Education, Skills, or Behavior?


Every HR manager knows – the war for talent is real. It’s not surprising that in the urgency of hiring talent – before said talent signs the dotted line with another company – it’s easy to define a position by education and skills and then promptly hire the best-matched candidate. When the unfortunate reality of a bad hire follows, it’s difficult for everyone, in addition to being hard on the bottom-line.

The fact is, matching education and skills is necessary to a certain degree, but they’re only half of the equation. It might even be time to be less demanding on specific education. On the one hand, the degree is necessary. On the other hand, a lot of skills can be taught on the job. Finding the balance is critical, but we’re still only discussing half of the equation.

The Other Half – Behavior

Behavior refers to a candidate’s personality and character traits – a much more difficult aspect of evaluating via resume or standard interview. Learning to “read between the lines,” “listening” to non-verbal cues, and developing a discerning eye when viewing social media are plusses, but there are additional options.


  • The Behavioral Interview: An interview which poses questions that reveal how a candidate acted in various situations and why they made those choices. The concept is that by discovering how a candidate performed in the past, one can obtain a picture of how he/she will respond to situations in the future. Behavioral Interviewing Reinvented, an excellent resource on the topic, can be found in the article library of Interview Edge.

The HR Daily Advisor recently posted Bob Kelleher’s Golden 10 – Hiring Best Practices, where he not only mentions including the use of behavioral-based interview questions in your hiring process but also suggests conducting a “Who Succeeds Here” workshop with department managers. Purpose? To establish what specific behaviors and traits will flourish in your business, so you know what you’re seeking in a candidate before you begin the search.

Pre-Hire Behavioral Assessment Testing: While these aren’t stand-alone solutions, they are 35% accurate and do help HR garner a clearer picture. Some examples include:

  • Personality Assessments: Measures personality traits related to workplace behavior. They are particularly helpful when a position requires teamwork and interpersonal interaction.
  • Integrity Assessments: Integrity tests assess attitudes and experiences related to honesty, reliability, etc. by asking questions about preferences, interests, and experiences related to ethics.
  • DiSC assessment: This assessment lumps candidates into one of four categories. While it should never be used to stereotype, it can help evaluate whether a candidate has compatible attributes for the position and your company’s culture.

For an extensive list of top assessment tests w/descriptions, read Nikoletta Bika’s HR Technology post on

Partnering with Springborn Staffing: We help you determine the skills, education, and experience, as well as the behavioral qualities that will best meet your needs. Contact us today and give yourself more time to do what you do best while we find the right talent. Our fully-certified recruiters provide best-in-class personnel solutions. In fact, we do more than promise excellence. We stand behind our employees’ performance – 100% guaranteed.


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