The saying “Hire for attitude and train for skill” is often echoed by business leaders, and the importance of personal attributes has facts to back it up. 89 percent of new hires that leave an organization within 18 months do so because of attitude reasons, and not for lack of skill, according to a Leadership IQ study. A candidate with potential, but lacking experience, can be trained—but mindset and other personality traits cannot. Learn how to determine how to hire for attitude and potential over set skills or experience:

Outline What Attributes Contribute to Success

Targeting candidates for potential is not simply just “winging it” or trusting your gut instinct. For this hiring style to be effective, there must be a clearly defined set of attributes that you systemically look for in candidates. What are the main personality traits that contribute the most to success at your organization? These may vary significantly by industry and company culture. Prioritize the most important attributes that candidates need to have before you implement your candidate search.

Examine Behavior, Not Theory

The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. When interviewing candidates, ask for specific examples of how they’ve previously handled situations that are applicable to the job.  This is generally more eye-opening than asking “What if…” questions where candidates are likely to tell you what they think you want to hear, which doesn’t indicate much in terms of potential performance.

For example, if your company looks for proactive workers open to learning, ask for examples about times they didn’t know how to perform a task at work and how they overcame it. A candidate without some of the technical training you’re looking for may impress you with an anecdote of asking questions and researching to handle a task on her own.

Accept What Cannot Be Changed

While certain behaviors can be controlled, overall inherent personality traits cannot be changed. If a candidate has all of the right qualifications on paper, but doesn’t have the personal attributes you’re looking for, it will most likely not improve over time and prevent the candidate from being as successful as possible. If you’re hesitant on passing over a candidate with skills to pick a candidate with potential to train, just remember: only 11 percent of bad hires are due to lack of skills or experience, while the above mentioned 89 percent is attitude not fitting in.

Elevate Your Staff by Partnering with PrideStaff Akron!

Finding candidates with the right potential is a targeted process that can require a great deal of time and attention. PrideStaff is an experienced staffing firm serving the greater Akron area, and we specialize in recruiting top candidates to fit our clients’ unique business strategies. Contact PrideStaff Akron today to learn more about our staffing services.


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