Skill vs. Attitude: What Makes the Best Candidate?

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In Mark Murphy’s book “Hiring for Attitude,” he says that 46% of newly hired employees will fail within 18 months, attributed mainly to non-technical or non-skill related items. While it is certainly true that most employees are fired for non-skill related items, this does not prove that attitude is more important than skill or other Candidate Metrics; rather, that attitude should be looked at as equal to the rest of the candidate’s attributes. The truth of the matter is that we often hire for skill, and most often fire for attitude, but what about the important attributes in between? We should be hiring for four Core Candidate Metrics: Skills, Competency, Culture and Attitude.

Published in: Business, Technology

Skill vs. Attitude: What Makes the Best Candidate?

  1. 1. What Makes the BestCandidate?Steve LowiszAuthor, Educator, International SpeakerPresented By:Webinar Series Sponsored By:March 13th 2013
  2. 2. Review the primary reasonsemployees fail and eventually get firedLearn the 4 key dimensions of everycandidate and employee –What arethe building blocks of the candidate’sDNA?Understand the flaws with commonrecruiting/interviewing practicesLearn how to improve the questionsyou ask that will increase the odds oflong-term successIn thisWebinarYou will…
  3. 3. Is Attitude moreImportant thanSkill?
  4. 4. Mark Murphy’s “Hiring for Attitude”:States 46% of newly hired employees will fail within 18 months,attributed to non-technical or non-skill related items.• Coachability• Emotional Intelligence• Motivation• Temperament• Technical CompetenceSkillVs. Attitude89%11%
  5. 5. Example: “Rudy”• Did he posses the rightattitude, focus, dedication?• Did he posses the rightskills?• Did he posses the rightabilities?• Was he considered an “A”player?Attitude did not take theplace of skill and ability.SkillVs. Attitude –TheTest
  6. 6. Why are most employees fired for attitude?Because we focus on skills!Think about position intake sessions with your hiringmanager – what is the focus?3-5 or more “required” skills• 3 years of sales experience• 2 years managing sales reps• Proven experience exceeding quotaSkillVs. Attitude
  7. 7. Reality:• Most recruiters focus on a candidate’s experience -skills• Most recruiting processes drive transactionalbehavior – “Let me know what you think of thisresume”• Most recruiting processes/interviews do not focuson a complete understanding of an individual’smultiple dimensionsSkillVs. Attitude
  8. 8. • Skills/Experience• Attitude• Competency• Culture FitThe 4 Dimensions
  9. 9. The 4 Dimensions Defined• Skills/Experience – Does thecandidate have the training/educationto do the job?• Attitude – Has the candidate shownthey want to do the job?• Competency - Does the candidatehave the ability/behaviors to do thejob? (Rudy)• Culture Fit – Does the candidate dothe job the way the company does orwants to?
  10. 10. Skill determines fit for thefunctionCompetency determines fit forthe jobAttitude determines fit for thecareerCulture determines fit for thecompanyCompetency andcultureSkill & Attitude MUSTbe matched withCompetency & Culture
  11. 11. The purpose and importance of askingthe right questionsEffective candidate interviews must…Account for Skill, Attitude, Competency and CultureBe consistent in what they measure and who ismeasuringBe thorough – not just a focus on technical skillsof roleHave an associated answer guide
  12. 12. Why do so many Recruiters and Hiring Managersmiss the mark?Skill, Attitude, Competency and Culturemake up a candidate’s “DNA”Candidate selection should only occur afterfully understanding each of these attributesInterviewing techniques are supposed tohighlight “soft skills”, but fall short inreal applicationMost Recruiters are conditioned to focus on skill onlyThe purpose and importance of askingthe right questions
  13. 13. So what are you looking for?• Can you identify the 3-5 must have skills of the role? (Not years ofexperience!)• Skills Example: Presentation Through reading books, taking classes and practicing, it is possible to learn how to giveeffective presentations. Presentation skills are more easily absorbed by some peoplethan by others, but a presentation is still a task one can learn how to perform.Presentation skills may be part of a larger competency such as communication.• Can you identify the most important competencies/behaviors to besuccessful in the role?• Competency Example: Communication Many people refer to their strong communication skills, but communication is really acompetency that relies on a combination of certain skills, behavior and knowledge.Tocommunicate effectively, for example, a person may need to understand culturaldiversity and behave with patience.The purpose and importance of askingthe right questions
  14. 14. SoWhat areYou Looking For?• What are the top 3-5 specific attitudes you are looking for?• What are the prevalent attitudes of your top performers? Bottom?• Attitudes are most commonly position-specificGood Attitudes: Poor Attitudes:Caring? CondescendingPersistent? PlacatingObjective? Overwhelming• What are the key cultural aspects/values of the organization?• What are your company’s core values?• Bank – vs. – Google• Open to change, speed to execution, etc.The purpose and importance of askingthe right questions
  15. 15. SoWhat DoYou Ask?Skill and Competencies are usually asked together:• Ask the candidate what they accomplished• Ask the candidate how they accomplished itAttitude and Culture are usually asked together:• Ask the candidate how they handled a situation• Ask the candidate why they handled a situation that wayThe purpose and importance of askingthe right questions
  16. 16. Steps to identifying ideal attitudes of candidates1. Identify the Key Attitude2. Identify differential situation – pro/con3. Ask the question4. Leave it hangingThe purpose and importance of askingthe right questions
  17. 17. Steps to identifying ideal attitudes of candidates1. Identify the Key Attitude• Self-Directed2. Identify differential situation – pro/con• High performers – proactively acquired newskills• Low performers – Often throw their hands up,resist, and complainThe purpose and importance of askingthe right questions
  18. 18. Steps to identifying ideal attitudes of candidates3. Ask the question• Could you tell me about a time you lacked the skillsor knowledge to complete an assignment?4. Let it hang• Could you tell me about a time you lacked the skillsor knowledge to complete an assignment, and howyou overcame it? NO!The purpose and importance of askingthe right questions
  19. 19. • Gaining full insight improves Candidate’slikelihood of long-term success•Thorough assessment of Skill,Competency,Culture, and Attitude will save time andresources in the long-run, increase RIO• Make sure you understand the requiredattitude and company core values•When interviewing candidates, keepconsistency across all interviewers - what arethe skills, competencies and attitudes you areseeking?Recruiter of the past:more HR and a lot moretransactionalThe important of looking atSkill, Attitude, Competency,& Culture evenly every timeThe Balancing Act
  20. 20. Questions?
  21. 21. What Makes the BestCandidate?Measuring Skill, Attitude,Competency, and CultureSteve LowiszAuthor, Educator, & International SpeakerPresented By:Webinar Series Sponsored By:March 13th 2013

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