Skills v Attitude

When recruiting IT staff, what is more important – skills or attitude?

Recruiting the right person is one of the most critical decisions you will make.  A bad recruitment decision can take years to correct.  What should you value more, skills or attitude?

Imagine this – over the last few years, you have recruited a number of people and dealt with a deluge of CV’s across your desk.  Filling a job though requires more than what is simply listed on a CV.  The new person has to be fit for your IT team, the company as a whole and must possess the skills necessary to get the job done at the standard you expect.  Have you ever made a recruitment mistake that has come back time and time again to haunt you?

Sometimes, through the CV review and interview process, one person may just jump to the top of this list and this can be for a variety of reasons.  This person may have a considerable amount of experience which is well matched against your role, they may have worked within your industry previously, or for some they may simply have hobbies that will fit into the culture of your team.  When there is a superstar CV or interview that outshines the rest, this is a great situation to find yourself in.

However, consider the following:

Candidate 1 has an incredible background, will accept the role and at the salary on offer, but his attitude is a little off.  Perhaps he feels that IT is in a “command and control” role, or his ability to work with people is somewhat limited.

Candidate 2 has a great attitude and would fit into the current team seamlessly, but his experience isn’t quite up to par with Candidate 1, although he does have enough experience to get by.

What would you do?
Here’s what I would do – dismiss Candidate 1.

We all know that you can teach hard skills, but teaching attitude or other soft skills is extremely difficult but sometimes this can be overlooked in an interview situation due to the desire to get the best person for the job.  As for Candidate 2, using a probationary period, I’d likely give that person a chance and see if he can come up with the requirements of the job.  The right attitude is so important when adding to an already established team.

One of our clients has this exact situation earlier this year when they recruited a Network Administrator.  He interviewed a number of potential candidates, but the person he ultimately selected wasn’t the strongest from a technical perspective, although that said, he was in no means “weak”.  His attitude was (and still is) really good and his work ethic and approach to get the job done is superb.  Since day one, he has worked hard to come up to speed in the necessary areas and has exceeded every expectation.  Feedback from his team is that he has gone out of his way to ensure his knowledge what is required for the job and is able to effectively handle tasks necessary for the role.  Would a candidate with more experience but with an attitude a little off kilter have succeeded as well in the role?  Would they have fit into the team culture, or would they have simply got the job done without contributing anything over and above?

In summary – if one person has less skills that they next but still satisfies enough of the skill requirements for the role AND has a good attitude, they are worth their weight in gold.  After all, you can teach technical skills if you have an engaged, committed employee.

We can help

Here at Langley James, we can save you time and ultimately money by sending you a shortlist of candidates who not only have the right skills and attitude to fit into your culture but are also able to add value.  We pride ourselves on really knowing our candidates.  We have in-depth knowledge of their experience, even down to the individual projects they have worked on and their most proud achievements.  We have access to those details that you just can’t glean from a CV alone.  Our talented and specialised resourcers work hard to ensure that candidate we send over to you are not only a match for the role, but also for your business.


To discuss your requirement needs, please call us on  0207 099 4839 or e-mail us

Social Media – Should You Look?

The Last Great Recruitment Taboo

Social media:  Should you look?

92% of recruiters look at potential employees’ social media profiles according to a survey by Jobvite.

It’s no surprise that so many employers are using social media to screen prospective employees.  These days an online presence is practically expected and it’s not just for the youngsters – 79% of LinkedIn users are over 35.  When you add Facebook, Twitter and Google+ into the equation with just a few clicks you can easily summon the good, the bad and the ugly of a candidate’s professional and personal lives, thanks to all the digital records they, their friends and their family leave behind in social media.  But should you look?  And if you do, what information can you actually use?

Look for the positives
A social media search should not be seen as a negative screening technique, in fact sometimes it’s better not to look at all until you have met the candidate face to face.  But for an insight into their professional presence check out LinkedIn and look for positive attributes such as:

  • A professional online presence
  • Good spelling and grammar
  • Consistency between their job history and their CV
  • Insightful statuses and posts
  • References to your industry
  • Following relevant organisations
  • Creativity
  • Positivity
  • Memberships of organisations
  • Endorsements from other professionals

Beware the Negatives
Social media checks cannot be used as part of the hiring decision.  When looking at social media the temptation can be to make snap judgements based on what you see.  Social media is complex:  being tagged without permission is common and inappropriate comments can be posted by others without representing the candidate’s point of view.

