Nigel Brewster of Brewster McBride Recruitment Consultants looks
at the key differences between an employee's skillset and
mindset…and which you should be concerned about as an employer…
When entering the jobs market we have all heard how important it
is to make sure you have got the right 'skillset'.
In fact, skills are a major issue for both employees and
employers alike. Employees need to gain the required skills to
fulfill certain jobs or types of career and employers themselves
are constantly searching for the skills to fill jobs that will
enable their business to grow.
But in recent years, this concept has become slightly more
confusing with the arrival of the debate among career experts about
which is more important: 'skillset' or 'mindset'.
So, what do we mean by mindset?
Well, and employee's mindset typically covers areas such as;
attitude, integrity, work ethic, personality, etc. These are
thing things other that job specific skills that enable an
individual to fit into the business culture.
Whilst skills are certainly desirable for many positions, just
having the right skills nowadays doesn't always guarantee that you
will get the job. For most jobs, it is a pretty obvious point
but an applicant's skillset needs to come first.
Let's be honest, as an employer, you usually want to be
sure that the person can actually do whatever it is they will be
asked to do. For example, IT Programmers have to know how to
programs, Accountants need to know how to crunch numbers in Excel
and Marketeers must know their marketing techniques.
However, in a market where the supply of candidates is greater
than the demand for their services (like the one we find ourselves
in at the moment with ever increasing numbers of unemployed) once
employers have satisfied themselves about an applicant's ability do
the job (their skills) the employer will often differentiate
between potential candidates by shifting their focus to their
Businesses and hiring managers give differing answers when asked
whether when looking to recruit they would go for the person with
the perfect skills and qualifications, but lacking the desired
mindset, or the person with the desired mindset, but lacking the
Interestingly enough, our experience shows that there is a clear
spilt between skills and attitude, but what we do see is that there
is a growing consensus that it is more likely that a person with
the right mindset will develop the right skillset, rather than the
other way around.
Let's be clear here… we are not saying that the right attitude
will get you the right job over someone else with relevant
experience. But, what we are saying is that in our opinion,
the key to success in the jobs market is the ability to demonstrate
skills and experience relevant of those required for the technical
elements of the job COMBINED with the attitude, work ethic and
general personality required to fit into the culture of the
So, when it comes to a question of which is more important:
skillset of mindset?... It's safe to say that the jury is still
very much out on this one, but when they exist together they are a
What do you think: skillset or mindset?