The Crucial Role of Attitude in Hiring: Beyond Technical Skills

In the competitive landscape of today’s job market, hiring the right talent is a critical factor in an organization’s success. You may have heard the phrase “hire for attitude, train for skill” but how does that manifest in reality?

In Mark Murphy’s Hiring for Attitude research, it was unveiled that a substantial 46% of new employees fail within 18 months of hire, with an overwhelming 89% of these failures attributed to attitudinal reasons rather than a lack of technical skills.

The revelation does not suggest that technical skills should take a back seat in the hiring process. In fact, many industries have well-established methods for evaluating technical competencies. This research shed a light on a significant aspect that is often overlooked during the hiring process – attitude.

Murphy posits that an individual’s performance results from a blend of skills and attitudes, categorizing individuals into four types: the bless-their-hearts, talented terrors, low performers, and high performers.

Avoiding Bad Hires

Murphy identifies five key reasons for new hires’ failure, focusing on coachability, emotional intelligence, motivation, temperament, and technical competence. These factors interplay to determine an employee’s success or failure within an organization.

Below are some strategies to avoid “bad” hires:

Identifying performers

To steer clear of hiring missteps, leaders must discern differentiating characteristics. Murphy introduces the 3-3-3 method – analyzing the attitudes of the three best and three worst employees over the past three years. This serves as a foundation for developing interview questions that unearth high-performer traits. Furthermore, helping pinpoint traits detrimental to organizational success, especially role-specific nuances like lack of initiative or resistance to change.

Behavioral Interview Questions

The Behavioral Interview Process (BEI) is a structured approach that delves into real-world experiences, essential for successful job performance. Murphy advocates for crafting thoughtful behavioral questions that uncover genuine insights rather than rehearsed responses.

Crafting Questions

Leaders should choose high-performer characteristics, identify scenarios revealing these traits, and ask open-ended questions like “Could you tell me about a time you [insert situation identified].”

Avoid Leading Questions

Crucially, questions should be left open-ended to avoid leading candidates into rehearsed responses, fostering a more authentic exchange.

For more information on the Behavioral Event Interview, you can refer to this article.

In today’s dynamic job market, where adaptability and collaboration are paramount, acknowledging the importance of attitude alongside technical skills becomes a strategic imperative. By integrating these insights into hiring practices, organizations can not only mitigate the risks of bad hires but also cultivate a workforce aligned with the values and culture of the organization, fostering long-term success and resilience.





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