Skills Vs. Attitude – What’s More Important?

By Alice Murray

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In an ideal world, employers will want to hire a candidate that encompasses the perfect balance of attitude and skills – but which is more valuable?

First of all, having the right skillset is vital; if you apply for jobs, or you’re after a contract that requires specific qualities, you need to have the necessary skills to be in with a shot.

Particularly if you’re a contractor, skills can be seen as more of an importance than attitude because you’re often working alone. Working on a project independently generally means that your attitude doesn’t come into the equation much – it’s all about your techniques.

However, if you’re working within a team of people, it’s essential to have a decent range of social skills and the right attitude – so in some ways, the two come hand in hand.

When people have the right attitude they are both motivated and adaptable which makes them more open to learning new skills.

With enough effort and a healthy approach to work, new skills are more likely to be mastered faster.

Improving your attitude is much more complex than improving your skills. Trying to change who you are as a person is like asking a leopard to change its spots. It is often about changing genuine behaviours and personality traits that you’ve grown into over the course of your life. This is hard to alter because people have to want to change; and without the right attitude this is unlikely to happen.

More often than not, employers will be attracted to attitude as opposed to your qualifications on paper. You could have the best aptitude out of every potential candidate; but if your attitude stinks, you’re likely to be shown the door.

When people do have the wrong attitude, getting them to fit into a business or a company can be like trying to squeeze a square peg into a round hole. They will simply clash with the culture of the company and possibly disrupt the teamwork, which in turn will only cause unrest and overall performance – so it becomes a bit of a vicious circle.

Companies and clients will want to hire the person who fits in with their cultural values and their environment. It’s no good going into work every day and being miserable or dissatisfied with the job; because you don’t want to start resenting your craft.

The most crucial element of a good attitude is being able to overcome the inevitable obstacles that we all face in our working lives. Everyone commonly faces challenges and difficulties; but how you deal with those issues is one of the best ways to prove yourself as a worthy employee or contractor.

In these instances, attributes such as determination, tenacity and resilience have to take centre stage, whilst skills are more of a supporting role. Having the right skills but lacking the will to use them isn’t going to help you to achieve maximum success.

With this in mind, it’s not unusual for employers and recruiters to value your attitude over your skills. Both are extremely important in helping you land the perfect job; but the majority of companies will agree that the way you represent and compose yourself is much more telling of your character than your skillset is.

Finding someone who culturally fits into a company is not easy; but at Uniting Ambition it is seen as a priority. It’s all about finding a good balance between skills, attitude and culture fit. If you’re looking for your next opportunity or your next contract, Uniting Ambition can help you in a variety of ways.


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