Hiring Attributes – Aptitude

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writing at a computerHere at HR Coaching, we advocate for the use of Attribute focused interviewing. Typical hiring processes are focused on skill sets which fills a temporary hole in your organization. Hiring for Attributes assures you will have a great fit for your organization no matter what role you’re putting them into now because they will grow with you into the future.

The second attribute we look for is Aptitude.

Aptitude defines someone’s natural ability to do something. For our purposes, we use aptitude as someone’s ability to come up to speed quickly in a new role, situation and/or environment. Every person making a job change is about to put their aptitude to the test. It’s your job as a hiring manager to understand just how good they’ll be when everything around them is different.

Think about the role you’re doing now. Odds are it looks nothing like the original role you were hired to do. You wouldn’t have been able to excel in the new role you’re in now if you didn’t have the aptitude to come up to speed quickly. We’ve all heard the phrase that “time is money” so if someone’s ability to come up to speed is faster, they would therefore save you more money and/or produce more money for you faster. That’s why you’re hiring them in the first place, right?

The candidate you’re hiring may need to be able to learn new skills on the job and face new pieces of technology multiple times in just a few months. If you’re hiring for the wrong aptitude, you’re setting yourself up to have your business set back each time anything changes. That’s not acceptable. Hiring for aptitude allows your business to take changes in stride.

Below are a few example questions you can ask a candidate to discover their aptitude.

1. Tell me about a time you had to learn something brand new in order to accomplish a task.

What to listen for:
What about this new thing did they not know from the start? Are they starting from scratch or just learning a small amount before they can start the new task? How did they go about coming up to speed on this new task? What resources did they seek out? How long did this process take them?

2. Tell me your process for setting goals to improve yourself? What’s one example you’re working on now?

What to listen for:
How do they benchmark themselves? Are they comparing themselves to anyone else or do they focus on improving themselves regardless of the environment? What you’re looking for is someone who excels independent of the environment they are in. What sorts of processes and methods do they use to improve?

3. Tell me about a time you had to take over for someone else on a task or project mid-stream.

What to listen for:
What was the first thing they did? The best course of action is to find out what’s already been done before trying to take over the task on your own. You’ll be listening for the candidate’s tendency to reinvent the wheel or improve what’s already in place. Why did they choose to do what they did?

Hopefully this gets you on your way to evaluating your candidates for their attributes instead of purely on their skill set. See our full list of hiring attributes here and if you would like to see more example interview questions, look at our best interview questions here.

What level of aptitude are you looking to hire? Do you need help with questions you could ask your candidates? Send us a note to our email. You may be featured in our next article!