Some employers look for experience when interviewing a candidate; all they care about is a proven track record. Others look for potential ability so the person can grow with the company, but Jodie Brown, president of Colorado-based Summit Solutions, a provider of business aviation recruiting and professional development services, suggests that what you really want is a combination of the two: “When interviewing a candidate for any position you should look for the three As: age, attitude and ability.”
There’s nothing wrong with hiring a young person, asserts Brown, if he brings wisdom to the job. Ask the candidate for an example of how he has been accountable and responsible in the past.
Another personality trait that is important to Brown is a can-do attitude. Does the candidate deal well with change or is he resistant to change? It is important to distinguish the difference between someone who is “can-do” with regard to doing the right thing and one who throws caution to the wind and charges full speed ahead without a plan or the necessary skills. Don’t mistake enthusiasm for capability.
Finally, it is important to understand that ability is not the same as skill. “Far too many employers settle for skill level,” notes Brown, “but skills can be taught; ability is innate. It’s better to have someone who has basic common sense, is able to ‘read’ people, multi-task, calm excited people and so on. They will be the good employees; you can always send them to school to learn a specific skill.”