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Hiring for Skills and Attitude: Navigating the Delicate Balance

Published by Editor's Desk

In the intricate dance of recruitment, two contenders often vie for the spotlight: Skills and Attitude. On one hand, skills, with their measurable, tangible attributes, seem like the obvious choice. On the other, attitude, with its intangible allure, can be the difference between a good hire and a great one. So, as recruiters, how do we navigate this duality? Is it possible to strike a balance, and if so, what’s the golden formula?

The Dichotomy Defined

Before diving into the balance, let’s first define the contenders:

 Skills: These are the abilities, knowledge, or proficiencies required to perform specific tasks. They can be hard skills, such as coding or graphic design, or soft skills like communication or leadership.

 Attitude: This encompasses a candidate's mindset, values, and overall outlook towards work. It deals with how they approach challenges, collaborate with colleagues, and fit into the company culture.

The Case for Skills

1. Tangible and Measurable: Skills are often straightforward to identify and assess through certifications, portfolios, and technical tests.

2. Immediate Value: Hiring for skills ensures that the new employee can hit the ground running, reducing the onboarding time.

3. Role-Specific Importance: For highly specialized roles, such as those in IT, healthcare, or engineering, skills might take precedence due to the technical demands of the job.

The Case for Attitude

1. Cultural Fit: A candidate with the right attitude aligns with the company’s values and culture, ensuring a harmonious work environment.

2. Adaptability: As business landscapes change, an employee with a positive, flexible attitude is more likely to adapt, learn, and evolve.

3. Future Potential: While skills address the current needs, attitude hints at a candidate's potential for future roles, leadership, and growth.

Striking the Balance: Practical Strategies

1. Role Analysis: Understand the demands of the role you're hiring for. While a technical position might tilt towards skills, customer-facing roles might benefit from a positive attitude and soft skills.

2. Competency Frameworks: Develop a competency framework that lists down both skills and attitude-related attributes essential for the role. This provides a structured way to evaluate candidates holistically.

3. Behavioral Interview Techniques: Instead of just focusing on past achievements (which showcase skills), adopt behavioral questions like, 'Describe a time when you faced a significant challenge at work and how you overcame it?' Such queries offer insights into attitude.

4. Skills Training vs. Attitude Adjustment: Consider the feasibility of training. It's often easier to train someone in a new skill than to change their intrinsic attitude. If a candidate shines in attitude but lacks a certain skill, assess the ease and time required for upskilling.

5. Trial Periods and Internships: Offering trial periods or internships can be an effective way to gauge both skills and attitude in a real-world setting.

6. Diverse Interview Panels: Having a diverse interview panel ensures that a candidate is evaluated from multiple perspectives. While a technical lead might assess skills, an HR professional can provide insights into cultural fit and attitude.

7. Feedback Mechanisms: Implement feedback systems during the probation period. Regular check-ins can help determine if the new hire's skills and attitude align with the organization's expectations.

8. Look Beyond the Resume: While a resume offers a snapshot of skills, letters of recommendation, personal projects, or even a candidate's approach to the interview process can hint at their attitude.

Future-Proofing: The Skills vs. Attitude Debate in the Changing World

With the rapid advancements in AI and automation, certain hard skills might become obsolete. However, skills like creativity, critical thinking, and emotional intelligence, which intertwine with attitude, will continue to be invaluable. It's worth pondering: in the age of machines, will the human 'attitude' become the ultimate differentiator?

In Conclusion: The Harmonious Dance of Skills and Attitude

Navigating the balance between skills and attitude is akin to composing a symphony. While skills provide the notes, the attitude sets the rhythm. Striking the right chord ensures not only the success of the individual hire but the harmonious crescendo of the entire organization. In the ever-evolving recruitment landscape, the art lies in knowing when to prioritize the melody and when to let the rhythm take the lead.

Editor's Desk

Your source for engaging, insightful learning and development trends. Managed by experienced editorial teams for top-notch industry information.


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How can I go from burnout to self care

What People are talking about burnout?

I feel like my body is running on adrenaline. It’s as if I am trying to run a marathon at a sprint pace - every single day at work.

I have been consistently experiencing high levels of stress and I didn’t take steps to manage or reduce it. Eventually this led to exhaustion, physical and emotional burn out!

I just can’t say “no” and felt that I would let someone down by refusing an assignment. So I took on too much work leading up to stress and burnout. 

So what happened?

Your decision to begin your journey from burnout to self care is itself a sign of how far you’ve come. From a professional wanting to work hard and succeed to someone being overwhelmed and overworked for so long and then finally experiencing burnout is a long and arduous process. You’ve already crossed the first step of recognizing burnout and now you must slowly but steadily rid yourself of all of its symptoms. Since burnout happened to you gradually, affecting your ability to function across all aspects of life, you must prepare yourself for an incremental approach to the burnout recovery process. 

What can we do about it?

Focus on sustainability

The key to transitioning from this state of exhaustion to one of rejuvenation lies in embracing sustainability in your self-care practices. The next time an assignment is presented to you, ask yourself “Can I do this with the same intensity for the next few weeks?” If there’s a task that you don’t enjoy, ask yourself “for how long can I continue doing this task without feeling bored and unmotivated?” Instead of tolerating a stressful situation for long periods of time, address it at the beginning with the idea of sustainability at the back of your mind.

