26 aUGUST 2019


Years ago, when I started my career in human resources, many of my colleagues, friends and HR gurus laughed and scoffed at the idea when I interviewed for values ahead of skills !!

I believe that skills or competencies can be learnt. Behaviours can be groomed for but values in most cases are inherent and people are either carrying on with what they have(family values) or what they are born with.

To be a great achiever, you need to be a top performer and skills can definitely back you in achieving all these. However, skills when coupled great attitude would be an outright winner.

A few points to ponder…In today’s world, what are employers looking for, in prospective candidates? What are the deciding factors to tilt the balance in favour of a candidate? The answer in most cases are demonstrated behaviours which in turn depicts great values. Some of the values that rank high in today’s world are discipline, commitment, integrity and most of all, passion for whatever one pursues.

Times have changed dramatically, whereby parents of today are open-minded and allow their children to make up their mind on their careers and not force them into the so-called top-notch convention of Engineers, Doctors or Finance professionals. Today the world has opened up beyond imagination – there is a plethora of professional offering from being a journalist to a sommelier. There are also new technologies that cover a totally new set of segments and industries like artificial intelligence, big data, cloud, cyber security, robotic process automation and more. In essence the world is seeing changes at a faster pace than earlier and skills needed at any given point of time would be subject to change. So specialization wouldn’t be the key to continued success but only a means for any particular technology, task or job suitable for that moment. Hence one size or fixed skills can never fit all and as such, foundational values can be of great help.

We may have heard that people who have traveled have greater chances of obtaining better jobs or positions in organisations. This is mainly due to their exposure to different cultures, languages, geographical conditions, communities and more. On observing such people more closely, we would soon realize that the values they carry intrinsically within them are the same profound values as mentioned above, including adaptability and their nature to adjust seamlessly in any given situation.

Lastly, it would be an added advantage to bank on people who have had some experience in 'failing' at some point in their life, as compared to the ones who have been successful all through as such people could depict resilience. With increased automation and digitization, one may not have the required experience to handle failure (if it were to occur) and no one wants that failure to be experienced at their cost either.

Modern recruiters may continue to look for skills, passing of psychometric tests, etc., but the key to success in the modern era could well start with values.
This article is written by Willis Langford, an unbiased, result driven & passionate HR professional who has a flair for technology and keen interest in making this world a better place with a zest for life.