March 3, 2023

Beyond skills: Why hiring for attitude is the secret to success in cybersecurity sales and marketing recruitment

When it comes to cybersecurity sales and marketing recruitment, the struggle is real. That goes for just about every other job industry too. A lack of skilled candidates, fierce battle for the best talent, and decreased candidate retention due to their in-demand status; these are just some of the challenges you’ll be facing as a cybersecurity business today.

Lack of cybersecurity sales and marketing candidates can really hold your business back. In the search for a remedy to the challenge of cybersecurity recruitment, many employers are asking if they need to start looking beyond skill and focusing more on candidate attitude, in order to improve the hiring process.

Attitude matters

Skills and experience are often placed in front and centre in the recruitment process. Yet, a candidate’s attitude forms a crucial part of the bigger picture when it comes to successful hiring.

In his book Hiring for Attitude: A Revolutionary Approach to Recruiting and Selecting People with Both Tremendous Skills and Superb Attitude , New York Times bestselling author Mark Murphy reveals that 89% of the time an employee is a bad hire is due to attitude.

Murphy lists attitude-related reasons for unsuccessful recruitment as:

  • Coachability – an employee’s ability to accept, internalise, and implement feedback from different organisational stakeholders, proving a willingness to adapt to change

  • Emotional intelligence – the ability of the employee to read and understand people’s emotions, affecting their interactions with others and their camaraderie with team mates

  • Motivation – an unmotivated and unengaged employee will simply not stack up against an employee that is motivated, no matter how stellar their skillset is

  • Temperament – sometimes, there’s a mismatch between the employee’s character and the type of personality needed for the role

Technical competence contributes to only 11% of hiring failures. So, there certainly seems to be a case for hiring based on attitude rather than skills alone, doesn’t there?

Let’s dig a little deeper…

Hiring for skill vs. hiring for attitude

Technical skills and qualifications are undoubtedly essential for performing specific job tasks, but recruitment based solely on skill can pose several disadvantages for your business. On the flipside, hiring with attitude as your key focus offers many benefits.

Risks of hiring for skill alone:

  • Fragile company culture – a mismatched personality will have decreased job satisfaction, mediocre performance and weak engagement, with a potentially negative impact on your culture

  • Limited innovation and creativity – a homogenous perspective can be the result of a team with similar backgrounds and ideas

  • Decreased productivity – a poor team dynamic due to colleague relationship issues limits output and efficiency

  • Stagnancy – hire solely based on technical skills and it could mean your business is on the back foot when it comes to changes in the business environment e.g. technology, customer needs, industry trends

  • High-cost and turnover – individuals with the right technical skills but the wrong attitude/character may not stay with your organisation for the long term, and recruiting and training new employees can be costly

Benefits of hiring based on attitude:

  • Cohesion and alignment – when you hire for attitude and character, you are more likely to find someone that will live and breathe your company mission and values

  • Diversity is the mother of invention – a broader candidate pool means diverse perspectives, experiences, and ideas that can lead to pioneering developments and breakthroughs

  • A more harmonious and productive team environment – likeminded people with positive attitudes tend to be more collaborative, adaptable, and receptive to feedback, leading to better communication and more efficient problem-solving

  • Vitality – satisfied, engaged and motivated staff are more likely to embrace the latest trends, processes and systems that are key to your business evolution

  • Loyalty and longevity of your workforce – employees who feel like they fit in culturally are more likely to stay with your organisation for longer, giving you a better ROI on your recruitment cost

Strategies for attitude-based hiring

Now that you know more about how hiring for attitude compares favourably to hiring for skill, you’ll want to know how to go about it…

As a cyber security recruitment consultancy, The Cyber Bench can offer your business a wide variety strategic and practical solutions.

You might like to try the ‘3-3-3 Exercise’. Simply write down the attitudinal characteristics of the 3 best and 3 worst employees within your organisation over the past 3 years. From here, our experts can develop you interview questions that will determine whether potential candidates possess the attitude your business needs more of.

Carefully crafting the right types of open behavioural interview questions will allow you to truly see a candidate’s personality and attitudes towards certain situations. For example, you could ask them, “Tell me about a time when you had to overcome a challenge, what did you to do succeed?”

Cultivating and encouraging the right employee attitude post-hire

Once you’ve recruited your latest bright star, you’ll need to play your part as an employer to make sure you get the best out of that new team member.

Onboarding and training are crucial for attitude development in new hires. While individuals may possess positive attitudes and strong work ethics, they still require guidance and support to become fully integrated and productive team members.

Be sure to help establish expectations, facilitate relationship-building, encourage collaboration, and provide feedback to new hires, helping them understand their strengths and areas for improvement. Thoughtful onboarding helps the new candidate see how their work contributes to your organisation’s mission.

Get support from our cybersecurity sales and marketing recruitment experts

As a cybersecurity sales and marketing recruitment company covering the UK, EMEA and USA cyber security markets, we understand the importance of hiring for attitude as well as skill and appreciate that there’s both hiring challengers for employers as well as job hunting challenges for employees / candidates.

We will help you find candidates who not only have the technical abilities to perform the job but also possess the right attitude and character to fit into your team and contribute to your organisation’s culture and success. The Cyber Bench also offers post-placement care to make sure they stay the course.

If you’re struggling with finding the right candidates for your team and or struggling with your organisation’s hiring decisions, contact The Cyber Bench today and we’ll help you create a thriving and productive workplace, built on a positive attitude.

Alternatively, you can find out more about how we work or explore our services comparison table to see if we could be a right fit for your organisation.