Skills vs. Attitude: Which is More Important to Hire for?

August 14th, 2018

When it comes to the hiring process, you know you need to evaluate for both skills and attitude. But is one more important than the other? If, for instance, you have two strong candidates – one with a better attitude and potential and the other with a stronger skill set – which should you choose?

It can definitely be tough to tell and with so much on the line, you don’t want to make a mistake. Murray Resources, leading Houston headhunters, has the answers you need. Here are some tips to help you during the decision-making process:

Consider the job.

For some jobs, it makes sense to focus more on attitude; for others, technical skills are of prime importance. That’s why you should first and foremost consider the job you’re hiring for.

If, for instance, you need a highly analytical accountant, then the best attitude in the world won’t matter much if their mathematical skills aren’t up to par. That’s not to say you’d hire someone with a poor attitude; it just might not take center stage during the hiring process.

If, however, you need a customer service representative who can handle problem situations with tact and empathy, then attitude is going to outweigh technical skills that can be taught.

Consider your company and its culture.

You might get resumes from candidates with tons of experience and plenty of enthusiasm. However, once on the job, you could find out they’re a complete dud. What gives? After all, they seemed to have both the right technical skills and a good attitude.

As Houston headhunters, we know it often comes down to poor fit. For example, if your culture is fast-paced and collaborative, and your new hire is more the laid back, lone wolf type, then they’re not going to thrive, even with the right skills and a positive attitude. So cultural fit is critically important to assess, as well, beyond skills and attitude.

Consider the candidate.

When you’re trying to decide between a candidate with a better attitude and one with more skill consider the strengths and weaknesses of each. Does one candidate seem more focused on learning and skill development than another? Is there a clear winner when it comes to communication skills? How do they work best and which is a better fit for your particular company and culture? In the end, your goal is to ensure whomever you do hire will be with you for the long-term.

Need help hiring candidates with the right skills and a great attitude?

Call in the the experienced Houston headhunters at Murray Resources. For over 30 years, we’ve been providing world-class recruiting services to leading companies in and around Houston. Contact us today to learn more or get started with our firm.

4 Lessons for Avoiding Hiring Mistakes

April 8th, 2014

Technical skills can be taught; attitude, on the other hand, is not something easily changed. And when you hire a new employee with an attitude that doesn’t mesh with your company culture or their role, either they wind up quitting after a few months, or you end up having to let them go.

As one of the leading recruiting agencies in Houston, TX, Murray Resources can tell you that the good news is both scenarios are avoidable when you screen for attitude during the hiring process. To help you, here are a few tips to follow:

Lesson #1: Identify the Types of People Who Thrive at Your Company

There’s not going to be one certain kind of personality that fits in well at your organization or even in any one department. However, there will definitely be certain types of people who seem to thrive there. So ask yourself:

• What kinds of personalities and work styles currently exist in the organization?

• What adjectives best describe the people who have been successful?

• What makes them tick and how are they different from the average employee?

• What types of personalities work well with other stakeholders in the organization that the new hire will interact with?

Lesson #2: Ask the Right Questions

Rather than the typical “what are your weaknesses?” type questions, ask behavior-based questions that can elicit more telling information, not canned answers. For example “tell me about a time you failed on the job.” When you ask these kinds of questions, candidates are forced to give real-world examples, offering you genuine information and experiences you can base your hiring decision on.

When you ask these questions, resist the urge to lead candidates – e.g. “tell me about a time you failed on the job…and what you learned from it.” If you don’t, you’re tipping your hand and signaling to candidates the kind of information you want.

Lesson #3: Inquire About Work Environment

You know what your company’s work environment is like; most candidates will not. So one way to identify those that will fit is to inquire about what their ideal work environment looks like. Some examples of questions you can ask include:

• How do you get your work done most productively? Collaboratively? Independently? A combination?

• How do you prefer to communicate? Verbally or in written form? In person or via email?

• What type of office space do you prefer? Open? Private?

Lesson #4: Dig for More

Many candidates will prepare ahead of time for the interview, which typically involves rehearsing answers to commonly asked interview questions. That’s why it’s important to prod candidates a bit. Don’t let them get away with artificial answers like “my biggest weakness is that I’m a workaholic.” The best way to do that is to ask follow up questions:

• Why?

• How?

• Tell me more?

• What happened next?

Hiring for attitude can be challenging. It demands that you spend more time evaluating your company’s culture and the people who work there. However, by doing so, you can gain greater confidence that you’ll hire a candidate that’s the right person for the job and for your company.

If you’d like more help from the hiring experts, let Murray Resources know. As one of the leading recruiting agencies in Houston, TX, companies all over the city rely on our expertise to source and retain top talent for hard-to-fill, key positions across a broad range of business disciplines. Contact us today if you’d like to learn more.


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