If you have ever been involved in recruiting you have come across a person whose technical skills made you drool. On paper he/she looked amazing. Your mind began to wander; oh the amazing things your team could do with such a talent. You set up the first meeting with anticipation. You thought about all the great things you can say about your team to convince him/her to be part of your team. The day finally arrives and you meet in person. This person doesn’t just have great skills on paper he/she talks like an expert, it is all there. He/She is perfect for you! Sure there are little red flags. He seems a cocky; a tiny bit too self assured. She strikes you as selfish. The interview is much more about “what can you do for me” than “what I can do for you”.
In your head you start to justify. “Someone this talented should be confident…”
Timeout, before you go any farther down that path, there are a few things you need to think about that all too often get brushed aside in the awe of technical prowess:
- Very talented people tend to underestimate their teammates. Think about that a minute. I am not saying they recognize their teammate’s weakness and are willing to support them. I am saying they fail to recognize their teammate’s strengths and make use of them. No matter who you are, it is offensive and alienating to be underestimated.
- If someone isn’t perceived as ‘nice’ their teammates will avoid asking their advice. What good does it do you to have the smartest, most talented person in the world on your team if everyone goes to the not as smart, not as talented person to ask questions? All of those smarts and skill will go to waste as your team tries to work around a talented ‘meanie’.
- Your clients prefer interpersonal skills over technical skills. Technical skills are common place. Clients assume they can get competence pretty much anywhere. How you interact with your clients on a personal level is what will make or break you and what they will talk about with their friends. Great technical skills don’t make up for bad customer interactions.
Okay time-in – now what was it you were going to justify about your perfect on paper but not in person recruit? I am not saying you should never bring in exceptional talent based on a bad attitude. I am just saying, weigh ALL of the pros and cons. And while we’re talking about the importance of technical skills versus interpersonal skills, where are you spending most (if not all) of your training budget? Maybe you should reconsider that too.
Dr. Robyn Odegaard is the CEO/Owner of the speaking/consulting company Champion Performance Development, the founder of the Stop The Drama! Campaign and author of the book ‘Stop The Drama! The Ultimate Guide to Female Teams’. She specializes in showing individuals and teams how to be powerful and achieve the most from their potential. You can invite her to give one of her funny, influential, insightful presentations and inquire about her consulting services at www.ChampPerformance.com and order her book from www.StopTheDramaNow.com