Why is “attitude” to often overlooked in favour of experience when hiring?


We hire for experience and fire for attitude. Why not therefore make attitude the basis of our hiring decisions? Clearly experience is the one thing that we can give any candidate coming in to the business. Attitude is one thing that for sure we can’t give them.

All of us at some point are guilty of making experience the basis of our selection decisions. By this I refer typically to who the candidate has worked for or the sector they have been employed in. Whilst I understand the need for having easy ways of pre – screening CV’s I would go so far as to suggest this is lazy. Is it really risk averse to hire someone who understands our industry language, systems and processes, products or services and indeed customers without considering whether they truly fit with the values, culture, vision and strategy of the organisation? .

To make matters worse, us recruiters can be the worst exponents of putting job seekers in to convenient boxes, not least because of the increasingly key words search based recruitment environment in which many now live. This is exacerbated further with the increasing pressure on frontline recruiters in a tough climate to focus on the short term and generate fees based on perceptions of best fit and lowest risk in order that they keep their own jobs.

I genuinely believe employers lose out by making previous experience the basis of the hiring decision. Experience is the one thing as employers we can give the candidate; attitude is the one thing we can’t give them. How often as employers do we hire for experience and fire for attitude? Make attitude, chemistry, fit, the intangibles in the recruitment process the basis for hiring and invest heavily in training, development and employee engagement in order that your key staff are entirely aligned and equipped to meet the key objectives of your business. If you can achieve this the impact on the attraction and retention of people who can transform your business will be greatly enhanced. You may well be losing out on a potential superstar but not opening your minds to those from outside your sector.

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1 Comment

Filed under Hiring

One response to “Why is “attitude” to often overlooked in favour of experience when hiring?

  1. You’re last two blogs have been spot on. I’m currently searching for a job and hit a brick wall with recruitment agencies because I can’t easily be pigeonholed and because they won’t take a risk and send my details to a client if I don’t tick all of the boxes despite the fact that I may have other skills from which the client would benefit. I can’t blame consultants, I used to worked for a recruitment company and know that their own jobs depends on earning fees from clients not helping candidates.

    There is another point, a lot of employers don’t know how to recruit and what to look for in an ideal candidate. They are often guided, or misguided, by poorly trained recruitment consultants who don’t understand the clients industry or role being recruited. The result is generic recruitment agency generated role profiles for each job type which help recruitment consultants meet their fee targets and leave clients and candidates short changed.

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