral interviewing is much more probing and works very differently.

Some good leading behavioral questions you can ask generally will start with openings like:

  • Tell me more about….
  • Lead me through….
  • Describe a situation…

If the candidate is telling a story that is anything but totally honest, their responses will not hold up through the barrage of probing questions. So, what must you do?

As the interviewer, you must first define the job-related experiences, behaviors, knowledge, skills and abilities that you have decided are desirable in a particular position so that they support the vision you have for your business – assuming, of course, that you have one.


Productivity Book Chris Ruisi

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