How to Tell if a Job Applicant is Trainable

You’re searching for a new employee. Of course, qualifications and experience are important, but don’t forget about trainability. So, how can you tell if a job applicant is trainable?

What Is Trainability?

Trainability refers to an employee’s ability to master and apply new skills. Brainpower comes into play. However, a person must be flexible and willing to learn too.

Signs a Job Applicant Is Trainable

Determining trainability may seem like a challenging task. How can you tell if a candidate is trainable just by talking with them? Here are a few key factors to consider.

  • Cognitive Ability
    Many companies administer cognitive ability tests as part of pre-employment screening. These assessments may measure IQ, general mental ability, verbal skills, math skills, spatial perception, and/or inductive and deductive reasoning. Although cognitive ability tests aren’t universally used, they can be a powerful indicator for future success. In fact, research by Schmidt & Hunter (1998) found General Cognitive Ability (GCA) was the most important predictor of job and training performance.
  • A Passion for Learning
    People who embrace life-long learning usually are easy to train. These are the individuals who will constantly want to know more. This should be evident not only in their professional but also in their personal lives. Look for applicants who advanced in their past jobs, pursued further education, and routinely tackle new hobbies and experiences.
  • Adaptability
    Ultimately, you want employees who enthusiastically seek new knowledge AND use it. Someone may be an expert on the most recent technology. Yet, if they insist on sticking with old methods, they won’t help your company grow. Behavioral interview questions can provide some insight into a person’s adaptability. For example, you could ask, “Could you give me an example of a process you improved at your past position?”

What’s More Important, Qualifications or Trainability?

You need candidates with the right skill set. Nevertheless, a perfect resume doesn’t guarantee success. Technology is advancing at a breakneck speed. So, your superstar applicant could be out of date within a few years, especially if they refuse to learn new things. Searching for trainability over skills also gives you more hiring flexible especially for hard-to-fill roles. You may struggle to find someone who’s 100% qualified, but you may uncover several trainable candidates who are 80% qualified. Even though you will need to invest in their education, they may end up being more valuable to you in the long term. After all, they will be the ones who are eager to experiment, evolve and take your organization into the future.

Is Your Company Looking for Trainable Employees?

Halpin Staffing Services places skilled trades workers, administrative staff, and other professionals throughout Southeastern Wisconsin and Northeastern Illinois. Our recruiters can match you with qualified and trainable employees who will help you achieve your business goals. Request your next top team member today!

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