The Interview Was a Flop, But I Hire You!

Hiring for attitude reduces the risk of early contract termination, Here's why.

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A few years ago an Hiring Manager contacted me by e-mail after a job interview with a candidate I recommended him.

And he wrote this message:

“Hi Davide, well done. Your candidate didn’t do well on the interview yesterday, but I want to hire him. He did not answer some questions, could not explain well where he see yourself in 5 years. Perhaps, He was nervous, perhaps some questions were not that good. He also had less experience than what the job description called for. But I want to give him a chance. I saw something in him — his passion, his honesty, his empathy…Yes, I want to hire this person and not be obsessed with the job description for this role. You know if we do not take risks on people, we are not managers and leaders.”

I tell you this short story to show the concept behind “hiring for attitude”:

About 46% of the people about to be hired will fail within the first 18 months on the job. And they won’t fail for lack of skills but rather for lack of attitude. So a study by Mark Murphy, CEO of Leadership IQ, has discovered in research on 20,000 new hires over a three-year period.

Infact skilled and experienced employees with rotten attitudes fail quickly. Unskilled and inexperienced employees with excellent attitudes succeed in the long run.

Attitude is a reflection of personality, which is unlikely to change, skills can be taught. That’s the key.

Therefore hiring Managers in fast-changing workplaces often choose candidates based on their personality traits. Flexibility, passion, and accountability are all attractive qualities in a prospective candidate and hiring someone without these characteristics often results in them failing in the position within the first few months, in particular for entry-level positions.

They know that lack of ability to receive or act upon feedback, lack of motivation, and unsuitable temperaments as the most common reasons for early contract termination. If you hire for attitude, the risk of this occurring is greatly reduced, which saves the company time, money and effort.

Furthermore to make less mistakes and do not waste the time it’s helpful to plan a successful recruitment strategy for the company evaluating the attitudes and personality traits of best performing staff and using this to define desirable characteristics in potential candidates and then turning the hiring and interview process focus on those attitudes. It means also defining the specific attitudes (both good and bad) that make a specific organization different from all the rest.

Obviously there is no universally a perfect attitude. There’s the right attitude for your organization and culture, but that same great attitude could be a great mistake at a different company.

But Hiring for the right attitude is not easy and Recruiters, HR Managers must learn new skills on how to do it in a correct way.

First of all we have to rethink how asking the correct job interview questions to get candidates to tell the truth, assessing their right attitudes.

Infact on the one hand it’s crucial to structure questions that candidates may not be prepared to answer, and on the other hand you should have a list of the critical high and low performer attitudes that predict success and failure in your organisation. After that you can use this to define desirable and undesirable characteristics in potential candidates and then turning the entire interview process focus on those aspects.

There is still a lot to learn to understand how to select the best staff.

Good Luck !

Originally published at

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