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Why You Should Choose Attitude Over Skill When Hiring

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When it comes to hiring, attitude should outweigh skill every time. While certain core skills are required to do specific jobs, if a job applicant does not have a positive attitude and willingness to do the work, what have you got? You’ve simply got someone who will do the bare minimum to get a paycheck. If you want more than that, we recommend you choose attitude over skill when hiring.

Now, we realize it is not uncommon for hiring managers and employers to seek out the most skilled or highly trained applicant when looking to fill an empty position. This is particularly true in the dental and allied health industries. You need people who have certain set skills to do the job at hand. A dental assistant simply does not have the skills necessary to be a dentist. Most PTAs cannot perform all the duties of a Registered Physical Therapist, etc.

While Core Skills Are Necessary, Attitude Makes All the Difference

Let’s say, however, you have two applicants you are considering for a specific position. One has basic skills, a willingness to learn, and a determination to work hard, but he or she maybe lacks a little experience. The other has years of experience, but no real interest in advancing his or her career. To this individual, the job is simply a job. He or she will do it because they have the skills to do so, and it comes with a decent salary. Which applicant do you choose?

The one with the positive attitude, of course. Skill is only half of what you need in an employee. Take a look around your office. You’ll probably find your best employees are those with positive attitudes. It is these individuals who are easy to work with, have good communication skills. and interact well with both patients and fellow staff.

Hire Someone for Their Potential, Train Them to Improve Their Skills

Over the years, opinions have differed on whether a person should be hired for their experience or their potential. Sir Richard Branson stated,

“In my eyes, personality always wins over book smarts. Company knowledge and job-specific skills can be learned, but you can’t train personality.”

You can always train someone to improve their skills. Someone who shows little motivation and lacks the potential for improvement isn’t going to go far. In addition, so-called “hard skills” only do so much. “Soft skills” are what make the difference between a decent employee and a stellar one. According to an article on No-Fail Hiring, a survey of hiring managers revealed new hires fail because,

  • 26% can’t accept feedback
  • 23% are unable to understand and manage emotions
  • 17% lack the necessary motivation to excel
  • 15% have the wrong temperament for the job
  • Only 11% fail due to not having the necessarily technical skills. Core skills and personality are what you want.

Willingness Makes Training a Lot Easier

As any hiring manager or executive knows, willingness makes training a lot easier. Someone who isn’t willing to learn from his or her mistakes will likely wreak havoc. If you have an employee who is willing to learn, adapt to new situations, and help take steps to advance the success of the company, you’ve got a winner.

Being Motivated Is a Sign of Future Success

What is one of the most successful traits of successful individuals? Motivation…and yes, a positive attitude and determination also help. As we stated earlier, based on survey, only 11% of new hires fail due to a lack of technical skill or raw talent. The majority fail because they are unmotivated, unwilling to learn, or have a poor temperament.

Look for those individuals, who not only have the basic skills the position requires but, who have the motivation to succeed personally and as part of your team. The future of your business may depend on it.

Basic Attributes You Want to See in a Potential Employee

Let’s go over some of the basic attributes you, as a hiring manager or executive, will want to see in a potential employee. As long as the individual has the necessary skills/degree required to fill the position, ask questions during the interview process to help determine whether he or she has these basic attributes:

  • Willingness
  • Hard worker
  • Interest in learning
  • Basic team skills
  • Takes initiative
  • Ambitious
  • Ability to adapt to new/different situations
  • Independent thinker
  • Problem-solver
  • Responsible
  • Goal-oriented

Remember, you can teach someone additional skills and experience will be gained over time. Attitude and personality are traits someone either has or doesn’t have. While you may be able to adjust someone’s attitude or see an improvement in personality, it is a lot easier to start with these traits in place.

The People Link is dedicated to helping companies in the Allied Health and Dental fields fill vacant positions by connecting you with qualified healthcare applicants. To learn more about our services, visit The People Link or call Mya directly at 818-890-9998 for a free, no-obligation consultation.

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