Secondly, sustainability in self-care means recognizing and respecting our limits. It involves setting healthy boundaries, saying no when necessary, and understanding that rest is not a luxury, but a fundamental need. It's about listening to our body and mind, and responding with kindness and patience.

Lastly, sustainable self-care is about finding balance. It’s not just about relaxation and downtime, but also about finding joy and engagement in activities you love, fostering relationships that nourish you, and pursuing goals that give you a sense of purpose.

Can I read more about it somewhere?

"The Thriving Therapist: Sustainable Self-Care to Prevent Burnout and Enhance Well-Being" by Matthew A. Hersh, Ph.D., is a holistic and comprehensive guide aimed at psychotherapists and mental health professionals. It emphasizes the importance of sustainable self-care practices, particularly for those dedicated to caring for others. The book, born from Dr. Hersh's personal experiences, including a life-threatening illness, offers a nuanced view on self-care, integrating wisdom from various sources with the author's own insights as a psychologist, therapist, and cancer survivor​​.

Here are three main takeaways from the book:

  • Integrative Approach to Self-Care: The book provides an integrative view of self-care, combining research, self-reflection exercises, personal anecdotes, and practical techniques. It encourages readers to actively engage in self-care rather than passively reading about it​​.
  • Evidence-Based Guidance: Dr. Hersh offers a well-researched, evidence-based guide to restoring health, mental well-being, and idealism for mental health professionals. This is particularly relevant in our increasingly stressed society, where mental health professionals often experience burnout​​.
  • Tools for Mindful Coping: The book is a reflective guide that provides tools, guides, and wisdom for mindful coping. It supports helping professionals and others in developing skills to care for themselves while they care for others, emphasizing the balance between personal well-being and professional responsibilities​​.

Dr. Hersh's background as a clinical psychologist, mindfulness teacher, and energy psychology practitioner, along with his personal journey and professional experience, enriches the content of the book, making it a valuable resource for professionals in the mental health field​​.

I don't get it.. Tell me more 

When transitioning from a state of burnout to embracing self-care, it's crucial to engage in self-reflection. This process allows you to understand your needs, set boundaries, and develop a sustainable self-care routine. By asking yourself the right questions, you can uncover the root causes of your burnout and create a tailored approach to your well-being. Here are five important questions to guide this introspective journey:

What are my primary stressors? Identifying the specific sources of your stress can help you address them more effectively.

How do I typically respond to stress, and is it effective? Understanding your current coping mechanisms can reveal if they're helping you or potentially contributing to your burnout.

What activities genuinely rejuvenate me? It's essential to distinguish between activities that truly refresh you and those that might be escapism or short-term fixes.

What boundaries do I need to set for my health and well-being? Recognizing where you need to set limits can help you conserve energy and prioritize your well-being.

How can I integrate self-care into my daily routine? Consider practical ways to incorporate self-care into your everyday life, ensuring it's sustainable and not just a temporary fix.

By pondering these questions, you can begin to develop a deeper understanding of your needs and how best to meet them on your path to recovery and well-being.

Here’s what an ideal burnout to self care journey looks like:

Imagine yourself as an employee on a journey from burnout to embracing self-care:

Morning Ritual: Your day starts with a new ritual. Instead of immediately checking emails, you take a few minutes for meditation or deep breathing. This helps set a calm tone for the day.

Commute with Mindfulness: On your commute, you listen to relaxing music or a motivational podcast. This time becomes a transition period, mentally preparing you for the day ahead.

Structured Work Hours: At work, you diligently adhere to structured hours. You've learned to prioritize tasks, focusing on what's important and letting go of perfectionism in less critical tasks.

Regular Breaks: Every hour, you take a short break. It might be a walk around the office, some stretching, or a moment of mindfulness. These breaks help reduce mental fatigue and maintain focus.

Healthy Lunch Breaks: You commit to taking a full lunch break away from your desk. This time is for unwinding, enjoying a healthy meal, and perhaps a brief walk outside.

Effective Communication: You communicate more openly with your team and supervisor about your workload. When feeling overwhelmed, you ask for help or delegation, creating a supportive work environment.

After-Work Unwind: After work, you engage in activities that you enjoy and that help you relax - it could be a hobby, exercise, or spending time with loved ones.

Evening Routine: You have an evening routine that signals to your brain that the workday is over. This might include journaling, reading, or a relaxing bath.

Quality Sleep: You prioritize getting enough sleep, understanding its vital role in recovery and health.

Reflect and Adjust: Each day, you reflect on what worked well and what could be improved. You adjust your self-care practices accordingly, understanding that recovery is a dynamic process.

By incorporating these practices into your daily routine, you gradually recover from burnout, transforming your work life into a more balanced and fulfilling experience.

In case you are wondering, there are some more problem and their alternatives

10 Signs That You Are Overworked

7 Tips to Manage Your Time and Energy

Ways to Prioritize SelfCare and WellBeing