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Monday, August 27, 2012

Selection 101: Skill vs. Will

You need to hire someone new for your team.  You start by considering the job description (hopefully you have one for all of your positions) for the opening and post the position through the best recruitment channels you've identified for your needs. 

You realize though, that most of what your job description outlines is task based, and it does not consider what desirable "fuzzy" attributes a person should have to get the job done and fit in with the culture of your company.  You've run into the skill vs. will dilemma.



Skill vs. Will- What are we talking about? 

  • Skill- can they do your job?   If you are recruiting for a welder- can they weld; for a server, can they wait tables- take people’s orders and get them right, deliver them to a table, clean up and make correct change or run a credit card transaction.


  • Will-  Do they have the self-motivation, passion or desire to do your job? Do they love to weld? Do they have the attention to detail to get it done right? Do they like to greet customers with courtesy and accuracy, etc.  Will they fit in with the culture of your organization?  


In the long run,  will is more important.  You can teach skill, but you can't will will to happen. 

Select Wisely

Here are some ideas for assessing both at one time in order to make a wise selection decision: 


1. Behavioral based interviews: 

Driven by the notion that past behavior predicts future performance.

Examples of Questions: 

Will (culture):  "Tell me about a time that you had a conflict with a co-worker.  How did you handle it." 


Skill and will: "Tell me about a time that you had a customer complain to you in person.  What was the situation and how did you address it?”


More skill based: “Describe a time that you had a machine fail.  How did you determine what was wrong and how did you go about fixing it?”

For the most effective interviews, research shows*: 
1. Rapport building should take place at the beginning of the interview

2. Evaluation standards should be set to score each item/question asked

3. Questions should reflect assessing job related behaviors

4. The same questions should be asked of all applicants

5. Have the same person(s) interview all applicants



2. Work them for a day: 
Great because:

  • Assesses whether they can do the job
  • Assesses how they interact with the team
  • Gives them a realistic job preview- what the job is, how much a day’s pay is for

How do you assess will through your selection procedures? 

*source- Human Resource Selection- Gatewood, Feild, Barrick, 2008



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