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When recruiting hire for attitude, train for skills


The pros and cons of the above statement have been argued over the years, but even if you are a company that requires a high level of skill in an employee (i.e. accountant, engineer), people with the right attitude are the key to success.

Studies show that skilled and experienced employees with rotten attitudes fail quickly. Here are some of the results of the studies:

“46 percent of new hires will fail within 18 months. Of those that don’t last, a full 89 percent lose their jobs due to something involving their attitude or personality…”

“These facts have proven true across industries, across social and economic boundaries, and in nearly every kind of position that requires contact with other human beings.” Adam Toren of Business.com. 

Examples are positions such as a retail salesperson, a flight attendant, a customer service representative, or an accountant.

But in addition to hiring for attitude, one core element of your hiring proposition should be hiring individuals whose personal values are in sync with the values and vision that make your organization tick. In this scenario, character counts far more than their credentials. Regardless of the level of skill required from a candidate, your focus should be assessing their attitude and whether they will fit in your company’s culture and practices. A good fit helps for retention of the employee once hired.

So how do you find these “right attitude” candidates? Your company’s Vision and Values should clearly reflect who you are and why you do what you do. They should attract the right potential candidate who is passionate about what you do and wants to be part of your company’s growth. Even at minimum wage, if you can attract candidates who want to be the best that they can be, you have a better opportunity to help them see a path to growth within your company.

For potential employees in difficult times the right attitude can get them the job. In a recent story on the Future of Work 2018, CEO of B.C.’s Restaurant and Food Services Association, Ian Tosteson states thatrestaurants will always take employees with the right disposition and the right attitude, no matter how hard the times.”

What are some of these right attitudes? Lynda Moultry Belcher(Small Business article) lists the following Five Attitudes That Are Important in Workplaces:

  • Respect for Others
  • Infectious Enthusiasm
  • Commitment to the Job
  • Innovative Ideas
  • Helpfulness

You may require additional attitudes like providing excellent customer service, but hiring employees with those right attitudes is key to success. As Brody Funk – Owner of The Super Plumber stated (“Up At Night interview”) “I hire for attitude and personality and then train for the technical and sales skills.” His successful plumbing business is based on the “radical notion that the primary product is people, not toilets and hot water tanks”. I would say that his right attitude is a reason for his company’s success.

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