Hire Attitude - Train Skill

Dr. Purushothaman
November 22, 2013

Attitude is defined as ones' feelings or mood - Positive or negative - toward things, circumstances or people. No matter how you may choose to define attitude, it is one of your "most priceless" or disabling possessions.

You, and only you, are in charge of your attitude! You must realize that your attitude is your choice to make, and that you alone can decide how to deal with events in your life. Your attitude will determine how you position yourself in life and what you get or don't get out of life.

Attitude is important because attitude is everything! It drives virtually every decision you make and how you live each day of your life. Your attitude either propels you forward or holds you back.

Attitude is a reflection of the person inside, and while the external circumstances in your life can be chaotic, with a great attitude you can sill chart your path.

Viktor Frankel, psychologist and survivor of the World War II holocaust, observed a few men in the concentration camps walking through the huts comforting others, giving proof that everything can be taken from a human, but the last of human freedoms - the choice of ones attitude in any given circumstance – can not be taken.

I have had the pleasure of hiring directly or indirectly thousands of people throughout my career. I have also experienced the distasteful process of having to fire individuals. I have never fired someone for lack of skills; it has always been based on behavioral problems. I did not fire them for a bad attitude, but rather for specific behavioral problems which were as a result of their attitude. Because of my experience I have developed eight rules for hiring from the outside and for promoting from within.

Eight Rules for Hiring Smart

1. Hire attitude, train skill. (Southwest Airlines mantra)

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2. Hire people for "who they are" first, and "what they know" second. What they Know, and will need to know, changes, Who they Are Doesn't.

3. Hire people first with the right mind-set, and second with the right tool-set.

4. Hire people who have a demonstrated record of life-long learning and the "application" of that learning.

5. The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. Ask interview questions that get them to talk about how they have reacted in certain situations (change, stress, wins, conflict, deadlines, teamwork, etc.) Listen to learn.

6. Hire people who are passionate and have accomplished things in their life.

7. Look for energy, humor, spirit and self-confidence, and a great attitude.

8. Hire people who are excited about managing their own career, contributing to the greater good of the organization and involved in the community. Great people are normally greatly involved!

The most common - and fatal - hiring mistake is to find someone with the right skills but the wrong mind-set and hire them on the theory, "We can change them."

Hiring smart is productive, not doing so is unproductive.

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