Are your skills and experience overrated?

Every day I talk to managers, senior executives, and other hiring authorities who all seem to say the same thing: they are not necessarily looking for advanced degrees or certifications in the new hires they want to attract. They seem to feel that it is more important that new hires are able to work effectively on the teams that are already in place, while also making their own specialized, individual contribution to the company.

Survey says: they are not alone
According to recent research by Right Management, more and more organizations prefer to hire employees who are a good cultural and motivational fit with their team. In the first quarter of 2010, Right Management surveyed more than 800 senior human resource professionals and other business leaders throughout North America to learn what contributes most to accelerated performance. The results?
• Organizational culture/motivational fit: 31%
• Interpersonal behaviors: 26%
• Critical reasoning/judgment: 21%
• Technical skills: 12%
• Relevant experience: 11%

“Immediate, on-the-job performance is so essential these days,” said Michael Haid, Senior Vice President of Global Solutions at Right Management. “New hires need to get up to speed fast and make a smooth transition into the new environment.”

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder
The data proves that you could be the most qualified employee with the most impressive resume in the world, but if you’re unable to get along with your co-workers and perform well under pressure and in a way that the organization considers meaningful, it won’t matter. The trend that I (as a recruiter) have seen is more and more weight being given to “fit” becoming a hiring norm rather than a short-term fad.

Your first priority: build and maintain a quality reputation
If you want to assure your managers of your value, keep striving to reach your outlined performance goals and develop new skills. You should also place an emphasis on developing deep and positive relationships and look for opportunities to demonstrate that your values are aligned with those of your organization. Actively manage your reputation and don’t shy away from challenges, since as the survey results suggest, the mere act of using good judgment to address a problem may be more impactful than the result.

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