Would you rather hire someone who is incredibly good at what they do, but difficult to work with, or someone with average skills but the right attitude?

Your team’s personality plays a large role in how they will interact with one another, how they’ll treat their responsibilities, and how they’ll take care of your clients. In the article Hire for Attitude, Mark Murphy states that in his research, “when new hires failed, 89% of the time it was for attitudinal reasons and only 11% of the time for a lack of skill.”

However, on the other side of the spectrum, another Forbes article, Want Innovation? Hire for Skills, Not Attitude, states that skills trump attitude when it comes to innovation. Attitude won’t be enough when change is needed, and your team is going to need hard and soft skills to fall back on.

So, what should you do as an HR practitioner faced with the choice between an unpleasant, skilled candidate, and a likable unskilled one?

Make sure your candidate can be coached, has at least an average level of emotional intelligence, and has the basic skills needed to do his or her job (they can learn and specialize as they grow with your company).

Option 1. You could filter out candidates based on the traits you value most, and then look at their skills after that. This is a good option for positions that need easily trainable hard skills, and require great soft skills. Customer service is one such field wherein you should pay close attention to attitude, and invest in training.

Option 2. You could filter out candidates by skill level and then evaluate that smaller pool based on attitude. This sequence is great for jobs that don’t require much teamwork, but are highly technical and hard to train for. Programming and graphic design are examples of jobs that don’t require too much customer interface, and are difficult to train.

How do you test for attitude?

Profiles Asia Pacific specializes in employee assessment, and provides a wide range of scientifically-backed tests to help you gauge your employees’ aptitude and attitude. Developed in Texas with years of refinement and fine-tuning, our internationally trusted tests can reveal things like DISC traits, managerial fit, integrity, and more. You can order tests as stand-alone assessments, or combine them with another from our suite of tools. In the interest of convenience, we also offer online testing. Visit our solutions page to learn more.

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About the Author: Jocelyn Pick