Attitude over aptitude

Many HR professionals today prefer to hire for attitude and train for skill

The world has shifted somewhat from a time when all a prospective employee needed to display was his or her experience and academic qualifications. That way, if any new recruit was to perform badly, the recruiter could always counter-argue that the respective employee had all the necessary qualifications on paper and thus avoid the blame.

Today, most modern recruiters have now realised the importance of attitude over skills because skills can be taught while attitude is a lot more difficult to influence.

For this reason, Tswelo Kodisang, CHRO of Tiger Brands, is a strong believer in the principle hiring for attitude and training for skill.

“I would much rather hire a young person and earmark them for senior role in the future because that gives me the opportunity to make sure they are aptly prepared for such a role. I’d much rather take that approach than hire externally and bring in someone who does not understand the culture here,” says Tswelo.

Another reason why it’s better to train for skill is a lack of skills or experience makes the process of training a candidate becomes easier. If you hire people from your competitor or those who have been in the industry for a long time, it is likely they already have a set way of doing things and it will difficult to un-train them and make them adapt to the companies ways. It also makes sense to hire someone who is new to the industry so that they can give you a fresh outlook.

Hiring someone who is somewhat less experienced also allows you more leverage when negotiating his or her salary and, since they lack skills for the job and are looking to build their credentials, they will usually accept the company’s terms and conditions.