Attitude vs. Aptitude: What’s More Important?

Attitude vs Aptitude What is More Important

This is a guest post from Sarah Smith.

In many areas of today’s economy, numerous jobs go unfilled due to a lack of people with the proper qualifications. However, as this dilemma continues, more and more employers are starting to re-examine the typical business thinking that aptitude must always take the lead over attitude when it comes to new hires.

As Human Resource managers everywhere start to take a second look at typical hiring practices and begin to implement policies that put a greater emphasis on attitude, some supervisors and other management personnel still hesitate to adopt the belief that attitude carries more weight than aptitude.

Despite the growing debate, it appears attitude is slowly but surely moving its way to the front of the hiring line.

Employment Aptitude Tests

While tests such as these have been around for generations, fewer employers today rely on them when making hiring decisions. Instead, employers are much more interested in getting to know their employees and having them be excellent communicators with a wide variety of people.

While technical skills can be taught to new employees, having the right attitude cannot. Therefore, when employers find employees who may have great attitudes but not as much aptitude, they instead rely on such measures as online training and assessment courses to determine just how much they will need to teach the employee in order for the person to be considered competent within that field.

Training, especially in technical fields, will always be an expensive and time-consuming experience for employers, and so it’s vital that only those people who exhibit the right attitude be hired.

Communications and Business Acumen

In addition to hiring employees who have the ability to learn technical skills in a timely fashion, employers also look for people who have excellent communications skills as well as a certain amount of business acumen.

Looking for traits that would make one coachable is a vital key to the success of hiring attitude over aptitude, with most employers believing that the majority of people exhibiting these traits would be ones who would become good employees once taught the necessary skills.

However, because the line between attitude and aptitude is so very thin, some employers worry that these potential employees would not be good long-term prospects due to a lack of interest in the job. They argue that even though the person may exhibit desirable traits, if they don’t already possess the specific skills required for the job then that could indicate a lack of interest in that field of work.

So Which Is More Important?

Naturally, the question of attitude versus aptitude is not an easy one to answer. Different employers will have varying outlooks on the issue, so it ultimately rests with each individual hiring manager as to what is more important to them. However, as today’s economy demands having a workforce that exhibits a combination of technical skills and the ability to communicate well with others both verbally and in writing, it is becoming more accepted to hire those who are deemed to be coachable in both areas.

While always nice to have an employee who already possesses the skills needed to step into a job and pass a personnel performance evaluation, more employers are realizing those possessing a degree from the school of hard knocks have plenty to offer their companies as well.

Sarah is a small business owner, and is currently learning about marketing, using the internet. Aside from working on her own business, she likes to use social media, and read travel books.

The Gift of Giving

The Gift of Giving

Merry Christmas to you, dear reader!

This is a special time of year when people give gifts and send messages of happiness, peace and good will to family and friends.

Christmas is a unique and valuable tradition because the practice of gift giving reminds us what life is all about.

As social animals, our identity, survival and prosperity depends on being part of groups. And by giving gifts at Christmas to the people we care about we help to build the social bonds and positive relationships which give meaning and value to our lives.

This is a positive idea that we can reflect on throughout the year.

May you have a happy and prosperous year ahead!

(Image Source: Flickr)

Fixed Thinking

Many people are afraid to fail.

Terrified of flunking a test, getting fired, having their heart broken, or being laughed at.

Loss is painful, yes, it truly can be.

The problem with this way of experiencing life, though, is that it represents fixed thinking. A belief that things can stay the same and a desire to preserve the way things were.

There is an alternative.

You can look up at the stars and appreciate the abundance of space.

You can reflect on the passing of the seasons and accept that change is constant.

You can be curious about life and cultivate a openness to new ideas and experiences.

You can have heroes and role models who remind you that, if you dare to dream big, success is possible.

You can bear with life’s changing tides and be open to new opportunities to learn, contribute and grow.

After The Interview

After The Interview

(Source: Flickr)

We have talked at length all year about consulting interviews, and in this post we provide three (3) thoughts on what to do after the interview comes to an end.

  1. Confirming the next step: To find out about the next step in the recruitment process, talk to the recruitment manager (this will probably be someone other than your interviewers).
  2. Thank you email: It is a nice courtesy to send a short thank you email to your interviewer the day after your interview. The note should thank the interviewer for her time, remind her of a few key points that you discussed, and state again why you are genuinely interested in working with the firm.
  3. Following up: If the date on which you expected to hear back from the firm has passed, then feel free to call the recruitment manager to follow up on the status of your application.

[For more information on consulting interviews, please download “The HUB’s Guide to Consulting Interviews“.]

Pen vs Sword

Pen vs Sword

(Source: Flickr)

Most people are familiar with the expression “the pen is mightier than the sword”, but where does it come from?

According to the BBC, the expression first appeared in Edward Bulwer-Lytton’s 1839 play Cardinal Richelieu.

This may have been the first usage in English, but Bulwer-Lytton appears to have borrowed from a longer tradition.

Napoleon Bonaparte, known more for his military conquests than his thinking, is known to have remarked that “four hostile newspapers are more to be feared than a thousand bayonets.”

The Prophet Muhammad has been quoted as saying “the ink of the scholar is holier than the blood of the martyr”.

And Greek playwright Euripides is thought to have written “the tongue is mightier than the blade” in circa 406 BC.

A long history indeed, but what does the expression actually mean?

To get at the meaning behind the expression, it may help to go back to basics.

A pen is a tool which can be used to write, and writing is a creative act that can be used to inform, entertain, and solve problems. The writer creates something that didn’t exist before and in doing so, assuming the writing has some merit, gives something to the reader which makes her better off as a result.

In contrast, a sword is a tool which can be used to fight, conquer, and acquire by force.

Writers share information and create intellectual property, and writing is the work of the educator, the scientist, and the author.

In contrast, fighters defend or acquire existing resources like land, property and oil reserves, and fighting is the province of the military, common thugs, and investment bankers.

For many of the world’s largest corporations, such as McDonald’s, Virgin and Apple, intellectual property is their most valuable asset.

The golden arches are one of the most recognisable trademarks in the world and have helped McDonald’s sell millions of BigMacs. Apple’s brand strength has consistently allowed it to enter new markets while its rivals have routinely struggled. And the power of Virgin’s reputation has allowed the company to enter a diverse range of unrelated markets including trains, planes, space travel, and hotels.

“The pen is mightier than the sword” is not just a pithy expression. If properly understood, it has real relevance for business leaders and the strategies that they choose to employ to sustain and grow their organisations.