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Service Culture

Creating your team: do you choose personality over skills?

By Rob Haaring on February, 7 2019

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Rob Haaring

Hiring the right people is essential for creating a successful organization. But how do you hire the right people? When recruiting new colleagues, it’s essential to focus on their personality, not just their skills. In this blog I share my views on how to hire candidates who’ll boost your team’s performance. This blog is a first in a new series on how to improve your service culture.

Say you’ve posted a job opening for your department, and you’ve received multiple responses. How do you determine who to invite for an interview? Chances are you’re scanning resumes and analyzing the candidates’ education and work experience to judge whether they fit the job. There’s nothing wrong with this approach, as education and experience can certainly contribute to a person’s performance. But just focusing on skills might cause you to overlook some of the best candidates.

Focus on your candidates’ personality

So, if you don’t focus on skills, what do you need to focus on? Most importantly: the candidate’s personality, not their skills. If I can choose between a straight-A student who is arrogant and more interested in making things better for themselves instead of the team, or someone whose grades were average in university but has the personality to not only improve themselves but also the ones around them, I would choose the latter any day.

Colleagues can easily develop skills

So, what about someone’s skills? The skills required in most office jobs nowadays can easily be acquired. And if you hire someone with a pleasant personality, they will have the right attitude and mindset to learn new things.

Playing the long game

Learning new skills takes time. But believe me: in the end you’ll benefit more from someone with a great personality who works on the right skills, than someone who already has these skills but isn’t nice to work with. Why? A new colleague is more likely to pick up skills than change their personality.

Work environment

At TOPdesk, we take pride in our company culture. Our culture is based on three values: trust, freedom and responsibility. When everyone works according to these values, this benefits the work environment and helps everyone perform better. We keep a close eye on this. It only takes a few people who don’t understand or endorse these values to damage our company culture. What happens if things go south? This could negatively affect the positive vibe of a team, or even worse: the entire department.

Be picky

Are you stressed out about not having enough staff? Or do you really want a specific expertise in your team? I understand that you might be tempted to hire a new colleague to take the pressure off, even though they don’t really fit the team. Ask yourself whether this new colleague’s skills outweigh the possibility of a negative team vibe, which in turn can also negatively impact their performance.

Personality trumps skills

In the end, hiring the right personality with the right skills and experience is best. But what if there isn’t a perfect candidate? Then you know who to choose: pick the personality that best fits your company culture and don’t worry too much about them learning the right skills.

More tips on how to improve your service culture?

Over the past 25 years, we've accumulated quite a lot of experience in building and maintaining a strong company culture. With a lot of trial and error. We never thought much about it, but when we started winning awards for employee satisfaction and received a 4.8 average score on Glassdoor, we realized we might have something here.

So we decided we to share our experiences with the world. From now on, we'll be blogging regularly about how to improve the culture at your service organization. Want to stay up to date? Subscribe to our blog.
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