Nailing that job: attitude over skills

October 20, 2018



If you’re looking to land your first job after education, you’ve probably already discovered that the job market is extremely competitive.

Employers prioritise job applicants with the right attitude to work rather than the skills listed on their CVs.


Recruitment group Reed polled over 1,000 business owners to see what key traits employers look for in job seekers.



It discovered that 96% of employers would hire someone who did not have a complete set of skills but displayed the right attitude over an applicant with the perfect skills but who lacked the right mindset.


Two thirds of employers said they if had to reduce their workforce they would fire someone with a perfect skills set over someone with deficient skills but sporting the right attitude.

The employers ranked the top six essential attitude qualities as commitment, honesty, trustworthiness, adaptability, accountability, and loyalty.”

Why does work attitude affect the chances of getting a job?

Education is focused on helping you achieve a high level of skills that can help you go on to have a happy and successful career. These skills help form the basis of your CV, so the more impressive, the more likely your application will be moved along to the next stage. However, if you get invited to a phone, or face-to-face interview, work attitude is often one of the key areas that interviewers consider when making their decision.


This is because the interviewer not only needs to know that you have the skills to actually do the job, but they also want to make sure you have the right work attitude to succeed and push the business forward. It’s also thought that if you lack in certain skills, these can be taught once you join the company, however your attitude can be very difficult (or even impossible) to change. Therefore in an interview, keep in mind that the interviewer will be listening to your answers and watching your actions for signs of your work attitude.


What work attitude you need to get the job?

In a recent study from the Australian Government, it was revealed that 36% of employers said that Australian youths could enhance their employment prospects by improving their mindset and attitude towards work. But what attitude do you need to display?


Unfortunately there is no magic formula, which guarantees the job becomes yours. However, there are a number of qualities that will help to show the interviewer that you have a positive work attitude and will fit well within their company. Here are some areas to consider:


Be confident
Confidence is an important quality in the workplace. With confidence, you can ask for help, give a presentation, get involved in group discussions and just feel content in the work that you do. Although interviews can be nervy experiences, it’s important to walk in showing that you can be confident (but not overly confident). Start with a smile and a strong handshake, followed by answering questions calmly and clearly. Staring at the floor and speaking quietly won’t give the right impression, so take a few deep breaths to help calm your nerves.


Be enthusiastic

Employers don’t want someone applying just to get a job, they want to find someone that loves what they’re doing. Therefore in your interview, make sure you show you’re passionate and interested in the area that you’ve applied for.


Be happy

Although this might seem like common sense, it’s always worth emphasising the importance of simply smiling in an interview. It can show that you’re happy to be there, but also let them see that you’re a friendly person who would get on well with their team if you’re hired.


Be motivated

Employers want to see that if they employed you, you’d be motivated and could get on with your work, without the need for micro-management. Before your job search, consider getting work-experience, volunteering or even pursing your hobbies. If any of these are related to the role you’re applying for, even better!


Show your strong work ethic

Volunteering or doing work experience are both great ways to show your commitment and discipline. However, there are other ways that you can show off your work ethic, such as making sure your application is the best of your ability, or simply turning up to the interview on time to show you can be responsible.


With this advice, you can be prepared for your interview, where your positive winning attitude shines through.  Good luck!



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