What "Hire for attitude, train for skills"​ really mean (2023)

The most successful companies seem to have a similar mindset when it comes to attracting the most talented individuals.

They believe

"Hire for attitude, train for skills"

They know that people who have the right attitude are invaluable to a growing company. On the other hand, they don't forget to look after "their people" so to speak by offering training, coaching, mentoring etc to help bring the best out of their employees.

Attitude is closely related to one's personality, their relationship to their career / personal development, and their expectations from a work environment.

So the question all hiring managers could first ask themselves is this:

What is their own / their company's attitude towards their employees? This should include offers as well as expectations.

Only then could the question be asked:

What sort of attitude the company should look for during the hiring process?

And when it comes to "training for skills":

What skills does the right candidate need to learn to be successful in their job? Is the company ready to provide that sort of training? How long does it take for those skills to be learnt?

What has this all got to do with organisational culture?

The “hire for attitude, train for skills” motto only makes sense if there is already a robust organisational culture in place, one that supports the growth of individuals through their natural talent.

Obviously, a very technical job would definitely require the essential skill-set, however, expectations must always be realistic. For instance, if ten essential skills are required for a technical position to be filled, one would need to prioritise those skills in order of importance. If a candidate scores well for all the skills on the top of the priority list, but they are keen to learn the rest, it would be worth to invest resources to train the candidate developing the rest of the skills.

The right skills are just as important as the right attitude. The only difference is that skills can be learnt through inner motivation, however, motivation cannot be learnt. Or more precisely: you cannot motivate someone to be motivated if they haven't got the inner motivation to be motivated through their own mindset first.

Therefore, if there is already a pre-defined expectation for one’s attitude who aims to join the organisation, that would suggest that the company / the representatives of the company have already set out and agreed upon their organisational standards against which they screen candidates. These standards and values are hopefully the ones that existing leaders, managers and employees already follow.

Such as:

1.What is the expected behaviour of managers / leaders / and team members within the organisation?

2.How managers / leaders / representatives of the organisation should respond to challenges? Do they lead by example to show expected behaviour for the rest of the employees?

3.What are the incentives within the organisation that motivate people to “be more” for their own benefits and the development of the organisation?

4.What are the rewards for those who share the values of the organisation and do their job to the best of their abilities?

There must be a “shared attitude” within the leadership that pre-defines the expected attitude from others.

Therefore a candidate’s “right attitude” towards the organisation would be the one that meets the expectations of the organisation: the leadership’s attitude towards the candidate.

How to assess attitude?

When examining the “right attitude” a range of methodologies can be put in place during the talent acquisition process such as:

1.Screening: emotional intelligence

This is closely related to personality and self-awareness. The most successful companies are aware that EQ is just as important as IQ, especially in a managerial role. One’s understanding of their own, and others’ emotions and feelings are therefore essential.

TIP: remember! We always think it’s about what we think but it never really is. Most often it’s our feelings that determine what we think. In other words: the number one component of one’s attitude is always their emotions and feelings. And that is “normal” human nature.

Through emotional intelligence related questions, such as “How do you feel when someone criticises your work?” or “What personal or professional mistakes have you learnt the most from?” companies are able to screen how a candidate is likely to react to conflict; are they mature enough to be aware of and deal with their own emotions and feelings; and what their personality is like.

Consequently: does their EQ meet the expectations of pre-defined organisational values? And: are there expectations of EQ already in place within the organisation?

2.Investigating: Past, present and future

This can be done through the usual way of assessing a candidate; such as their CV, their networking, or their references. The more general interview questions also aim to dig into this area such as short and long term career goals, etc.

Good questions could be “What do you think are the most and least rewarding aspects of this role?” or “How do you chose which companies or roles to apply to?”.

And my personal favourite:

Please describe your ideal job and company to work for / with.

The above information will help determine what the individual’s conscious beliefs and opinions are.

TIP: beliefs and opinions are also closely related to one’s self-awareness. If a person has strong beliefs and opinions it tends to be because these are based on life-experiences. What organisations should always examine: how aware is this person of their emotions and thoughts? For instance: it’s ok if someone says that they get upset when someone criticizes them. In fact it just means that they are self-aware. How they actually deal with the situation matters the most, since we can only change things we are aware of. At the same time: have they been making a conscious decision when applying for this current job? What was their motivation? What is their reasoning? What do they believe they can offer and what do they think is the most significant benefits of the role for them?

3.Understanding: personal preferences.

This area is closely related to inner drive and motivation, but a person’s general attitude to their life as well.

Screening so-called life-skills could be extremely beneficial for more senior roles.

Personal preferences tell a lot about one’s character, their tendencies to be active or passive, deal with issues, etc.

This aspect also highlights one’s deeper understanding of their profession, industry, or role. Managerial style and conflict resolution techniques can also be examined.

