How hiring for attitude and cultural fit must be part of a Manager’s Mantra.

So you want to hire for attitude. We’ve all interviewed candidates who appear to be great. Their CV looks good, they interview well, their psychometric results indicate a strong match, references check out, and yet after a short time and often towards the end of the so called honeymoon period, cracks start to show. They start to go AWOL, lack urgency, not playing well with others, a lot of noise around them, lack of outcomes, and the excuse book comes out.

You start to think what is going wrong? What did we miss at appointment, and what are we still missing, what did we not do etc…We have all been there!

So here are a few tips and interview ideas that have helped many a hiring manager to cut through all the “noise” and actually hire talent with the technical skills, and with a great attitude and cultural fit.

  1. Standard interview questions do not assess attitude
  2. Don’t ask leading questions – They give the candidates a lead in to highlight strengths and hide weaknesses.
  3. Be aware of problem bringers V solvers* – Bringers talk about the problem all day and do nothing to fix, problem solvers are the ones who create a solution or find others who can. A possible sign of a candidate being a “problem bringer” is the number of times they have changed jobs without plausible reasons.

Even though we would naturally believe new hires fail due to lack of technical experience, 89% of the time it was for attitudinal reasons. In some cases they were not coachable, or did not possess sufficient emotional intelligence or motivation, or they just didn’t sync with the organisation. Whatever the particulars, having the wrong attitude is what defines the wrong person the majority of the time.

So, here are some ideas to consider:

  • Look for positive past business relationships from background checks
  • Look for flexibility around time for interviews and meetings
  • Responsiveness (e.g. they promptly return calls, sms, and email)
  • Looking to learn new skills and happy to pass on their own
  • Trust your instincts.

Even the best checks and research can result in cultural misalignment, so if you have the slightest doubt, don’t hire.

Are we working with them to bring out the best of their ability, are we getting the best out of them by the way we support them, again this goes back to cultural fit. Once we hired the person, the on boarding and the development and embedding must continue. This will look like kicking small goals, and some larger ones along the way, developing the internal relationships with the new employee, to embed company values and DNA into their mindset and behaviors, to build trust to enable a safe way for them to develop, and introducing them to other team support to help educate them in the ‘nuances” of the business.
Remember employees leave their managers not their companies, and as a Manager hiring the right people is probably the most important aspect of your job.
Good luck and above all have fun!