Statuses and photographs can also be taken out of context and cannot be taken as solid evidence.  Judgements on what is appropriate will also certainly vary – interestingly, the majority of employers have a dimmer view of poor spelling and grammar than photographs of binge drinking.  Most importantly, ensure you are looking at the correct profile.

However, there are warning signs.  These ‘red alerts’ should be treated in the same way as if you had gleaned the information during interview.  These include:

  • Bigoted or racist remarks
  • Overly sexual language
  • Excessive profanity
  • Threatening language
  • Poor grammar and spelling

Taboo Areas
Just as in the interview, there is taboo information that you CANNOT use to discriminate for or against a candidate under any circumstances.  These include:

  • Age
  • Marital status or sexual preference
  • Children
  • Political status
  • Place of birth, ethnicity or religion
  • Lifestyle choices
  • Disability & illness

It’s our opinion that social media is an extremely valuable source of information – but one that should be used with caution.  What do you think?  We’d love you to join the conversation.  Tweet us @ITRecruitment or follow us on Facebook.


Ready to recruit?

Here at Langley James, we know how to find the most vibrant and talented pforessionals available.  Whatever your requirements, permanent or contract, and up to the highest level of seniority, we can find you the ideal candidate.  To discuss your IT recruitment needs call us on  0207 099 4839 or email us at

10 Reasons to Celebrate – and to Adapt

10 reasons why leading in IT is getting exciting

Exciting times are upon us.  The economy is moving and it is IT that has taken the lead.  Employment growth is greater in IT than in any other industry according to the ‘Tech Monitor UK Report’.  And the buzz in the world of the CIO is that next year is set to be even bigger!

  • IT budgets are back to pre-recession levels!  What better time to implement exciting new projects?
  • Are you increasingly seeing your role as becoming more strategic?  It’s time to embrace the chance to control the application of technology to innovate and improve every area of your business.  And with increased collaboration between departments being seen more in the UK than anywhere else according to a survey of 2029 CIOs, there is a fantastic chance of success.
  •  2013 has been a year of rapid change and advancements in technology.  Time to adapt systems and perfect the application of new technology.  It’s time to select what really works out of the mass of new developments.
  • UK Tech Companies are feeling confident! Most plan expansion of their teams even further over the next year.  Are you?  And of course, an influx of new talent means new ideas, new skills and even more scope for progress.
  • Schools are set to spend more on technology in 2014 than ever before.  This is great news for everyone supplying technology or support – but even better for the future of an industry reliant on inspiring the superstars of the future.
  • IT projects that support employee productivity look set to be a priority for businesses next year.  Great news for departmental collaboration and shows that IT Departments truly are respected as the people who can provide innovation throughout every team.
  • The emerging ‘Internet of Everything’ will see billions more devices with internet connectivity, from fridges to cars over the next year and beyond.
  • Innovators are using 3D printers to turn computer data into physical objects that could change your life.  Whether it’s Industry or Medicine, 3D printing is set to increase by 275% over the next 2 years.
  • Businesses are increasingly planning how to control ‘Big Data’.  With multiple systems needing to be tied together to achieve this, IT experts will be in demand.
  • The rapid growth in IT has been recognised.  100 ‘London Visas’ to attract ‘Top Tech Talent’ to the UK have been proposed.  While this may not be enough to combat the current skills shortage in IT, indications are that this may be expanded in the future.  In the meantime, the need to act fast to grab talent is still very much with us.

There truly has never been a better time for IT Departments to impact on every area of business.

Ready to recruit?
Here at Langley James, we know how to find the most vibrant and talented professionals available.  Whatever your requirements, permanent or contract, and up to the highest level of seniority, we can find you the ideal candidate.

To discuss your IT recruitment needs call us on 0207 099 4839 or email us at

We’d love you to join in the conversation.  Tweet us @ITRecruitment or follow us on Facebook.