TIP: When a company wants to have a better view of one’s “inclination for action” what they in fact are looking into is: understanding what motivates them; how they are likely to act in a certain situation; what their natural tendencies are; what their ideals are for the correct action. Therefore, the most interesting characteristics of one’s personality comes through when looking at what they do when they are not at work. What are their hobbies, what do they prefer to do in their free time, how do they deal with challenges life throws at them?

When it comes to the workplace, questions such as “If you were our CEO, what’s the first thing you would do?” and “If you get this job, what do you hope to accomplish in your first week/month/year?” or “Where do you think our company/your role/this industry will be in five years?” tells the whole story about one’s personal preferences and inner motivation, as well as a deeper understanding of their profession.

4.Testing: presence of mind

How a person tends to react to situations, what they tend to avoid or prefer to be part of.

Situational and behavioural interview questions often focus on screening one’s reaction to stimuli, such as positive and negative situations.

Often there are no right or wrong answers to these situations, but mostly investigating how the candidate works their way through a given difficulty.

For instance, giving a situation like this:

You identify a major risk within your team and you alert your line manager to it. You and your line manager are in different opinions about the right course of action in this situation. You think the risk is there and must be dealt with immediately, but your line manager thinks it’s not a risk at all, but your misunderstanding of the situation. What would you do next?

Through this situation exercise many things can be screened such as:

1.Sense of responsibility

2.Response to a negative situation

3.Confidence and individuality

4.Communication and diplomatic skills

5.Resilience and the ability to deal with stress

TIP: organisations should pick their “punishment” and “reward” mechanisms wisely. For instance, if someone is punished for speaking their truth, even if it does not meet the truth of the leadership, the person should at least be rewarded for taking individual action. It often means the person has “internalised” their role, meaning they carry it out in a responsible manner. If this is then punished, the person will respond in a natural way: a disinterest in their role, detaching from responsibility, loosing motivation, etc.

All in all: attitude says a lot about an individual, as well as an organisation’s leadership.

That is why the most successful companies “Hire for attitude and train for skills.”


What does hire for attitude train for skill mean? ›

Hiring for attitude allows you to recruit for company value fit, mold candidates into the positions that are most needed, and train them for the required skills as needs are identified.

Should you hire for skills or attitude? ›

Research shows that employees whom you hire for cultural fit may last longer at your business. Here's how — and why — to act on this information. Research suggests that an employee's attitude, rather than their skill set, is the strongest indication of whether they'll succeed at your company.

What does hire for attitude mean? ›

What is hiring for attitude? Hiring for attitude means hiring people for who they are, what is their mindset, how they feel and think about things.

How do you hire based on attitude? ›

Five Steps to Hiring for Attitude
  1. Be Clear About Expectations. ...
  2. Be Proactive. ...
  3. Focus on the Person Behind the Paper. ...
  4. Observe Applicants When They Think No One Is Watching. ...
  5. Enlist Today's Stars to Spot Tomorrow's Standouts.

What is an example of attitude training? ›

Some examples of direct attitudinal training are to: Encourage employees to participate in a wellness program. Promote the of use conflict resolution techniques in the workplace. Adopt a positive attitude when providing customer service.

What does train for skill mean? ›

What is skills training? Skills training refers to an employer-provided program that teaches or develops proficiencies for the workplace. The aim of skills training is to equip employees with the knowledge and attributes necessary to carry out their duties at the optimal level.

Which is better skills or attitude? ›

Attitude Can't Be Taught But Skills Can

By contrast, the wrong attitude (indifference, negativity, resistance to change and pessimism, for example), is much more difficult to change because the person has to want to change: something that won't happen without the right attitude!

Why attitude is better than skills? ›

In summary, attitude is more important than skill in many ways, especially in the workplace. A positive attitude can inspire and motivate others, boost performance, and create a healthy work environment. Conversely, a negative attitude can quickly spread and lead to toxicity and poor performance.

Why skill based hiring is better? ›

A skills-based approach to hiring and promotion can help remove barriers for candidates that might not have access to traditional degrees, and widen the talent pool so you can find the best match for your open position.

What does attitude mean in interview? ›

This means that it relates to how you feel about yourself and your abilities in the workplace. Your attitude is the way you think and feel about things, and how you act on those thoughts and feelings.

What is an example of job attitude? ›

He has a positive feeling about his job. This means the person is satisfied with the facilities his job provides such as salary, incentives, bonuses, and other benefits. This is the state in which an individual says to you, I really like my job, which means he is expressing a positive attitude toward his job.

Who said hire for attitude train for skill? ›

You don't hire for skills, you hire for attitude. You can always teach skills. – Simon Sinek.

What makes a good attitude at work? ›

In the workplace, someone with a positive working attitude will bring an optimistic, can-do approach to all of their tasks and responsibilities. They will motivate the people around them to do their best and help to move projects forwards when setbacks occur or challenges are faced.

