Skill Vs Attitude: Which Is More Important To Your Company?

Skill Vs Attitude

Skill Vs Attitude: Which Is More Important To Your Company?

When it’s time to hire a new employee, it’s only natural that you will want your ideal candidate to have the right mix of talent, attitude and experience. However, it can be challenging to find one individual who “has it all”, and instead you may be faced with choosing between a person who has the right attitude and a person who has the right skill. But how do you decide? Many recruitment agencies and human resources managers firmly believe that you should hire for attitude and train for skill. Let’s take a look at why the right attitude can make all the difference.

Recruit For Attitude And Train For Skill

The ‘hire for attitude philosophy’ isn’t brand new. A 2011 Harvard Business Review article examines how three vastly different industries – healthcare, retail banking and airline service –  have used this strategy to “create something special, distinctive, and compelling in the marketplace’ by building “something special, distinctive, compelling in the workplace.”

“And the best way to build something special in the workplace is to hire for attitude and train for skill.” (source)

In other words, a positive person with a can-do attitude but limited skills is a better candidate than someone who is highly skilled but doesn’t seem to be motivated.

What is Attitude Anyway?

Attitude can include characteristics such as:

  • Commitment
  • Honesty
  • Trustworthiness
  • Adaptability
  • Accountability
  • Loyalty
  • Passion
  • Ambition
  • Outlook

The idea that it is better to recruit for attitude stems from the notion that when people are enthusiastic and adaptable, they can master new skills quickly. By contrast, the wrong attitude (indifference, negativity, resistance to change and pessimism, for example), is much more difficult to change because the person has to want to change: something that won’t happen without the right attitude!  

The Right Combination

Of course, it is possible that you will encounter candidates who are talented and also have a great attitude. If so, congratulations because you’ve found a winning combination! Ultimately, if you have to choose between attitude and skill, you will need to consider what matters most to your business. If you decide you want to focus on attitude rather than technical skills you will need to ask the right questions during the interview. Consider asking the candidate the following:

  • Challenges they have overcome
  • How they deal with failure
  • What they do when faced with situations beyond their skillset

Remember to listen to their language (is it positive or negative?) and observe how much detail they go into and whether they give specific examples.

Need help with recruitment? On Line Recruitment understands how important it is to get the right candidate to fit in with your business. Our recruitment services are designed to save you the time and the stress of the hiring process. Contact our professional team to get started.

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Written by On Line Recruitment