Tuesday, May 17, 2011

General or Specific skills?

Which is more important, general competence or specific expertise? On the Michael Smerconish show he was talking about hiring a producer for his show. He interviewed a lot of candidates. When faced with the final decision, he chose to hire the person who had general competence (dedication, communication skills, personality) but no experience instead of the person with specific expertise (knowing how to produce a radio show) but less of the general qualities. The station almost didn’t go along with his choice because his choice had no experience being a radio show producer. But he never regretted it. He had faith she would learn what she needed to know when she needed to know it. And she did.

You also hear this a lot in pro sports. There are the players who have tons of skills but are bad teammates/clubhouse personas (like Randy Moss, Many Ramirez) or players with maybe less skill but are great in the clubhouse (Trot Nixon comes to mind). I’m not talking about off the field shenanigans (Michael Vick), but sports related general competence or specific skills. I prefer cheering for teams with lots of good clubhouse guys, but who is better for the team’s winning percentage?

Of course it depends on the requirements of the job, but for those jobs in the middle where both are important, which would you choose if you had to choose?