Aptitude: (Skill-set) – Ability; Capacity; Talent.

So which is more important when selecting new staff to join your team members ???

Which Attribute (just to confuse things further!), will better serve your team or fit in with your team?

Can we differentiate? – Should we differentiate ?

In my personal experience with over 25 years in the Employment game, my “mantra” in assisting Jobseekers find new Jobs and in assisting Employers find new Staff is:


Aptitude or Skill Set: is the “Can Do” – the skill set or ability to complete the tasks

Attitude or Mind Set: is the “Will Do” – the right mind set or behaviour to complete the tasks

Aptitude PLUS Attitude: is the “Will Fit” – the ability to do the task, the mind set to do the task and the right approach and manner/behaviour to fit into the team and the company culture to work towards the future goals for the business.

What should you consider FIRST ?? – What is the MOST Important ?? When seeking a new employee?

Again, in my experience, I have found that SKILLS can be learnt, developed and built upon IF the employee has the right approach or manner ! If the employee has say, intermediate MSWord or typing skills or perhaps a general knowledge and experience in Accounts Payable, but is keen and open minded about learning more and developing their skills and knowledge, then this ATTITIDE will create greater APTITUDE !!

This person may fit into the team well with a pleasant and positive ATTITUDE whereas an employee with greater APTITUDE and skills levels may not really FIT into the team and the ethos and plans of the company moving forward.

The fact that they can DO the job better is excellent for the workflow, but if they do not FIT into the team or are not prepared to get on with the team or work to the culture of the company, then the team as a whole and thus the operations of the company will suffer in the long run.

Often a person placed into a company who does not FIT in will cause dissatisfaction among their co-workers which generally results in a high turnover of staff – either in this particular role or with other workers leaving and constantly turning over.

And we all KNOW how costly HIGH TURNOVER is and how it impedes progress within a company !

Some employers when taking on new staff, expect the new employee to have EXACTLY the same skill set and experience (Aptitude) of their previous team member. This can be an unrealistic expectation. If you have a staff member who has been with the company for 5, 10, 15 years or so, then their understanding of the company, product, systems, clients/customers and the team are second nature and thus their ability to do the role well is exemplary.

A new employee should have at least enough skill set (Aptitude) to DO the job but one should not expect the same levels of excellence as someone who has been in the role for many years. If they have the right “Attitude” and they are eager to learn the role and build their skills set, and are the right “fit” for the team, then you again have the potential for another long term successful team member.

Often a new team member can bring new insights and opportunities to the team and to the company and clever Management will recognize, utilise and reward/commend such new staff for their contribution to the team and company as a whole.

So – both ATTITUDE and APTITUDE are very important ! However, one attribute is ingrained as part of the person and the other can be learnt and built upon as long as the basics are in place.

I don’t think this is a case of “Chicken vs Egg”??? I think this one can be managed to your benefit and the benefit of the team and the company as a whole !