Why You Should Hire on Attitude, Not Skills

Why You Should Hire on Attitude, Not Skills

When searching for the perfect potential hire, it can be tempting to select a candidate based on their understanding of the technical skills necessary to excel within your new role. However, statistics suggest that the smarter strategy can be to prioritise softer qualities over hard talents.  

Placing attitude above experience when choosing an employee can help you to find a professional that not only fits seamlessly with your company culture but also gives you the best opportunity for future success. In fact, some businesses report that recruits with a "winning mindset" can be 7 times more valuable than regular staff.  

With care, attention, and dedication, any skill can be learned. However, things like temperament and personality are more likely to have a long-term impact on how a recruit will thrive within your team.  

 

Attitude Vs Skills: What's the Difference? 

 

"Skills", from a recruitment perspective, are the areas of expertise that employees cultivate during their time in education and internships. The skills that you look for in your staff will differ according to your sector. For instance, financial organisations choose candidates with an affinity for numbers, while engineering businesses search for technical talents.  

On the other hand, "attitude" reflects the personality of your chosen candidate. Traits like passion, flexibility, accountability, and attention-to-detail are all signs that a recruit has the right attitude to perform well in a team.  

Usually, leaders and managers cite attitude problems as more significant contributor to workplace turnover than lack of skill. For instance, the Leadership IQ Global Talent Management Survey suggests that most new hires fail because of: 

  • An inability to receive conductive feedback from bosses, customers, and colleagues 

  • A lack of emotional resonance with people in their team 

  • Missing motivation, or no dedication to their current career 

  • A personality that doesn't blend with the existing company culture.   
     

Is Hiring for Attitude or Skill More Important?

Though there are no hard and fast rules for choosing the perfect recruitment process, studies into methodologies for finding both long and short-term hires suggest that inexperienced hires with exceptional attitudes can achieve substantial success, while skilled employees with poor personalities fail quickly.  

 

 

These truths have remained the same across social and economic boundaries, sectors, and circumstances, so long as the role in question requires some contact with other human beings. That means that whether you're searching for a retail assistant, manufacturing manager, or accounting specialist, attitude comes first.  

The research speaks for itself: 

  • Only around 19% of new hires are successful in the long-term. 

  • Of the team members that don't last, 89% lose their position because of a problem with personality.  

  • Only 11% of candidates lose their jobs because of technical incompetence 

If you're looking for a staff member that needs to interact regularly with other people, either internally with other professionals, or externally with your customers, you should always prioritise attitude.  

 

The Benefits of Attitude Over Skill 

Besides the fact that choosing personality over experience can help businesses to reduce their turnover, focusing on attitude in recruitment can offer other benefits too. Often, pleasant demeanour can easily outweigh a skill deficit. For instance: 

  • Employees with a positive mindset are generally highly coachable, eager to learn, and willing to adjust to changes in your company. Some studies suggest that a high level of "emotional intelligence" is a better indicator of success than technical knowledge.  

  • While you can train your new team member to develop the skills they need for a specific role, it's much harder to teach someone to have a better attitude. That's why finding someone with the right personality is critical. These kinds of people consider learning new talents to be a welcome challenge.  

  • Problems with attitude can stunt a new candidate's growth within your workforce. However, they can also have a negative impact on morale too. An individual with a bad attitude can easily rub other staff the wrong way, or detract from your team's productivity levels. 

  • An excellent perspective and positive approach to work can be infectious, and one of the most powerful ways to improve employee engagement. If everyone loves their time in your company, then you're less likely to spend time and money on frequently recruiting replacement talent. What's more, your new recruit can rub off on your existing professionals and motivate them to achieve their goals.  

While different organisations will approach the recruitment process in unique ways, the evidence suggests that placing attitude ahead of skills when it comes to finding the ideal candidate, may be the perfect way to set your team up for success.  

 

About First2Recruit 

Based in Wiltshire, First2Recruit, are an owner managed recruitment consultancy providing a full recruitment service including; permanent,temporary and contract positions in the Financial Services and Manufacturing Sector across Wiltshire, Hampshire, Dorset, Somerset and Bristol.    

Their exceptional market and local knowledge make them a stand out agency.  You can download their free report on How To Find And Attract The Best Employees In Rural Locations here. 

Alternatively, visit www.first2recruit.co.uk or call one of their friendly team on 01722 441 434.