Why is attitude important? ›

Your attitude has a direct impact on how you communicate and collaborate with others, how you contribute to the culture of your work environment, and how you perform your daily tasks and responsibilities. Ultimately, your attitude shapes your success and your happiness.

What are the three job attitudes? ›

Much of the research has looked at three attitudes: job satisfaction, job involvement, and organizational commitment.

What are 4 examples of positive attitude? ›

Being happy even when you have little. Having a good time even when you are losing. Being happy for someone else's success. Having a positive future vision, no matter how bad your current circumstances.

What is positive attitude training? ›

Positivity training for employees helps them manage their stress and improves mental health and performance. Positive psychology studies how people can live a more meaningful and fulfilling life than one that is empty and unfulfilling.

How do you train your skills? ›

How to learn new skills quickly
  1. Set your learning goal. ...
  2. Break down your skill set. ...
  3. Identify potential barriers. ...
  4. Apply the "80/20" rule. ...
  5. Focus on one skill at a time. ...
  6. Prioritize personal development. ...
  7. Set more long-term goals. ...
  8. Find opportunities to practice.
Mar 10, 2023

What is an example of skills based training? ›

In a skills-based program, you learn how to apply your knowledge to a task. One way to think of it is that a skills-based program offers you plenty of opportunities to practice performing a job. You might get to work directly with patients, learn to drive a forklift, or code programs on a computer.

How can I improve my attitude skills? ›

Developing a Positive Attitude
  1. Listen to your internal dialogue. When faced with a negative thought, turn it around to make it into a positive thought. ...
  2. Interact within positive environments and with positive people. ...
  3. Volunteer. ...
  4. Get pleasure out of the simple things in life. ...
  5. Permit yourself to be loved.

Is attitude the key to success? ›

As you review your approach to your life and job, you realize that a positive attitude not only influences your successes; it is a powerful factor in avoiding burnout and keeping your skills up to date. A positive attitude creates the climate for success and sets the stage for potential winners to actually win.

What is attitude skill knowledge? ›

Attitude, Skill and Knowledge are important components which makes a successful personality. Skill and knowledge are something which can always be learnt in classrooms but attitude is something which is within and needs to be developed by an individual himself/herself.

What are 4 benefits of positive attitude? ›

The health benefits of positive thinking
  • Increased life span.
  • Lower rates of depression.
  • Lower levels of distress and pain.
  • Greater resistance to illnesses.
  • Better psychological and physical well-being.
  • Better cardiovascular health and reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease and stroke.

Is having a good attitude a skill? ›

A positive attitude is something every employer looks for! It's a self-belief skill, and showing employers your great attitude doesn't start in the interview room. You can use your CV to show off your positive attitude to your potential new boss, too.

Which is more important attitude or talent? ›

Talent may get you to the door, but attitude is what gets you in. A positive mindset makes it easier to overcome problems and disappointments, but a negative attitude makes it easier to give up.

What is a skill example? ›

Problem-solving skills: creativity, critical thinking, and analytical skills. Customer-service skills: active listening, time management, and prioritization. Interpersonal skills: communication, teamwork, and empathy. Leadership skills: decision making, stress management, and organization.

What companies use skills-based hiring? ›

Companies such as Google, IBM and Walmart have been praised for instituting skills-based hiring practices. Meanwhile, the governors of Alaska, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Utah have eliminated college degree requirements for many jobs in their states' governments.

What does skill based mean? ›

Skill-based learning is an approach to education that emphasises developing practical skills and competencies that apply to real-world situations rather than just acquiring knowledge.

Why is attitude important in hiring? ›

Companies that recruit employees with positive attitudes improve the efficiency of their communications, and achieve better teamwork and faster growth. Employees with a positive attitude of engagement and dedication contribute to high levels of effort even though they are not most skilled and experienced.

Why is attitude important in a job? ›

Attitudes help to develop the prevailing workplace environment that determines employee morale, productivity and team building abilities. A negative attitude in the workplace creates an atmosphere of distrust among employees and causes employees to attempt to achieve success at the expense of each other.

How important is attitude in a job interview? ›

Your attitude is a key element for a successful interview. Attitude is a special element that can set a person apart and will help interviewers decide among candidates. You probably realize that you're not the only candidate and there are other entry-level applicants who can also perform the job.

What are 5 positive attitudes? ›

5 examples of positive attitudes
  • Changing your perspective. Your perspective has a powerful influence on your life and happiness. ...
  • Smiling and being kind to others. ...
  • Practicing self-compassion. ...
  • Not taking things personally. ...
  • Being happy for others' success.
Nov 8, 2021

What is the most important job attitude? ›

These are job satisfaction and organizational commitment. Job satisfaction refers to the feelings people have toward their job. If the number of studies conducted on job satisfaction is an indicator, job satisfaction is probably the most important job attitude.

