Hiring post lockdown: ‘Attitude’ could score over ‘Aptitude’

Why a candidate’s attitude will gain importance during hiring in these difficult times

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While hiring is slow, it’s obvious that companies will hire only for critical talent. This means, aptitude will be important. However, what could be even more important during these times is the attitude of the candidates.

“An attitude with enormous amounts of resilience and grit is what the employers will be seeking in a candidate, to win over such odd times. Hiring a super-talented candidate who behaves like a secluded island for his/her co-workers will only degrade the company culture,” says, Unmesh Pawar, partner and head, people, performance and culture, KPMG.

“While employers will be looking out for someone capable of driving the organisation and taking his/her co-workers along; the motive is lost if the new hire is someone who sabotages the company’s culture,” adds Pawar.

Jayati Roy

Skills can be learnt and imbibed, but if the person lacks the zeal to learn and grow, then skills alone will not be enough for a person to qualify the interview procedures post the lockdown 

Attitude in a candidate is all about the culture fit. This implies that it has to be aligned with the company’s culture. However, certain attributes may differ as per roles and functions.

Sunil Singh, CHRO, Cadila, opines, “Similar set of attitudes cannot fit everywhere. Hence, it’s important to gauge the kind of learning attitude one is looking for. Employers will lay utmost importance on the person possessing the appropriate attitude, which gels well with the company’s current value system.”

This value can vary from a good leadership attitude to a ‘never say no’ kind of attitude. The attitude may also be differentiated in terms of being dominant, persuasive or submissive. Each one will have its own strengths and flaws, but has to fit in with the role.

“Skills and aptitude of candidates can be measured during the interview procedure, but not attitude. One has to really dig deeper to evaluate the same,” explains Singh.

To evaluate a candidate’s attitude, organisations need to do a background check, which may include the person’s behavior with past teammates, be it as a leader or as a member.

Some companies even evaluate prospects on the basis of their learning attitude.

“Skills can be learnt and imbibed, but if the person lacks the zeal to learn and grow, then skills alone will not be enough for a person to qualify the interview procedures post the lockdown, when businesses resume operations,” says Jayati Roy, director HR, Barco.

Sunil Singh

Employers will lay utmost importance on the person possessing the appropriate attitude, which gels well with the company’s current value system

Roy shares that at Barco’s, the team of interviewers screens the candidate through a behavioural testing module. “This means, the hiring process won’t be simple questioning. They will be judged on attitude questions with regard to soft skills or challenges.”

“Candidates can exhibit a certain characteristic once, but if they are faking it consistently, they can be easily caught in a multi-panel,” she clarifies.

Unmesh Pawar

An attitude with enormous amounts of resilience and grit is what the employers will be seeking in a candidate, to win over such odd times

The family background and the growing-up years may also define a candidate’s attitude. Some companies may even refrain from hiring a person who is born with a silver spoon or has never had to struggle in life. This is because, such people are considered to be lacking in the stamina required to weather difficult times.