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  • Writer's pictureJon Mechan

Hire for Attitude, Train for Skill

A wise man once told me, "Hire for Attitude, Train for Skill".

It has stuck with me ever since.

When you're looking at recruiting for your team, do you want the rockstar asshole that produces really good work, but leaves a trail of destruction in their wake? Or do you want someone that has the best interests of the business in mind, but maybe takes a little longer to get up to speed?

I would rather have someone in my organization who is a great team player, works well with others, has an eye on the bigger picture, and is passionate about the company's mission, any day of the week.

I believe that someone with the right attitude can be trained up to close any skill gaps much more easily than trying to make someone passionate who isn't.

A note on diversity and inclusion

Every tech organization I've worked in has been predominantly straight, white, and male. There are many reasons for that and I'm not going into it in this article. However, I would consider whether your hiring practices encourage a more diverse range of candidates or perpetuate the cycle.

It is well known that women, for example, apply for roles where they feel that they meet 100% of the job description, whereas men will apply anywhere from 60% on up. Do your job adverts allow for this?

(Yes I know this is a broad over-simplification and there isn't a ton of research on this, but the point I feel is still valid.)

Is your company actively working towards a more diverse workforce or do they just rainbow colour their logo during pride month? This is something candidates look for when applying.

Do you, as a leader, encourage diverse viewpoints in your team?

A diverse candidate may have a different technical skillset or background, but if they're passionate and bring a different viewpoint to your team, you may end up more successful than if you hired the rockstar asshole who aced your technical test during the interview process.

So think about it - could you hire for attitude, and train for skill...?

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