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Ireland's win over Germany shows the power of attitude

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One word you will hear over and over again in the endless reports, reviews and retellings of Ireland’s historic victory over Germany is attitude. Much as we’d hate to admit it, a team like Ireland should never beat the world champions. When they do, attitude usually has something to do with it.

It’s is also vital for employers. Cpl’s latest employment monitor found that 96% of employers would hire a lesser skilled candidate with a great attitude over a candidate with excellent skills and a poor attitude. As Shane Long burst clear of two German defenders and sent Irish hearts into mouths last night, the match became the perfect example of why so many employers favour a positive outlook over incredible skills.

Shane Long would be an ideal candidate

It was fitting that it should be Shane Long who scored the winner in a game of attitude versus ability. Long isn’t a bad footballer, far from it, but he’s never really seemed good enough for the very top. When he joined Southampton for £12million many scoffed at the price tag on the basis that, the odd clinical finish aside, he wasn’t good enough for a team with ambition. The one thing that’s never been in doubt is his willingness to work. Talk about Shane Long and it won’t be long before phrases like ‘runs the channels’ and ‘puts a shift in’’ are sure to follow.

It’s that level of application that helped him get that move to Southampton and what allowed Ireland beat the world champions last night. Shane Long might also be an example of the perfect hire. His ability is good but not brilliant, but his attitude is first class. That’s exactly what employers are talking about when they say they hire attitude over experience. Willingness to work on its own isn’t enough, you need some of the requisite skills too. However, a really positive approach combined with good skills can take you further than supposedly ‘better’ rivals.

Germany’s attitude let them down

Whenever a team with the reputation, talent and power of Germany loses to a team ranked way below them, it’s easy for the lazy pundit to blame complacency and a poor attitude. Football is too complex a game to be decided on application alone. However, last night the Germans offered plenty of evidence to support the lazy #HotTake.

In mitigation for their defeat, Germany could easily point to the chances they created but didn’t take. Or to be more accurate, the chances they missed. The way they missed those chances was telling. On numerous occasions German players either missed the ball or skied shots they would normally guide into the goal. Take Andre Schurrle’s chance for example. As the ball dropped over the Irish defence and into his path very few people would have backed against him at least testing the goalkeeper. Instead, he blazed the ball over the bar. The technical skill we know Schurrle has deserted him as he leaned back and sent the ball skyward. If he had been concentrating fully, he would have scored.

Missed chances like that one along with the pace of the German play demonstrate exactly why employers aren’t interested in employees who don’t apply themselves. No matter how good you are, or how many awards you have won, if you don’t put in the effort you won’t get results.

Employers want great talent and great attitude

You may be reading this and thinking ‘Ireland’s victory was a one off, Germany are still the world champions.’ That takes us to the core of what employers really want. Given only the option of a great attitude or great ability most employers would pick the former – but they really want both. Combining a great work appetite with their top class talents won Germany the world cup, and it will make them favourites for the European Championships next summer. That’s the key mix employer want, so it’s vital that you work on both.

The ideal employee demonstrates the best skills and the right attitude, from the first interview to the last day on the job. The great thing is, your attitude is always in your control. You may need to work on your skills and develop your experience – while you do just make sure you’re ready to ‘put a shift in’ too.

Get more employer insights in our Q3 Employment Monitor

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