Wednesday, 10 February 2010

“She was good at serving coffee”: Hiring On Attitude

I asked a client where he’d found his latest recruit.

“She was good at serving coffee”.

He’d met her working part time in a coffee shop and had liked her attitude. Once they got talking and discovered she was looking for a new role, he snapped her up. It wasn’t about her skills, it was her attitude.

And a reminder of the importance of hiring on attitude/culture. Because you can teach skills, but (usually) you can’t teach attitude. Last year I sat in on some interviews where my client was recruiting for a customer-facing role. Every candidate had the right skills and experience, but not everyone had that culture fit.

When I was a manager in my 20s I sometimes took company culture for granted, assuming most candidates could soak it in. I was wrong; I made a couple of hires where the person didn’t fit and that led to issues over productivity and team dynamics. But one hire stands out: the guy had been working at a casino. He had buckets of passion and enthusiasm, a great personality but zero experience. I hired him and we trained him up. All my clients loved him.

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