Hiring for Attitude

When you’re making the decision on whom to hire- how much weight do you put on “attitude” vs. skill or experience?

The importance of “attitude” in a service-oriented environment:

As you look to hire and train your new employees, your overall goal is to prepare them to have a positive impact on the customer experience (however you define customer). Previous experience or skill helps to speed up their training period- but their attitude will make or break your customer’s experience.

Think of when you’ve been the recipient of that great attitude.  Do you remember the technique or skill provided?  Or do you remember the way in which the other individual treated you as a guest?  On the reverse side, do you remember when the attitude of someone turned you off to a service provider?

When we’re hiring in the service industry, it’s critical to ensure your top candidates have a strong positive attitude towards service.  The following are some steps to incorporate into your hiring process.

  1.  Define “attitude” for your culture.  Break it down into the key behaviors you need to see in your employees.  A solid culture assessment can help you identify where you need to focus.
  2. Incorporate behavior based interview techniques into your hiring process.  Make sure you’re focused on the key behaviors and competencies you need in your organization.
  3. Incorporate behavioral assessments.  Use proven assessments to help identify strong service attitudes in your candidates.
  4. Incorporate key behaviors into your job descriptions.  This allows you to set expectations up front and manage performance throughout employment.
  5. Orient your new employees to the expected attitude they should be demonstrating.
  6. Ensure you have a reward and recognition program in place to applaud the desired behavior.

We all dream of the employee whose philosophy is “I want to make every customer of mine know how important they are and they deserve the best I have to give- every encounter.”

Do your employees say the same thing about their motivators for providing excellent service? When you are hiring- do you look for the same motivators exhibited in this philosophy, or do you look for a warm body? One might get the work done- but the other will generate long term customer loyalty.

Written by Cathy Loudon, Executive Vice President of Horizon HR Solutions