Leadership · Employee Training

What are the top skills do you look for in new hirers (or find lacking)?

Andria Younger, MA

December 16th, 2015

I've been doing some research on new hirer skills gaps vs skills companies want and need.  I wanted to get a better understanding from other entrepreneurs if a) you think there is a skills gaps issue with new hirers and b) do you see new hirer's people/soft skills critical to being able scaling-up or grow your business?
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Rob Mitchell Senior Java Software Engineer at Direct Commerce

December 16th, 2015

I hire candidates that are great fit in terms of personality and communication. Then I hire ones smarter than me so they can do things that I can't. 

Sheldon Poon Technical Director, Drive Marketing

December 16th, 2015

We're a small team of 8 and just recently (this week) hired a new programmer. We decided to go with the person who we felt would be the best fit for the team and most excited about learning, not the one who brought the most applicable skills coming out of the gate. We're at a point right now where the office is small enough that the wrong person, with the wrong attitude, could ruin the team dynamic.

I've worked in other organizations where the team was at a different point of maturity and could handle someone with a poor attitude so long as they could get the job done. In these cases, team fit was still an important aspect in hiring, but what we looked for, first and foremost, was the ability to quickly jump in on projects with little learning curve.

For me, there is always going to be some skills gap in new hires. Especially in fields that are extremely technical like programming and software development, every firm uses a slightly different project management process, a slightly different set of tools, and focuses on slightly different technologies. Being able to find new hires that will be able to work within the existing dynamic is sometimes just as important as their technical skills (within reason).

Joe Welfeld President; The Welfeld Group, LLC

December 16th, 2015

I look for intelligence (demonstrated by interviewing) and communications skills. In the healthcare arena, I look for individuals who are committed to career growth as demonstrated by membership in professional societies. I have often recruited from these society websites. My personal belief is that if the individual has these characteristics, I can teach the job. No job is really rocket science unless it is a rocket scientist job.

Andria Younger, MA

December 17th, 2015

Thanks Sheldon, Joe, and Rob for your insights.  I really appreciate it!

Bruce Carpenter Co-founder and Principal, Harbour Bridge Ventures

December 17th, 2015

When building a team it is important that new hires can make a real contribution to accomplishing the team's and the organization's objectives and lift the rest of the members of the team.  The ability to work well as an integral part of the team and communicate well are always important skills I look for.  I believe this is true at every new hire level, from individual contributors to senior leadership and managers.  I also seek out people who are passionate about what the organization and team they will be joining are doing.  It is important that everyone care deeply about the company's vision, mission, and objectives and it willing and ready to "go the extra" mile to achieve those.

Mohan Goyal BIG Data Architect

December 17th, 2015

Andria - It depends what role are you hiring for and what stage are you at in your team building exercise. I seek out candidates who are passionate about the work and fit in the team. Other than strong technical skills, I watch out the soft skills, communication skills. Candidates should be able to work collaboratively with team. He should have can do attitude.