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Why attitude trumps experience

Why attitude trumps experience

When it comes to applying for a job, a candidate’s attitude always trumps their level of experience, skills and qualifications for importance. Many candidates don’t realise how critical their attitude is to their job application and chances of getting a role. Whilst experience and the right skills are also an essential part of matching the right candidate to a role, attitude is always top of the list for us. So why is attitude so crucial to job success?

A person’s attitude encompasses their personality, outlook on life, work ethic and how they respond to challenges. These are elements that can’t be taught on the job. You can fill in any gaps in skills and experience with training, but you can’t teach attitude.

A candidate with a good attitude is more likely to strive for improvement, aim to exceed expectations, get along with a wide range of people, show flexibility and possess good teamwork skills. In addition, a positive attitude is contagious, which is a big benefit for any workplace. Similarly, a bad attitude will seep through your company culture and your existing staff will notice it immediately.

Recruiting solely on a candidate’s knowledge and experience without considering their attitude and if they are a good cultural fit is a recipe for failure and risks displacing other staff members. Employers should recruit for cultural fit and ‘coachability’ says Jane Carey, Director at Edge Recruitment.

As a recruiter, how do we distinguish between a good and bad attitude?

  • We observe their reaction when told about the requirements of the potential new role such as their duties, hours of work, any extra time required etc.
  • We ask for examples of past interactions and workplace situations.
  • We ask for instances of negative experiences in previous roles.

Traits of a candidate with a good attitude

  • They show eagerness and interest.
  • They are excited about the role.
  • They have a positive future vision.
  • They are motivated, will look for new challenges and strive for improvement.
  • They show adaptability.

Traits of a candidate with a bad attitude

  • They are overly negative about past workplace situations.
  • They are difficult to extract information from and evasive about details.
  • They don’t show much respect to former colleagues or employers.
  • They may not show much enthusiasm for the job they are going for.
  • They are late, disorganised and not engaged in the job seeking process.

Employing someone with a positive attitude can lift the energy, spirit and enthusiasm of an entire team which is why employers value it so highly. So bring a positive attitude to your next job seeking effort and see the benefits.