Myth “Hire for Attitude, Train for Skills”

The Myth of “Hire for Attitude, Train for Skills”: A Critical Perspective

In the ever-changing field of recruiting, the mantra of “Hire for Attitude, Train for Skills” has become increasingly common among organizations striving to create dynamic and resilient workforces. But the harsh reality facing many hiring managers and job seekers reveals a challenging paradox. Despite widespread recognition of the paramount importance of hiring, recruiting process practices are often designed to tie decision makers to the tangible metrics of hard skills, educational background, and professional experience. This article highlights the reasons why, despite their best intentions, companies are often limited when it comes to prioritizing hiring in their hiring decisions.

The recruiter’s dilemma

Recruiters, often viewed as the gatekeepers of talent acquisition, find themselves in a quandary. Tasked with finding candidates who not only meet the technical requirements of a role, but also embody the company’s core values and culture, they face a steep mountain. The main problem lies in the inherent difficulty of evaluating something as intangible and nuanced as hiring within a standardized recruiting process.

  • Tangible Metrics vs. Intangible Qualities: While hard skills and qualifications are easily quantifiable and verifiable, hiring encompasses a spectrum of traits such as adaptability, resilience and a growth mindset that are much harder to assess through traditional methods such as resumes and structured interviews.
  • The Power Balance: Recruiters, often working under strict hiring criteria and performance metrics, may not have the autonomy to make judgments based on subjective factors. Their brief typically revolves around minimizing risk and ensuring the candidate’s immediate suitability in terms of skills and experience, leaving little scope for consideration based on potential and personal attributes.
  • The Challenge of Consistency: Ensuring a fair and unbiased evaluation of candidate hiring is a significant challenge. Without objective metrics, recruiters risk falling into the trap of unconscious bias, which could potentially jeopardize the diversity and inclusivity of the hiring process.

Closing the gap

To balance the desire to hire for attitude, train for skills with the reality of recruiting constraints, organizations need to rethink their approach.

  • Advanced Training for Recruiters: Empowering recruiters with advanced interviewing techniques and psychological insights can better equip them to recognize candidates’ underlying attitudes and potential.
  • Integrate behavioral assessments: Integrating scientifically validated behavioral and personality assessments into the recruiting process can provide a more objective and comprehensive view of a candidate’s attitude and cultural fit.
  • Foster a culture of empowerment: Giving recruiters greater latitude in their decision-making and encouraging a more holistic view of candidates can pave the way for hiring to be prioritized over traditional metrics.


While the ethos of “Hire for Attitude, Train for Skills” resonates with the visionary goals of many organizations, the practical obstacles in the recruiting process often pose significant challenges to this ideal. One solution can be a strategic partnership with an external personnel service provider. Such a specialist not only brings in-depth experience and specialized knowledge to the recruiting process, but can also effectively support the hiring manager in selecting and evaluating candidates. This expert support makes it possible to look beyond the boundaries of traditional hiring practices and turn “Hire for Attitude” into a viable goal. Working with an experienced HR service provider can therefore build a bridge between the vision of hiring employees based on their attitude and the practical viability of this approach by bringing the necessary expertise and perspective to the selection process. This makes the shared effort to promote a recruiting system that values hiring as the cornerstone of a thriving and adaptable workforce tangible and actionable.

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NewsMyth “Hire for Attitude, Train for Skills”