Recruit by competency, not by experience

I have recently started talking to my clients about the concept of recruiting for competencies and ATTITUDE to do the job rather than what someone’s CV states they have done in the past.

I have heard time and time again from businesses ‘we just want someone with the right attitude’ yet when push comes to shove, they fall back on reading resumes and selecting candidates for interview based on what they have done in their past jobs – not what their potential is for the future.

It’s a new concept and one I have seen success with when implementing it into several organisations.  I am now an advocate for following this structure as part of a robust recruitment strategy. Here is how you can implement this too:

Change your perception.

If we believe that someone is only as good as their resume, we may be missing out on real value just because someone was never schooled in how to format a resume. If you work in HR or recruitment, you see resumes every day so you can easily outline what makes a good one versus a bad one. But for the masses who have never seen another resume other than their own, how can they judge if it is good, bad or otherwise? So step one is about moving past reviewing someone’s resume to ascertain if they are a good fit for your company.

Measure their strengths.

Find a personality profiling tool and use it as part of your recruitment process. Use the tool to assess some of your current employees to identify similar traits and personality characteristics in your top performing team members. Then put all of your candidates through the same profile and look for aligning traits. Not only will it tell you if applicants have the aptitude to handle the role, it will also help you ensure they are a fit for your culture.

Test for skills

Just because someone lists in their resume that their last role had them typing letters, doesn’t mean they were any good at it.  If you can ascertain an applicant’s skill rather than experience, you may find they have exceptional typing and accuracy skills even though they have never had a role requiring typing before! So incorporating skills testing as part of your initial selection process is fundamental in assessing ones competencies.


If you have done the 3 steps above and found applicants that fit your culture, have the aptitude and skill to handle your vacancy, my suggestion is to move to interview.  You may be asking ‘but when do I view their resume?’ – the answer is, you don’t. Not at this stage anyway. By adopting this model you have broken the perception of ‘they have done similar tasks before so I assume they can do it again here’ and actually assessed if someone has the competencies to handle your role. So I recommend waiting to review previous work experience until you are sitting in front of the applicant in a face to face interview.

I believe this structure will become more and more popular as companies look for attitude over experience, and potential over proof. If you want to discuss how this could be implemented into your organisation, feel free to give me a call.

Sharon Davies is the Founding Director of Talent Propeller and is also the director of businesses Big Splash and Tech Engine. Between her businesses, Sharon has been the driving force behind the success of the various international offices. A visionary entrepreneur, particularly in the recruitment and HR industries, she is always relentlessly looking for new and better ways of doing things.

You can reach Sharon here

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