Is selection of a top-quality candidate more or less important than intensive training?

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thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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The obvious answer is that both selecting the right candidate and training are equally important. The crucial point comes in thinking about what is meant by a top quality candidate. Often, managers and human resources staff may define the needed skills too narrowly and not pay attention to overall candidate quality. For example, a smart, energetic person who has the right mix of business skills can quickly learn a new piece of software or new process; since most technology packages change so quickly anyway, it seems better to look for a good person and assume that they can learn a new spreadsheet than to take a weaker candidate who has used Package Y  Version x.x. Training very narrow skills can be fast and effective.

On the other hand, if someone has weak communication skills, lacks a global business perspective (and seems to have no interest in global issues), or has a bad attitude, those are issues that cannot be fixed with training.