Does the saying ‘Hire for attitude, train for skill’ still ring true in recruitment?

Does the saying ‘Hire for attitude, train for skill’ still ring true in recruitment?

The saying ‘hire for attitude, train for skill’ has been a popular mantra in the recruitment world for many years.  It suggests that when it comes to hiring, finding candidates with the right mindset and approach to work is more important than finding talent with specific technical skills.  The concept is that if you hire employees with the right attitude and mindset, they will be able to learn the necessary skills for the role.

On their blog, Fingerprint for Success, cite hiring for attitude as ‘values-based recruitment’, where the focus is primarily on the soft skills and personal attributes that candidates bring.  These are given precedence over performance-based skill sets that they offer.  Credentials and experience are considered secondary factors when determining which applicant will be successful.

Rakesh Sharma, writing for LinkedIn, argues that when evaluating talent, hiring Managers should assess current potential by appraising ‘the skill and knowledge of the talent and when it comes to the future potential one holds, check the attitude of talent.’

So is hiring for attitude and training for skill still relevant in business today?

One of the main benefits of hiring for attitude is that it can lead to a more positive and collaborative work environment.  Employees with a more positive attitude tend to be more motivated, engaged and willing to go the extra mile to help their colleagues and business as a whole.  This, in turn, boosts productivity and leads to better business outcomes.

The ‘train for skill’ part of the equation acknowledges that the skills needed to perform a job can often be taught or learned on the job.  With the rapid pace of technological advancement, many jobs require constantly updating and refining skills, so hiring for technical proficiency can sometimes be counterproductive.  Hiring for attitude can allow companies to identify employees with a willingness to learn and adapt, which is crucial in today’s ever changing business landscape.

One of the main criticisms is that ‘hiring for attitude’ is that it can lead to a lack of diversity in the workforce.  If companies hire for a particular attitude or mindset, they may land with a group of people who approach work in the same way.

Additionally, hiring for attitude can be subjective and prone to bias.  This can lead to inconsistencies in the hiring process and a lack of transparency.

‘Hire for attitude, train for skill’ should be an input into the recruitment process but not the guiding principle.  A well-rounded approach that takes into account technical skills, diversity, attitude, and ‘culture add’ rather than ‘culture fit’ is recommended.

If you’d like to speak to a Specialist about your recruitment strategy, speak to the Recruitment team at Flexi Personnel.