Merge's Blog

Hire for attitude, not skills

hire for attitudeWhen it comes to recruiting employees, I always say that I would much rather hire for attitude rather than for skills.  You see, for the most part, skills are teachable … but a positive can-do attitude is either there or not.  Now of course, I’m not suggesting that you completely ignore a required base-level of skills – if you need an accountant or a lawyer or a doctor, you obviously need someone who’s been accredited as such.  But I am saying that, as a hiring manager, you will often face the situation where you’ve got two or three individuals who have similar educational certifications, and you’re wavering between them.  One person may have more relevant work experience, but another has a more constructive and optimistic attitude.  In this circumstance, always hire for attitude.  Always pick the individual who has the upbeat outlook with the glass-is-half-full point of view.  Here’s why.

Here’s why you should hire for attitude.

You can’t change a person’s fundamental outlook on life (only they can).  The negative pessimistic person will always carry that quality with them, and it will affect the rest of your team in undesirable and damaging ways.  Now sometimes pessimistic people couch their behaviour as “realistic”, but don’t be fooled.  At the end of the day, a persistent poor attitude will pull down team morale and affect overall team productivity.  However, a skills deficiency, on the other hand, can be fixed.  Very often, skills can be perfected on the job; the person who is base-line competent can become exceptionally knowledgeable and capable, because s/he has a positive attitude.  So hire for attitude, not skills.

Well, you know my point of view.  But what has been your experience?  Do you agree, or disagree?  Please share your thoughts by commenting below.

P.S. It isn’t just attitude you should be considering when you hire.  Effective recruitment is really a matter of pay now or pay later. Either invest the time and effort up front to get the right person for the job, or suffer the consequences in lack of productivity and even profitability later on down the road.

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