Category Archives: Skills

Hire for ATTITUDE, Not Just Knowledge and Skills

AttitudeHave you found yourself in a position when you hired someone who was extremely impressive during the interview but didn’t perform well after joining the organization? Ever wondered what went wrong?

Well, you hired the wrong person, and it’s the hiring process that needs to be blamed. You probably focused on the candidate’s knowledge and skills, but missed one key component – ATTITUDE.

A “successful” hire is the one who possesses all the three: Attitude (A), Skills (S), and Knowledge (K), or simply put “ASK.”

  1. Knowledge – It is the understanding of the domain related to the job. If you are hiring someone to work in the Telecom industry, you would want the person to have at least some basic knowledge of that domain.
  2. Skills – These reflect the ability of the person to perform tasks associated with the job. If the job requires the person to manage projects, you need to evaluate for project management skills. If it’s a customer-facing role, communication and negotiation skills become most important, and so on.
  3. Attitude – It is shaped by the intrinsic beliefs of the person. It defines the person’s behavior i.e., how well the person will use his knowledge and skills to perform the job. It influences how well the person will adapt to the new work environment, respond to and internalize new teachings, deal with failure, work with colleagues, and so forth.

While it’s easy to coach the person to acquire new knowledge and skills, it’s hard to influence and shape his attitude.

Therefore, it becomes even more prudent to assess for attitude. So, how do you really find out if the candidate has the right attitude for the job? Here’s a two-step process that you may find useful:

Step 1: Identify key job-related attitudinal behaviors – First, define what are the key behaviors required for succeeding in the job. For example, if you are hiring for a high-stress customer-servicing role, your ideal hire would be someone who is patient and has a calm and composed temperament. If you are hiring for a teaching profile, the best fit would be someone who is caring, has empathy, and encourages creativity.

Step 2: Ask targeted questions to test for those specific behaviors – Once you know the desired behaviors, you should focus on behavioral questions to identify suitable candidates. Ask them how they reacted to/dealt with a similar situation in the past.

Here are some sample questions:

  • Tell me about a situation when you had to deal with a difficult customer and how you handled it. [Temperament]
  • How do you make out what your team members are feeling? [Empathy]
  • What did you do when you received negative feedback from your manager? [Resilience]
  • Have you had an experience of working in a team that didn’t get along well? What did you do?  [Team playing]
  • Describe a situation when you were able to save yourself time or money? [Resourcefulness]

So, what are your thoughts on the ASK principle. What techniques do you use to assess candidates’ ASK? Let us know in the comments below.

Posted By Mallika Arora, Co-founder, TalentNiti


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Filed under Hiring, Interviewing, Screening, Skills