Tag Archives: hiring process

How to Hire for Attitude: 5 Steps

What do companies like Southwest Airlines, Ritz-Carlton and Zappos have in common? They hire for attitude and train for skill.

It’s a simple mantra but one that has a profound impact on how to successfully recruit and select new employees.

Prioritizing Soft Skills

During their hiring process, these companies weigh “attitudinal” characteristics very heavily.

These are personal attributes that it’s difficult to train employees on — such as being a people-person, having an upbeat personality or possessing a keen ability to learn.

While these firms won’t ignore technical skills (Southwest doesn’t put unqualified pilots in the cockpit, no matter how bright and cheery they are) they nonetheless look very carefully at these soft skills — far more than most employers do.

These companies gain a lot from this hiring strategy. By focusing on attitudinal characteristics that align with their company brand, these companies reinforce their distinctive company culture with each new hire.

And because they’re hiring people whose values align with that culture, the result is a workforce that’s happier, more engaged and less likely to turn over.

But the benefits of this hiring process don’t stop there. When a workforce embodies the company brand (think how Southwest employees exude “fun”), it differentiates the customer experience where it counts most — in consumers’ one-on-one interactions with your staff.

If you have any doubt about the power of that dynamic, just consider how Southwest, Ritz-Carlton and Zappos have dominated their respective markets.

Five Steps to Hiring for Attitude

So how should you go about hiring for attitude, seeding your workforce with true brand ambassadors? You could run your applicants through personality tests and behavioral assessments — but that can be pricey, time-consuming and onerous for the candidates.

Fortunately, there are other approaches you can employ to put this strategy in practice. Here are five simple, low-cost ways to hire for attitude:

1. Be clear about expectations.

Take advantage of candidate self-selection by clearly broadcasting what qualities you look for when bringing on staff.

For example, if you tell the world that you’re in the market for extroverts – fewer introverts will apply (and that’s a good outcome for you and them).

By defining what personal qualities you’re searching for up-front, you make it more likely that candidates with those attributes will throw their hats into the ring.

2. Be aggressive.

Don’t just wait for people with the right attitude to apply for a job – spot them in the marketplace and make your pitch!

When you see someone who clearly embodies the qualities you want on your team, give her your card and invite her to apply for employment.

As any great recruiter knows, that extremely attentive waiter, remarkably patient sales associate or well-spoken repairman could be your next great hire.

3. Focus on the person behind the paper.

Gauging attitude from a resume requires insight and vision. Consider how the personal qualities you seek would manifest themselves in a candidate’s resume and background.

For example, individuals who are adept at overcoming adversity may have demonstrated that spirit in how they responded to a layoff. People-oriented extroverts may belong to a variety of business associations and community groups. Skilled communicators will likely design and organize their resume content in exceptional ways.

In addition, your interview questions can also reveal attitudinal characteristics. Looking for someone with customer service in his DNA? Ask about the most over-the-top service he ever delivered (the best service people never forget such stories).

Looking for someone with a sense of humor? Ask about the time she laughed the hardest.

Whatever attitude you seek to hire, the key is to look beyond the words on the resume and search for more subtle clues about a candidate’s character.

4. Observe applicants when they think no one is watching.

Want to see a candidate’s true colors? Then see how he behaves when he thinks no one is watching.

How did the applicant treat your receptionist? Did he strike up a conversation with other applicants in the waiting room? Did he eat alone in the cafeteria or introduce himself to a table of strangers?

What the candidate says and does outside of the hiring manager’s view can give you a glimpse into her true personality (which may differ from how she presents in an interview). Use these clues to help judge if the applicant will really be a good fit in the culture you’re cultivating.

5. Enlist today’s stars to spot tomorrow’s standouts.

Toward the end of the hiring process, see if it’s possible to have your job finalists spend some time shadowing existing employees.

This serves two objectives. First, candidates get an unfiltered look at the job they’d be performing, so there’s less chance of unpleasant surprises and post-hire buyers’ remorse.

Second, by pairing these finalists with the best employees (the ones who embody the desired attitude), your existing staff can help identify those applicants who have the right stuff.

Hiring for attitude is about building a distinctive workplace culture and company brand that, unlike skill sets, can’t easily be copied in the market. It’s what gives Southwest Airlines, Ritz-Carlton and Zappos their unique character — and competitive advantage.

Follow the lead of these legendary firms as you look to recruit great candidates. Don’t just hire for skill; hire for attitude. It makes all the difference.

This article originally appeared on monster.com.

4 Keys to Competitiveness in the New Economy

This post is the first of a four-part series.

Ask any business owner today how the marketplace has treated them the last few years, and you’ll hear a recurring theme: “It’s been hard.” But some have learned how to improve their risk management and shore up several facets of their business where profit leaks can occur. You can explore your own vulnerabilities to claims and correct them by following a system known as “PX4.”

The 4 P’s are:

1. Pre-Hire : What does your hiring process look like?

2. Post-Offer: What should you be doing after you’ve offered someone a job?

3. Pre-Claim: What policies and procedures do you have in place before you have your next loss (whether via workers’ compensation or something else)?

4. Post-Claim: What systems do you have in place to keep yourself and the insurance carriers from losing money because of things you let fall through the cracks?

We’ll cover the first P in this article, then discuss each of the other three in subsequent pieces, as we cover the concept of TCOR (Total Cost of Risk) and lay out tools you can use to streamline and organize various aspects of your business, such as training and claims management. Our goal is for you to take away several insights that could save your company hundreds of thousands of dollars or maybe even millions of dollars in lost profits and revenues.

