I don’t know about you, but in my industry, business is picking up with a passion. Of course, this brings with it new and interesting challenges – namely how to staff up for this growth. Not only staff up, but staff up with the right people for the position you are looking for. For most of you, that means do they have the Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities (commonly abbreviated as KSAs in HR) needed for the job? That is true, but is it all of it? Of course not. You want people who are going to fit in with your culture. People who are going to not only care, but are going to work like this is more than a weekly (or bi-weekly, or semi-monthly or monthly) paycheck. So how do you rank the KSA’s? Do you put Knowledge at the top of your list, or do you put Skills or Abilities? I would argue that in order of importance, KSAs are backward. Instead of Knowledge, Skills, then Abilities, I think we need ASKs. Abilities should be your highest priority. If someone has the Ability to work hard, the Ability to learn, the Ability to put their heart into the business and learn it, they can be trained in the Skills that they will need and then acquire the Knowledge needed to be successful in the business. Not only that, the Knowledge they acquire will be straight from you – they will learn the way you do it (which I assume is the right way, right?)
This is easier said than done, especially in a world of anonymous, faceless resumes that may tout abilities, but to be honest, who puts a lot of stock into a resume that has “Hard Worker” as a top bullet point? It’s like when I talk to people who are interested in working in HR and they tell me that I should hire them because they are “a people person.” My gag reflex has gotten sensitive to this.
Same with Skills, which I think is second to Abilities in my equation. “Good Time Management” or “Very Organized” are two common themes I see on resumes. Usually, five-page jobs, which brings to question – if you are so organized, why did it take you 5 pages to organize your thoughts, or if you are good at time management, why don’t you don’t care about my time and the time it is taking me to read this blasted thing?
Now don’t get me wrong. I am not saying that you overlook, or even pass up someone with a ton of knowledge by default. I am just saying that maybe it is overrated when compared to someone who is stronger in Abilities and maybe lacking in the Knowledge department.
So, how do you pull through this? First, I suggest turning off or at least tuning back on some of the screener questions in your over-priced Applicant Tracker Software. Sure, you are going to get some woefully underqualified people to come through, but if your people are your most valuable asset, maybe you should be willing to thumb through a few more resumes and/or applications if it means you get the right fit for your job.