Good talent can be difficult to come by.

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How do you find the best candidates? Are you skills-focused or do you believe that skills can be taught, but behaviors can’t?

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  • Brian Fitzgerald
    edited February 2023
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    Great question. There's actually three dimensions in my view: first off, skills matter, for sure. And to your question, behaviors do too- people have to fit the culture and bring the right mindset. The third dimension, though, is talent: no matter how good or experienced the person is, a key question is how much room do they have to grow and make a bigger impact over time?. It's important to differentiate skill from talent: a skilled, experienced person may be great at the job today, but have little room to grow. A talented person with less experience/proven skill might make some mistakes today, but they can be your rock stars in the future.

    My general rule is, unless it's a unique role where the person has to come in pre-loaded with all the skills and experience to be successful because there's nobody else to teach them, I'd always choose talent over current skills/experience. In short, the talented person will gain skill and experience over time, but the experienced person can't gain more raw talent, no matter how hard they try.

    Behaviors matter too- they can be coached to a degree, but hiring people with the hope of changing their attitudes and behaviors has a lot of risk, no matter how much experience, skill or talent they bring to the table...I've regretted it every time I've tried.

    And given that the reverse is true too (experienced people don't lose talent either) the ideal is still a perfect mix of the two...

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