The idea is indisputable; fantastic employees are what underpin flourishing companies. The key question is, who should you hire and what attributes should they possess? More and more organisations are reaping the benefits of effective recruitment strategies and are realising skills are only half the package.
When businesses stop to analyse hiring mistakes, the evidence is clear; the attitudes of employees are harder to improve than their skill set. The key to effective recruitment is to master the technique of assessing candidates’ interview manner, their ability to build rapport and their enthusiasm towards future outlooks.
Unfortunately, many employers still place too much emphasis on the knowledge base and skill-set of potential employees instead of focusing on whether or not their character will allow them to adapt and learn within the existing culture. They are missing the key to success. Truly successful organisations are moving towards an interactive internal structure because even the most skilful people can have little desire to apply themselves to team-based objectives. All too soon these people can become a cog in the chain, hindering business growth and success.
While you need to understand the level of skills a candidate has, the long-term damage caused by apathetic employees through poor attitudes outweighs the importance of skills in the long term
So, how can you recruit right the first time?
Here are some simple ways to ensure that you are taking onboard someone who is excited about the role they play in the future of the business and is truly enthusiastic about contributing to its overall success.
1. Paint a Picture
When advertising for a position, write in a way that briefly mentions the skills and knowledge needed, but more importantly, allows candidates to be engaged so that they can imagine themselves working in a position within your business. That way, your starting point is an applicant list with a valid interest in your culture. If you allow candidates to align their values with the values of your business, you position yourself well to assess these values during the interview.
2. Ask the RIGHT questions
When conducting telephone screens or face-to-face interviews always ask candidates to explain by relating back to their previous experience. Your questions need to be open and objective. You want to gather, if they not only have the ability to recognise the attitude you are after but also whether they have actively practiced this in the past. Try to avoid just asking the candidate what they would do in your particular scenario, as many have the ability to feign their attitudes, for the purpose of getting hired. Spend time focusing on understanding ‘how’ they have done it in the past, drawing on as many relevant scenarios, both in and out of the workplace, that they can think of. How have they chosen to do their jobs in the past? When have they participated in a team before? How have they faced challenges? Through this method, you have assessed both what attitudes candidates think are appropriate and when they have demonstrated them before. Although some candidates may find this method frustrating, even that is a display of an attitude.
3. Show and Tell
Take responsibility for a truly mutual fit by offering the candidate the opportunity to experience ‘a day in the life of’. This is often the best way to assess someone’s actual attitude and ability to fit in with the team. A poker face can only last so long and when you ask someone to actually produce some real work, the mask will often fade away.
4. Test it out
A fair probationary period, coupled with structured feedback points will allow you to see if the candidates have truly adapted to their surroundings and determine whether or not they are operating in line with the culture of the business. Remember, they may be excellent at achieving technical outcomes and they may meet all skill-based KPIs, but are your other skilled staff working contentedly alongside them? For this reason, clear expectations around the importance of attitude is key, in addition to constant feedback, positive and negative, about how they are contributing to business goals.