Hiring for your business should be attitude over aptitude

Hiring for your business should be attitude over aptitude

A winning attitude, or a natural aptitude to get the job done. When it comes to filling your business' latest position, both A-words are fighting for your attention.

Yes, talent and experience look good on a CV – but could hiring someone with a mindset that aligns with yours take your business further? Here’s our view. 

Building a bridge over the skills gap 

We all have an ideal candidate in mind when we set our job postings live, but we also need to be realistic about which skills are essential and which can be taught.

After all, skills gaps are pretty common today. For instance, the UK as a whole is addressing a data skills gap as technology moves forward, traditional ways of working evolve, and the country continues to rely on innovation.

Leadership skills are another biggie. While some people will bring a natural level of confidence to a management role, lots of managers learn how to support their team on the job.  

Reskilling isn’t a revolutionary concept, with lots of agencies already bridging the skills gaps in their team through development. In fact, 2020 research from McKinsey found that when it comes to closing their skills gaps, many organisations would be more likely to choose skill building than hiring over the following five years.

For agencies, the real power lies in creating a team of people who are proactive, ready to get hands-on, and happy to adapt when the need arises. 

Moulding employees vs. managing their every move 

Remember that a great attitude to work isn’t just about having a great personality. It’s about hiring a team member whose approach to work aligns with yours.

Employees with this attitude can be supported and trained until they have the skills they need to thrive. It sounds cold to call them an investment, but this pretty much sums it up. Employees without this get-go, on the other hand, might not be an investment you want to make. 

Maybe they’re fantastic at content strategy, but the rest of the team doesn’t feel comfortable sharing ideas with them. Perhaps they understand the sales funnel to a T, but they aren’t the kind of person who sends the marketing email or pushes the ad live without a nudge. 

Maybe they’re also the kind of person who doesn’t have what it takes to knuckle down and weather out the storms that come with business life. This can become a real issue, especially when it comes to team morale.

Attitude or aptitude – are your teams bringing their A-game?

Talking of morale, let’s think about attitude vs. aptitude for culture. Yes, culture is one of the many business buzzwords that you’re probably tired of hearing, but it’s important – and there’s more to it than finishing early on Fridays. 

To create a strong team, you want to hire people who are:

  • Friendly to every colleague and client
  • Happy to join forces and work collaboratively
  • Proactive about their learning and development
  •  Motivated to give their best performance
  • Willing to learn from feedback 
  • Driven without ongoing incentives 

Of course, hiring someone with the skills and experience to handle the job’s responsibilities is key. But you also want to make sure they’re a cultural fit who can enhance your work environment and contribute to your business' growth.

In ‘Culture is key to your growth’, we say something that rings true here, too.

“When a team is fully behind a set of values and lives and breathes them, you’ll notice it in the work they produce. The business will naturally grow and become more than the sum of its parts, with positivity breeding positivity.”

Think of your business as a living organism. Without being nurtured by people who care, it’ll struggle to remain healthy – and that’s exactly why building a culture of growth is crucial.

Happy hiring is a job for HR

If your team members have the right attitude, you can create a culture of people who are invested enough to think creatively and disciplined enough to perform well consistently. 

Building this culture all starts with your hiring choices, but how exactly do you strike a good balance between attitude and aptitude? Well, seeking support from an HR team is a solid start.

HR professionals can keep their finger on the pulse of the skills gaps most likely to affect your business, while also making sure there are plenty of learning and development opportunities up for grabs. And, with many of us working from home nowadays, offering work perks that go further than free fruit or 4pm beers is more important than ever.

Our final thoughts  

We’re firm believers that in the attitude vs. aptitude debate, a winning attitude comes out on top. You can shape someone with the right mindset to be a valuable addition to your team, but it’s harder to change someone’s approach or work ethic.

Yes, someone with aptitude can hit the ground running and bring your less experienced team members along with them. But if they don’t believe in your business' services or values, their success won’t be sustainable. And that’s where the problems begin.

On the other hand, you can fill someone’s skills gaps with support and training opportunities. You’ll need to make learning a core part of your business anyway, especially as your services expand, your projects become more exciting, and your ways of working change. 

If extra guidance on creating a high-performance team is what you’re looking for, see what’s included in our Leadership alignment package. You can also drop us a line whenever it’s convenient for you, and we’ll be in touch as soon as possible.

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