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Should You Hire For Skills Or Character?

Hire For Skills Or Character

Which is a better option?

“Hire character, train skill.” – Peter Schultz, former Porsche CEO


In a perfect world, you would hire someone whose character is equally as great as their skills. However, seeing that this world is far from perfect, it can be very difficult to find a candidate with both. So, should you hire for skills or character?

It’s not a new HR concept by any means and we are not choosing sides. In fact, we are here to debate the benefits of each way of thinking, which will hopefully be helpful to you during the hiring process.

Hiring For Character

Many companies hire employees for their character and then train them on the job. They do this with the idea that you can teach skill, but cannot change a person’s character.

Experienced and talented employees with a bad attitude often fail at their jobs. However, inexperienced employees with great attitudes tend to succeed long-term. 89% of new hires lose their jobs due to something involving their character.

One’s character can be considered more valuable than an MBA or PhD. A person can have all the necessary experience and skills, but if their personality does not fit the company culture, are they really the right person to hire?

Considering 99.9% of positions, regardless of the industry, require dealing with fellow coworkers, bosses or customers a person’s attitude should be a priority.

Hiring For Skills

On the other side, you could argue that a person’s character can only get them so far. When real change is needed at a company attitude is unlikely to be enough. This is where skills and experience reign supreme.

For example, you would not hire a really bright and polite candidate to work on an assignment where certifications are needed. That would be a safety hazard, not to mention a waste of time.

When you hire for skills versus attitude, you try to get the best talent available. A team of happy employees is great in theory, but if they do not have the qualifications to succeed you may find yourself in a pickle. 11% of new hires lose their jobs due to technical ineptitude.


Ultimately, employers should be looking for a well-balanced candidate with both a willingness to train and a respectable character. If this is a real struggle for you, a staffing agency can be an excellent resource.


As a leading Florida employment agency with over 28 years of experience in the industry, we naturally have some great insights when it comes to the hiring process. For more advice or information regarding our services, please visit our website. We also love to connect via social media, so be sure to follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. We look forward to sharing our knowledge with you.