Can skills be trained but not attitude quotes? ›

Skills can be learnt, attitudes cannot, success depends on right attitude.

Can skills be learned but attitude Cannot? ›

While natural talent can't be taught, neither can attitude. Candidates with innate talent who do not apply it will not progress or perform to the best of their ability. On the other hand, a candidate with a great attitude will be more inclined to coomit to learning new skills.

What is the quote Steve Jobs hire people? ›

It doesn't make sense to hire smart people and then tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.” – Steve Jobs.

What are the five main purposes of attitudes? ›

(1956) conceptualized similar attitude functions: utilitarian, social-adjustive, value-expressive, ego-defensive, and knowledge.

What is a powerful attitude? ›

An attitude that will empower you, not destroy you. An attitude that will favorably help you navigate the waves of life and that will also help you relate to others more effectively. Of course, you will not always have a positive attitude, that is simply not feasible for any human being.

What is positive attitude in simple words? ›

Having a positive attitude means being optimistic about situations, interactions, and yourself. People with positive attitudes remain hopeful and see the best even in difficult situations.

What are the two types of work attitudes? ›

Attitude in the workplace refers to the feelings and beliefs concerning the workplace. The 3 types of attitude are cognitive, conative, and affective.

What is attitude related to work? ›

Similarly, work attitude refers to how an individual feels about his work and shows his commitment towards it. Attitudes are a way of thinking, and they shape how we relate to the world, both at work and outside of work. An attitude denotes our opinions, beliefs, and feelings about various aspects of our environment.

What are the two types of attitudes? ›

Attitudes can be positive or negative. Explicit attitudes are conscious beliefs that can guide decisions and behavior. Implicit attitudes are unconscious beliefs that can still influence decisions and behavior.

What is attitude skills? ›

Attitude is the way of behaving, based on our inner motivations, personal values and aims. Skills are the activities/capabilities we are able to do/deliver, what we learnt during our professional career.”

What does it mean attitude is better than skills? ›

In summary, attitude is more important than skill in many ways, especially in the workplace. A positive attitude can inspire and motivate others, boost performance, and create a healthy work environment. Conversely, a negative attitude can quickly spread and lead to toxicity and poor performance.

What is more important attitude or skill towards work? ›

Having a good attitude is more important than possessing all the skills for a job you may be seeking. Skills can be taught in training, both on the job and in classroom environments.

What does it mean to hire skills? ›

Skills-based hiring refers to the practice of employers setting specific skill or competency requirements or targets. Skills and competencies may be cognitive (such as mathematics or reading) or other professional skills, often commonly called "soft" skills (such as "drive for results" or customer service).

What are attitudes examples? ›

Attitudes can include up to three components: cognitive, emotional, and behavioral. Example: Jane believes that smoking is unhealthy, feels disgusted when people smoke around her, and avoids being in situations where people smoke.

What are the 5 attitudes? ›

“The Five Hazardous Attitudes” are the source of most on-the-job incidents during elevated construction. These attitudes, Anti-Authority, Impulsivity, Invulnerability, Macho, & Resignation, often lead to poor judgment and risk assessment.

What kind of skill is positive attitude? ›

A positive attitude is something every employer looks for! It's a self-belief skill, and showing employers your great attitude doesn't start in the interview room. You can use your CV to show off your positive attitude to your potential new boss, too.

What are two qualities of strong attitudes? ›

Strong attitudes have four features: They are resistant to change, stable over time, influential on cognition, and influential on action (Krosnick & Petty 1995).

Is skills or attitude key to success? ›

Attitude is the key to success, and it's the most important thing people look for in someone. Your attitude can determine your success in life, impact your relationships, and be an indicator of your potential for growth and development. Developing a positive attitude takes practice and effort, but it's worth it.

What are 3 attitudes towards work? ›

A person can have thousands of attitudes, but within the sphere of organizational behavior, researchers focus their attention on three types of work-related attitudes. They include job satisfaction, job involvement, and organizational commitment.

What is more important skills or personality? ›

While skills are essential when hiring a candidate, the type of personality can determine whether an individual will succeed in their job or not. Attitude is cited to be the foundation enabling a person to develop and perform skills.

Why should we hire you what skills do you have? ›

“I should be hired for this role because of my relevant skills, experience, and passion for the industry. I've researched the company and can add value to its growth. My positive attitude, work ethics, and long-term goals align with the job requirements, making me a committed and valuable asset to the company.”

What qualities should we hire? ›

When it comes to choosing between two applicants with similar skills and work experience, the employer will always go for the one who's more motivated, sociable, and able to fit in with the company culture. So, talking about your passions and motivations can take you a long way!

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