skills vs. attitude – which is more important?

skills vs. attitude – which is more important?
What is more important when hiring for your business? Is it more important the candidate has the right skills or the right attitude?

Deciding which of these two factors is more important for a business is an debate ongoing among HR managers and recruitment agencies. Of course – in an ideal world you want the candidate to have absolutely everything you want. But in reality, how often does that really happen and can you still make a successful hire without a candidate that ticks of all the boxes?

We think yes! In the recruitment process there comes a point when you have to weigh up a candidate’s skills vs. their attitude and decide if they would be a good fit for your organisation. Depending on the role, your company culture and the team fit – there is an argument for both.   

the right skills

It has always been the case that finding a candidate with the right skills will benefit your business. And in a skills shortage market, finding someone with perfect skills is getting more and more difficult. Plus, until you meet the candidate it’s difficult to know if they have both the right skills and the right attitude - so it's always worth meeting them to find out. 

You might find that the right skills are all you need for the role – this is often the case when employing a contractor for the job, read more about who is right for your job a contractor or a permanent member of staff.  

Don't forget, it’s easy to be impressed by skills on paper. They can be represented on a CV or in a cover letter and on an application form, but it’s harder to know about the fit and attitude of a candidate from their application so you may need to spend longer deciding how important these skills are.  


the right attitude  

A candidate with the right attitude on the other hand can also mean great things for your business. If they do not have the right skills to back up their attitude, then you may find that these skills can be learned on the job or even acquired through additional training or mentoring. 

Of course, this also depends on the role. If you have a job that is largely dependent on skills and will be less affected by the attitude of a person, then employing someone who is lacking in skills but oozing in enthusiasm might not be enough for the job at hand.

It's important to remember that the best leaders usually derive from those who have a hunger and drive to learn – in other words, the right attitude. 

the right combination

If a candidate has both, then you have found your perfect match. Of course there is no telling which level of which you need more, that will be down to you and your organisational needs. You need to ask yourself what your team, company and organisation as a whole needs from this candidate. 

Every job requires different skills – for example sometimes it’s better to train your candidates entirely on the job and make sure you have the right attitude first to ensure you get the right culture fit for your workplace. It can often be harder to change attitudes!

A great way to find out what skills and attributes are most important is to not only look at your current employees and the skills and attitude they have, but also at your future plans for the company. It may not be a good thing to employ ten of the same personality, remember that new personalities, ideas and skills bring new ideas and sometimes even new direction for your business. 
Posted: Tuesday, 11 July 2017 - 9:00 AM