The labor market is tight. Many would say brutal. As a result, numerous companies now realize that if they can’t hire people with the right skills, they’ve got to develop skills in the right people.
Which many define as people with the right attitude.
But what is meant by attitude? It immediately brings to mind the simplistic idea that people either have a “good” attitude or a “poor” attitude. But what does that mean?
Instead of attitude, I find it much more helpful to think in terms of traits. Ask yourself what are the traits you should look for in potential employees. Here are three of the many traits I think are important:
Do you want people who simply take orders or do you want people who can think for themselves and take action? Right. Here is a series of interview questions to test for initiative:
Tell me about a recent experience when you took initiative at work. What was the situation and why did you take initiative? (This gives you insight into their motivation.) What action did you take and what was the outcome? (Ask for another example that doesn’t have to be recent.)
People want to be around people who are positive. Negative people sap energy and erode morale. Here are some questions to ask references:
What interacting with colleagues, does Joe tend to energize them, bring them down, or neither? If they answer either “energize them” or “bring them down”, ask: Why do you say that? (Was it observation, testimonials or hearsay?)
Would you say Joe is more of a positive person, a negative person, or a neutral person? If they answer either “positive” or “negative”, ask: What does Joe do that leads you to believe that?
You want employees who are going to give you discretionary effort, not just the mandatory effort needed to keep their jobs. Here is a series of interview questions to ask:
Have you been in a situation recently when you worked extra hours? What was the situation and why did you work the extra hours? (Again, answering the “why” question gives you insight into their motivation.) How did you feel about working the extra hours?
You may not always find the skills and experience you’re looking for when hiring. But whether you find them or not, make sure you hire people with the right traits.
Make it happen.