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Hiring for Success: Focus on Attitude

  • Publish Date: Posted almost 6 years ago
  • Author: Taylor Varco

Did you know 46% of new hires fail with the first 18 months of employment? According to Forbes, 89% of the time they fail for attitudinal reasons, not lack of skill. When assessing candidates, it’s very common for employers to evaluate a candidate's aptitude based on measurable factors, however it’s the intangible ones that will truly elevate the value of an organization. Companies like Southwest Airlines and Zappos all find great success hiring under a simple strategy: hire for attitude and train for skill. 

It makes sense when you think about your own experience of working on a team—one bad apple can spoil the entire barrel. On the flip side, one positive individual bringing new energy can uplift the entire team. If you’re looking to build a high-performance team and drive better results, focus on attitude. 

What to look for in potential candidates: 

1. Pay attention to what they CAN do. 

What they can do is linked to their reasoning abilities, the kinds of problems they can tackle, their speed of thought, and the type of situations they’re equipped to handle. If you need someone that’s able to learn a new skill, focus on this aspect. 

2. Find out what they WANT to do. 

This means, find out what motivates them to be better. Not everyone has a clear idea of what they want in life and career, that’s why it’s essential to dig deeper while interviewing. There are two basic kind of motivators you can identify:

The Pursuit of Rewards
• Having influence
• Lure of autonomy
• Freedom to create
• Excelling at tasks 

The Avoidance of Threats
• Constant need for security
• Avoidance of risk
• Only working in a disciplined environment
• Maintaining personal balance 

Proactive and high-performing candidates are always motivated by the pursuit of reward. They are the ones who will venture out of their comfort zones to reach higher. 

3. Evaluate behavior. 

Every organization and worksite has a mixture of normal and stressful situations. How one behaves in each situation depends on their personality. Personality in the workplace comes from candidate’s previous experience, their education and training, and past relationships with bosses and coworkers. There are many techniques to use behavioral interviewing tools in understanding how someone will perform. 

4. Curiosity.

Curiosity is the last thing to look for in a new hire. Someone who is inherently curious will be invested in their company, their team, and their projects. Curious people ask good questions, search for new ways to accomplish tasks, and make coworkers feel valued. Overall, you’re looking for their approach on life – their level of optimism, enthusiasm, passion, and openness.