Jul 3, 2008

Hiring People: Choosing between skills and attitude.

Hiring the right IT worker is one of the most critical job an IT manager faces on a regular basis. In most cases, we look into the candidate's skill sets first to see if it fits our requirements, followed by work experience and lastly, the character or attitude. When I started out as a new IT manager, I obviously wanted to hire the best people so, I dug deep and looked very closely into their skills and work experience. The more skillful and experienced a candidate become, the more likely he gets hired. Attitude is often times overlooked.

This method of qualifying a candidate has been a wide practice among many companies (mine included) over a long period and noticeably, it coincided with my also long unsuccessful stint of selecting a potential candidate. After several years of interviewing a vast mix of candidates and hiring experience, I finally came up with a conclusion that there are only two types of candidates: 1) Candidates that have skills and 2) Candidates that have the right attitude.

Candidates that have skills - These come in moderate abundance and competition is very rigid. They are usually the more confident types and more expensive ones as well. They are very employable and understandably so, you would most likely hire them on your team. We tend think that these are the people that can get the job done every time .

Candidates that have attitude
– These come very few and often times overlooked by many employers. These candidates have somewhat 'weak' skills but have the right attitude towards work. They are dedicated, humble, excited and very willing to learn new things.

As a CTO, I have always hired countless candidates with high skills and experience so I can comfortably fall back to my usual task and let the new guy handle the job. Despite the high pay and benefits, I always end up losing them due to varied attitude problems. Luckily for me, I had the opportunity to experiment on hiring the second type of candidate – the ones with attitude.

The second type of candidate takes me out of my comfort zone to train and nurture . They are always willing to accept new challenges and finds fun in solving them. Learning is their way of life and are always excited to learn new things. This type of individual struck me at first for I haven't had that type of staff before – very enthusiastic, personable and certainly dedicated. This candidate will surely go along way.

In conclusion, skills are short-term and can easily fade in time. No one gets remembered for long on skills alone but attitude does. Skill is something that can be trained, learned and developed. Attitude isn't. Attitude on the other hand is molded by an individual's social experiences and outlook. Attitude has more value that a ton of gold. So when hiring a new set of people, dare to look and hire the second candidate. You will be surely amazed at what he can do for you can for your

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