Attitude or skill? Which matters more for hiring and talent development?

“Hire for attitude, train for skill.” That approach is a must in industries with a shortage of skilled candidates, like mechanical trades, cybersecurity and startups that rely on data science. Can attitude always compensate for a lack of skills? How do you match people with good attitudes to the right roles? And will those people fit with your company culture? Here’s what I’ve learned by working in an industry with no formal training programs to fill the pipeline.

Over the past decade, the e-commerce fraud prevention company where I work has grown from two dozen to almost two thousand employees, and we’re still growing. But there are no formal education processes for people who want to enter the field. Fraud prevention degree programs focus on criminal justice or forensic accounting, not the combination of real-time data analysis and human interaction. No one comes to us holding a degree in what we do.

That means training for skills is a must in our business. And hiring for attitude is a high priority, not only by default, but also because employees with the right attitude are more likely to succeed.

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