Experience Versus Attitude – Which one wins?

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It’s often said that you can train someone to have a new skill but you can’t change attitude. So does this mean you should always hire the person with the best attitude for the role you have? Unfortunately it isn’t that simple! Experience is often our number one criteria – but this shouldn’t always be the case.

So how can you decide between experience and attitude?

Unfortunately there is no simple answer to this dilemma… however, if you take time to discover the pro’s and con’s of each, you’ll be able to make a more educated decision based on your individual circumstances.

Experience – dependable or tired?

ExperienceWe tend to make assumptions about experienced staff. For example, we assume they won’t need training and can get up to speed quickly. HOWEVER, they may have outdated skills and be set in an old routine of doing things their own way… one that isn’t parallel to the job you are now employing them for and one that may not even be correct or ideal for you.

Experienced staff members know what it takes to get the job done, as well as the timescales and methods involved. If you’re looking to employ an experienced candidate, take the time to check they are happy with what they do – AND are happy to continue doing it or you have the opportunity within your company for them to progress to the next step in their career – otherwise they may not stay with your company for the duration.

Attitude – forward thinking or potential problem?

It can be argued that attitude is what REALLY sets people apart. It makes them stand out from the crowd and shows they are willing to go the extra mile to become expert in their chosen field… giving them a real competitive edge.

AttitudeCandidates with a great attitude often show a huge drive and willingness to deliver and prove themselves. They are open and eager to being trained in how YOU want things done.

However this also leads to the biggest downside too… they often need handholding for a while and will often make mistakes along the way. If you’re looking to recruit a candidate that has a great attitude but no experience, you will have to factor in extra time to reach the solution you need.

Which one wins… you need to decide for yourself!

There will be times where you NEED a highly experienced person for a particular job, especially when working in a high precision or skilled industry. However, in most cases, if you have the opportunity to train a person up… then the person with the drive and something to prove will usually give you some GREAT results.

What are your thoughts about attitude versus experience? Do you automatically look for the person with the most experience… or do you prefer hiring based on attitude? Why not share your opinions in the comments box below.


Images courtesy of Stuart Miles & Renjith Krisnan/


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