Behaviours Versus Skills in Recruiting

Peter Cheese, Chief Executive of the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development (CIPD) has recently written that “skills shortages continue to pose a challenge for business.”

Personally, I believe that this issue is exacerbated by weak selection and interviewing processes and, of course, little investment in development.

What I mean by that is, businesses often get hung-up about their vacancy and feel the need to prioritise qualifications and skills above anything else. Managers then interview and select candidates against this criteria, overlooking other attributes, only to later find that the candidate is not performing as well as they had hoped or had been led to believe they would in the interview. 

But how can behaviours possibly parallel skills? 

Competency behaviours are the actions demonstrated by an individual to achieve the desired outcome. So, if you are seeking high-performance for your business investment, then it is the competency behaviours that will determine the harder to measure attributes, important for success in the role, such as whether an individual will demonstrate initiative to grow the business; effectively lead and engage teams to fulfil their potential, or manage under pressure to deliver complex projects, as well as their capacity to continually develop their skills to manage in an ever-evolving business environment. Behaviours also highlight whether a candidate will integrate and fit into your culture.



Competency-based interviewing is a technique applied by many HR professionals and has been scientifically proven to achieve more efficient interview and selection processes – significantly reducing the cost of poor recruitment decisions and improving retention and engagement.

If people have the right attitude and personality, skills can be developed pretty quickly. For non-specialized skills, this may not be as costly as you think, after all, the most effective learning is done on-the-job (70%).


Support this with your experienced leaders/managers imparting their knowledge through mentoring, shadowing or coaching and you will start to see the skills-gap closing and the business performance improve.