So, the recruitment process is nearly over and you’re down to two candidates that you really like. One has just the right skills for the job and the other lacks the skills but has a great attitude. So which one should you recruit?
Well, obviously both are very important. Someone can have all the skills you need on paper, but if their attitude is wrong, then the damage they can do to your organisation can be huge. On the other hand, if you need someone for a role where skills and experience are paramount, attitude may need to take second place, particularly if you are operating in a specialised area.
A successful organisation is built on its people so to grow a business you need to recruit and manage the right staff. In smaller businesses, where there are fewer employees, ensuring that you have the most effective people is even more important. Poor recruitment and management can’t be easily absorbed, can be very destructive and have a major impact on the performance of the business and the morale of those around them. So perhaps you should go for attitude, someone who you think you can work with, who will get on well and communicate with everyone and respond positively to difficulties.
It makes sense in many ways because if someone in the team doesn’t fit, then work won’t be enjoyable and will impact on teamwork, customer relations, motivation and the ability to deal with change. But if your organisation needs major change, will a good attitude be enough? In situations where you need to be innovative and stay ahead of the competition, you might find you need skills, experience and competence rather than a good attitude.
Another consideration is the fact that many organisations simply don’t have the time or resources to train and develop new staff into their roles. New people really have to hit the ground running. And even if organisations do undertake initial training, it’s often the case that the amount of time and energy given to new staff is minimal or misplaced. The new employee then has to compensate, often increasing stress and job dissatisfaction.
So, whether you’re recruiting, appraising or promoting, the skills versus attitude argument will often arise. Ideally, you want a combination of great attitude and great skills, but if that’s not an option then you need to compromise. As a rule of thumb, if the skills can be fairly quickly acquired, then go for the great attitude and train for the skills. But, if, you’re looking at a situation that needs a bigger change, then go for the skills and be aware that there may be some problems ahead.