What’s More Important: Attitude or Skill?

You’ve narrowed the field to two great candidates. One has the perfect combination of job skills and work experience; the other has an amazing attitude, but is a little light on skills.

Which person should you hire?

It’s a tough dilemma, to be sure. But in today’s tight employment market, it’s one you’re quite likely to face.

Naturally, you want to hire employees who know their stuff. Technical roles, in particular, must be filled by individuals who already possess specific skills. Even the most talented new hires, however, can fail on the job because of a stagnant or negative mindset.

Need proof?

Consider the findings of Leadership IQ’s Global Talent Management Survey. This study, which involved more than 5,000 hiring managers, showed that a lack of technical skills accounts for just 11% of new hire failures. The balance fail because of problems with:

  • Coachability – an inability to accept feedback from bosses, colleagues and customers.
  • Emotional intelligence – an inability to understand their own emotions, as well as others’.
  • Motivation – a lack of drive to excel in the job.
  • Temperament – a personality that’s unsuited to the role and work environment.

Notice a pattern here?

According to the results of this study, the vast majority of new hires don’t fail because they lack job skills; they fail because they don’t have the right interpersonal skills or attitude.

Tips for Hiring for Attitude

Ask behavioral interview questions:

  • How do you deal with failure on the job?
    Candidates with a good attitude view failure as a temporary setback – something to learn from and then move on.
  • Tell me about a conflict you had with your team. How did you handle it?
    Look for responses that show the candidate can manage confrontations effectively and professionally.
  • How would you describe the perfect work environment for you?
    Look for an alignment between the candidate’s response and your organizational culture.
  • Give me an example of an instance when you wanted to give up, but chose not to.
    Look for evidence that the candidate is self-motivated and works hard, even under tough circumstances.

Ask former supervisors:

  • Did this candidate require constant supervision to stay on task?
  • How well did this candidate accept and incorporate constructive feedback?
  • In what type of work environment will this individual thrive?

Trust your search to the experts at PrideStaff.

PrideStaff’s proprietary On Target fulfillment process eliminates chance and inconsistency, delivering candidates with the right skills and attitude – each and every time. Contact your local PrideStaff office today to learn more.