Recruitment – Attitude over skill.

Posted on April 19, 2012


Job interviews. Very few will be lucky enough not to have to go through the recruitment process numerous times in their career, however for most, we will be sitting at the end of a desk responding to interview questions, many times throughout our lifetime. Some of us will be the ones to conduct these interviews, asking the questions to candidates and potential team members. However there isn’t as much raining and guidance provided in some organisations to what is a critical part of the business, which is finding an individual to join a team and build a career in the organisation.

Demand drives everything, no more so than when it comes to business. No matter the product or service being produced and the market to which it is delivered, demand is the basis for most decisions. This is especially poignant when it comes to the resources (people) required to make the business successful. It is the main driver for initiating what happens to be a very expensive and critical business process. This is all evident from the initial phase of advertising the role or hiring head hunters, reviewing resumes, conducting multiple rounds of interviews up to performing background checks on potential candidates along with other administrative due diligence. This is all crucial to achieve the most important outcome, finding an individual who will fit well into the team, perform the role effectively, deliver superbly and provide value to the organisation.

A lot of organisations still concentrate on hiring around skill set and don’t always consider if the individual is a good fit with the organisational culture, this is a very expensive error for the business. The new employee can end up disrupting teams, resulting in a fall in the teams delivery and production of below par  outputs. It also becomes a management overhead and worse of all, the whole process goes back to the beginning, meaning time lost and added cost.

With all this at stake, the recruitment process is evidently an important one. With that importance being, finding the right individual. However we are still relying on the same old recruitment methods from the last ten to fifteen years some even older. This usually entails interview questions, here is a sample of some of top five interview questions which you may have come across

  1. What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  2. Why do you know about this company? / Why do you want to work here? / What can you bring to this organisation?
  3. Where do you see yourself in five/ ten/ fifteen years?
  4. What would your boss/ team/ colleagues say about you?
  5. What is the most difficult situation you have dealt with?

Recognise them? Have you attended enough interviews to answer these in your sleep?

These questions have become so common place that even variants of them are easily answered by the better prepared and rehearsed of candidates. For some roles, aptitude tests are necessary e.g. Engineers, Software developers, Architects etc. However these are usually followed up with similar questions listed above. What we need to be recruiting for and should be at the top of our list is attitude.

You can develop a persons skill set and teach them to follow your specific work practices, what is very difficult to change is a persons attitude . This should be top of the list for recruiting, in many situations, attitude is even more important than skill (note important not necessary). A highly skilled individual who doesn’t work well with other can create havoc in comparison to a lesser skilled individual with a desire to develop and learn and a has great attitude at work.

So how do we interview for attitude? Well we need to start asking different questions inline with the culture of the organisation and put candidates in scenarios. Some companies have adopted work trials, whereby the final two or three candidates are requested to join a team for the day and they are monitored throughout the process.

No process is completely flawless, like everything in business we need to be looking at innovative ways of achieving things and this also applies to recruitment. We need to train our staff conducting the interviews and work in new ways so we gain the most suitable individuals who want to bring value to the organisation.

Posted in: Organisations