Hiring Wisdom: Here’s Why You Always Need to Hire For Attitude

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Recently, I received an email offering a lifetime membership in my high school’s alumni network for half price (all of $29.95, so the following is not about the money).

I replied: “If I do not perceive I am getting any value after I join, do I have the right to cancel?”

Here is the actual response: “Please read our Terms of Service. We do not issue refunds. Sincerely, Dee Dee.”

Always hire for attitude, train for skills

While this may be a factual answer, someone with a customer service attitude would have answered differently. For instance: “Thanks for your inquiry. I am sorry to say we have a “no refund” policy. Please feel free to contact me if you have any other questions or concerns.”

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This is why it will always serve you best to hire for attitude and train for skills.

  • If you need customer service, hire a customer service attitude.
  • If you need safety, hire a safety attitude.
  • If you need dependability, hire a dependability attitude.
  • If you need a team player, hire a team player attitude.

This was originally published on Mel Kleiman’s Humetrics blog.

Mel Kleiman, CSP, is an internationally-known authority on recruiting, selecting, and hiring hourly employees. He has been the president of Humetrics since 1976 and has over 30 years of practical experience, research, consulting and professional speaking work to his credit. Contact him at mkleiman@humetrics.com.


4 Comments on “Hiring Wisdom: Here’s Why You Always Need to Hire For Attitude

  1. Yes! It’s amazing how many people are in, say, customer service jobs just because they were a warm body with a resume. Attitude is everything, and not everyone is cut out to do every “low level” job.

  2. Attitude for me comes first, qualification second when hiring, so I agree with you. The questions is though, how do you ‘test’ attitude within a 45min to 1hr interview?

    1. Hi Jantje. My answer to your question would be — you don’t. You need more time than that. I usually conduct three interviews (including the telephone screening) and it’s during the second and (mostly) third interview that I ask all my questions to get a better handle on attitude.

  3. Of course a interview is very important, but it’s just an impression of that moment. Also an (online) assessment gives information about level and characteristics, but no not how somebody will perform in the job with collegues. Especially in Customer service and sales jobs I am still amazed how little creative the interviewer (HR or management, director) are in prepairing and creating unexpected situations on that moment to observe how the candidate is reacting. Also it’s fun to do the out-of-the-box approach and keeps both alert; candidate and interviewer ; especially the personality, initiative , pro-active attitude can come out in these small practical cases. Also to come with imaginary cases (or those happened ”in real life” with in the job or your own job before) where they can think about their (unique) approach, you can observe what somebodies real motives are (or not). Just want a job, or really connect with the content en your company. People are nowadays perfectly verbally skilled, and also trained to hide the weak points (or let s say the possible issues for development), and present perfectly using the free of risk strategy. To ask questions how to react on certain situations or give them extreme situations with just a few (bad) choises, makes the total interview interesting. Of course some candidates will give complain about the interview : be happy you didnt offer them the job!

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