Skill Vs Attitude: Which Is More Important?

Skill Vs Attitude

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’s not easy to find someone who “has it all” and 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?

The skill vs attitude debate is something recruitment agencies and human resources managers all over the world are familiar with. Let’s take a look at the difference between the two and whether one outranks the other.

Difference Between Skills & Attitude 

The hiring process can be exhausting, so it’s important to equip yourself with as much information about the candidate/s before you make your final decision.

Enza Artino on LinkedIn argues that skills and attitude should be the most important requirements for any organization defining them as

“Attitude is the way of behaving, based on our inner motivations, personal values and aims. Skills are the activities/capabilities we are able to do/deliver, what we learnt during our professional career.”

But is a positive person with a can-do attitude and limited skills a better candidate than someone who is highly skilled but doesn’t seem to be motivated?

Many recruitment professionals would argue yes.

skills vs attitude recruitment

Attitude Can’t Be Taught But Skills Can

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!  

Skill Vs 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.

How To Test Attitude In An Interview

Assessing skill level is much easier than trying to ascertain someone’s attitude. Most people will bring their A game to an interview and will do their best to impress. However, there are certain questions you can ask which will help you decide whether they have the right attitude. 

Consider asking some or all of these:

  • What was your relationship with your colleagues like in your previous position?
  • Describe your biggest failure at your previous organisation?
  • Tell me about a time when you faced a major challenge at work and how you overcame it.
  • Have you ever felt overwhelmed at work, and how did you handle it? 
  • Have you ever worked with a difficult person, and what did you learn from it?
  • What is your ideal work environment?
  • Tell me about the career goals you have set for yourself.
  • What do you do to keep yourself motivated, and how do you motivate others? 

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.

Consider Asking Something Unexpected 

Can a single question determine the outcome of an interview? Some recruiters and business leaders would argue yes. LinkedIn recently interviewed some business leaders and asked them what questions reveal the most about candidates. Their responses included:

  • Tell me about your family.
  • Tell me a story.
  • What activities make you lose track of time?
  • Why wouldn’t we hire you?
  • How would you measure your own performance?

Try and formulate a question that will identify if a candidate will be the right fit for your company.

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.