Pre-Hire

If you’ve had to deal with an employee lawsuit in the past few years, you know they’re frustrating and lead to a major loss of profits. Lawsuits can come from many issues; for this series, we’ll cover lawsuits coming from EEOC issues or workers’ compensation claims.

In the last 10 years, the settlement costs of lawsuits have risen to more than $310,000. If you were sued by one of your employees, and the settlement was a mere $15,000, how much do you think that would cost your company? Would you be surprised to learn a claim like that would cost your company more than $50,000? If your profit margins were 4%, it would take you $1,250,000 in additional sales to make up for that loss.

Reducing your risk is critical to your bottom line. Business risk can take many forms, such as:

1. Financial Risk: Asset price volatility (currency, interest rates, material and labor costs)

2. Operational Risk: Efficiency, productivity, etc.

3. Hazard Risk: Lawsuits, insurance claims (workers’ comp, general liability, fire, etc.)

Of those three areas, companies are surprised to learn that operational risk is the costliest to companies. Although hazard risks are expensive, they can be transferred through the purchase of insurance policies.

To reduce your risk, you must begin with an assessment of your hiring practices. Do you feel like you have a watertight system in place, or have you gotten rusty because you’ve not been doing a lot of hiring in the past several years? Do you feel you’re using good employment applications and asking appropriate questions?

What successful companies realize is that the effectiveness of their hiring can be a great indicator for profitability in the future. Studies have shown that hiring the wrong person can be very costly, and not only from the loss of productivity or from having to find a replacement; bad hires can be fertile ground for workers’ compensation claims.

To avoid bad hires, it is always wise to request a Motor Vehicle Report on potential hires from a vendor who specializes in that service. A couple of good sources are the Insurance Information Exchange (www.iix.com) or LexisNexis Employment Screening (www.screennow.com).

You may also want to consider conducting a personality profile to make sure you don’t hire the proverbial “dog that can point but that can’t hunt”—someone who can tell you exactly what you want to hear but who isn’t a good fit for your company. Predictive Results (www.predictiveresults.com) and Zero Risk HR (www.zeroriskhr.com) are two companies that specialize in personality profiles; they claim a 96% success rate in helping you make sure you’re hiring the best person.

Back ground checks have become a routine part of the pre-hire process these days. You can contact First Advantage (www.FADV.com), Edge Information Management (www.edgeinformation.com) or National Crime Search (www.nationalcrimesearch.com ) for this important process.

Getting the Pre-Hire process right will get you moving in the right direction but is just the start. In our next post, we’ll look at the second part of the “PX4” plan – The Post –Offer process. 

Want To Know Where You Could Be Losing Profits?

This is the second article in a five-part series on risk management. Additional articles in this series can be found here: Part 1, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5.

Has your company had to deal with an employee lawsuit in the past few years?

If you have, you know they are frustrating and costly, and are a major loss of profits when they occur. Lawsuits can come from many issues. For this series, we'll reference lawsuits coming from Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issues or Workers' Compensation claims.

You first need to understand an underlying principle that reducing your business risk as a company is critical to your company's bottom line. If you reduce your risk, you will in turn help to increase your profitability as a company. Business risk can take on many forms such as:

  1. Financial Risk: Asset price volatility (currency, interest rates, material & labor costs)
  2. Operational Risk: Efficiency / productivity
  3. Hazard Risk: Lawsuits, Insurance Claims (Work Comp, General liability, Fire)

In the last 10 years, the settlement costs of lawsuits have risen to over $310,000. If you were sued by one of your employees, and the settlement was a mere $15,000, how much do you think that would cost your company? Would you be surprised to learn a claim like that would cost your company over $50,000? If your profit margins in this example were 4%, it would take you $1,250,000 in additional sales to make up for that loss.

To better understand how risk impacts your bottom line, you need to know about the study of Total Cost of Risk (TCOR) which we will discuss later in this series.

In our previous article, we referenced a system for increasing your profitability called the “4P” plan. The first section of this plan is called the “Pre-Hire” process. It begins with an assessment of your hiring practices. What does your hiring process look like these days? Do you feel like you have a good water tight system in place for the hiring of new employees, or have you gotten rusty since you’ve not been doing a lot of hiring in the past several years? Do you feel like you’re using good employment applications and asking appropriate questions?

What successful companies have come to realize is how effective you are in your hiring process can be a great indicator for your profitability in the future. It always pays to hire “good” people. Studies have shown that hiring the “wrong” person can be very costly in the loss of productivity from having to find someone new to take their place and can be fertile ground for higher Workers’ Compensation claims when they occur.

In the Pre-Hire process, it is always wise to request a Motor Vehicle Report (MVR) on your potential candidates from a vendor who specializes in that service. A couple good sources for this are the Insurance Information Exchange or LexisNexis Employment Screening.

You may also want to consider having a Personality Profile processed for your potential candidates to help ensure you’re hiring the “right” person for the job. Predictive Results and Zero Risk HR are two companies that specialize in this area and report a 96% success rate in helping you make sure you’re hiring the best person for the position. Many people have hired the proverbial “dog that can point that can’t hunt”. I trust you know who those people are: they tell you exactly what you want to hear, but are just not a good fit for your company.

Background checks have become a routine part of the pre-hire process these days. You can reach out to First Advantage, Edge Information Management or National Crime Search as options for this important process.

In our next article in this series, we’ll look at the second part of the “4P” plan — The Post–Offer process and it’s importance to your profitability.