Attitude Or Aptitude – Which Is More Important For Job Seekers?

job-candidate-searchHow many times have you seen a job advert that is vague on the required qualifications but asks for a candidate who is a team player, dedicated and willing to learn? These days, the trend in hiring is for recruiters and companies to assess job applicants on their attitude towards their careers and life, instead of looking closely at their education and work experience. The idea is to hire on attitude, and train up skills as needed. But is this the correct approach to finding the best staff?

Attitude goes a long way

Big companies like Google and the USA’s Southwest Airlines have built reputations as employers who “hire for attitude”, and indeed, there are many indications that this tack has merit. Statistically, 46% of all new hires fail within the 18 months of starting their job, and a whopping 89% of the time it is related to attitude. Reasons include a lack of motivation, low emotional intelligence, temperament and other attitudinal aspects of the personality.

Attitude is widely accepted as a predictor of the long-term success of a new employee. This is because while skills can and do change and develop over a lifetime, personality largely remains the same. Employees who behave in a certain manner now are likely to continue to behave in that manner as the years go by – which is why attitude is so important. The requisite flexibility, passion and leadership skills can make or break a candidate’s fulfilment of their job description, while the ability to fit in with the culture and values of the company or organisation is crucial.

But few things beat solid experience and comprehensive skillset

However, the importance of aptitude in job seekers also needs to be emphasized. 57% of businesses worldwide are facing a shortage of appropriately skilled entry-level workers, underlining the need for good qualifications and industry experience. Before hiring for attitude alone, employers must be certain that the candidate has the proficiency to learn the required skills to do the job; a relevant degree or certificate and prior work in the field can confirm this.

Employers also need to be sure that new recruits are willing to learn the skills in the specific areas required; if they do not have qualifications in these areas, they may be uninterested in undergoing extensive training in them. Training is also expensive and time-consuming, a consideration that employers need to take into account when hiring candidates based on attitude alone.

When focusing on attitude, there is also the risk that perfectly good employees with the right skillsets but poor interview skills might be overlooked in favour of more charismatic candidates. Similarly, there is concern that ill-qualified applicants might be able to “game” the recruitment system.

The perfect candidate possess the right blend of attitude and experience

All things considered, a balanced approach is probably the best one – an ideal candidate will have a combination of experience and a positive attitude. Both attitude and aptitude are important, and emphasizing one over the other has definite drawbacks. It is infinitely possible to find applicants who check all of the boxes.

Bhumika Zhaveri
Bhumika Zhaverihttps://interimarket.com/blog
BHUMIKA is a serial entrepreneur with experience in business strategy, change, human resources and talent management. Her expertise has been built over years in varied sectors where she has worked as a consultant. Most recently leading change programmes from a people perspective. Founder & CEO of BZ Consultants, simplicity hacker passionate about people, growth and change. Her unconventional thinking and mentorship have benefited many people with their own professional success and development through her career support services she has been providing on a voluntary basis since April 2012. Most recently Bhumi is involved in launching her tech start up InteriMarket which is an online platform focused on supporting the “gig economy” for B2B and B2C building an online ecosystem to enable relevant and better networking, collaboration and talent management. Academically she has obtained BA (Hons), PG in Project Management, MBA in Finance with a specialist license as a career counsellor and personal success coaching. She is also pursuing her Executive and leadership coaching at present and takes a keen interest in people, psychology and behaviours that advocate of her being a thought leader in the field. She is also an author and speaker on various subjects including women empowerment, entrepreneurship, talent management, coaching and leadership. She is a firm believer of success through people and culture, which she will be writing more about in the coming weeks and months. She is passionate about everything she works on and this is reflected in her energy and communication.
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Bharat Mathur

A very interesting take on this important question, Bhumika Ji! As a matter of fact, I just finished writing an article, almost similar to yours, on the inter-dependence of both of the above personality traits. I am sure you will see it published in these groups over the next few weeks.

Believe it or not, all my efforts looking back into the various roles I happened to play through my career pointed me to the exact same result.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts that only corroborate my own views in no small measure.

Warm Regards

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