A common question asked is what matters more, experience or attitude?


The answer is not as simple as it seems and depends on many factors.


It depends on the Role, the Hiring Manager, what the Company values, the Candidate themselves.

The Role

There are certain roles that demand experience (and certain levels of education or technical knowledge), I am not going to apply for a role as a surgeon or in any medical field, likewise I won’t have any success applying for a role as a pilot without flight training school and the minimum number of hours under my belt. However, there are a large number of roles where some or less than the stipulated experience may be deemed sufficient. Once that minimum is satisfied, the Interviewee can sway the company with their attitude and how they present themselves.


The Hiring Manager

Like any person, a Hiring Manager will have a pre-conceived notion of their perfect candidate. They may or may not have written the perfect position description (Or like many roles, the HR professional dreamed up a list of required experience and desired attributes). Typically if the Hiring Manager comes from a certain background (say an Engineer), they may prefer to hire an Engineer or someone of a similar background. Despite this, they want to hire the best person for the role and will naturally gravitate towards the person that convinces them they understand the role and are enthusiastic about the challenges that lie ahead.

What a Company values

Some Companies value different attributes. A previous Company I worked for was highly focused on education. The more letters you had after your name, the more they were interested in you. Whereas I don’t believe ‘letters’ make a great Employee, some Companies do. I was told afterwards by the Hiring Manager, it was one of the reasons I attained that rate and position. I saw evidence of this value after I was hired. Any time a person was promoted or moved to a new role, the announcement would place great emphasis on their education.


The Candidate

Whereas ,a lack of experience can be overcome, lacking a great attitude will always work against you. If you can manage to combine great experience and a great attitude you will be a highly desirable candidate. A great attitude is one thing, however nothing creates a better impression than conducting a stellar interview. Interview preparation does not come together without a lot of work (like anything worthwhile, there are few shortcuts), however it pays off in many ways. My previous post contains a list of 20 benefits of being a great interviewee.

If it comes down to a choice of candidates, the one with the best attitude will inevitably be successful.


“Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal.”

– Thomas Jefferson