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Hiring for attitude, not just skills

The work force today is filled with qualified individuals with all the skills you could possibly want-just not the attitude that fits in with your company. Many individuals go to work each day just looking for a paycheck, but not caring about the way the business is run or the kind of service they give. This makes it difficult to run your business as smoothly as possible. Employees who are only there for a paycheck are not likely to invest time and emotion in improving your business.

But how do you, as a business owner, find an employee who will have the attitude you're looking for? Things like a passion for your product or a love of the company or a strong work ethic are valuable attitudes that can improve your business. So as a business owner, you need to devise a way to hire for attitude, not just skills.

First you must determine what the right attitude for your workplace is. Some work environments are naturally stricter. Others may have a more relaxed atmosphere. For example, a person who borders on being a workaholic may not be the right employee for a quiet coffee shop. A relaxed surf-bum type may not fit in well in a corporate board room.

While these examples of potential employees may have the skills necessary to get the job done, their attitude may not be right for your business. You must decide exactly what you want in an employee: a workaholic or a more laid back person; a slightly pushy salesman type, or a more subtle, reserved person.

One way to do this is to advertise for specific qualities you want in a new employee. Let's say you own a bookstore and are looking for a new sales associate. On your "help wanted" sign you might write something like this: "Are you passionate about books? Do you spend your days longing to be surrounded by great literature?" Then when interviewing a person for the job, you ask them questions about their favorite books or what they've read recently, etc. If they seem excited and intrigued at the possibility of working at a book store, then you may take into consideration their specific skills and qualifications for the job.

You may also want to ask previous employers about their interests and passions. If your potential employee claims to be a great lover of literature, but their previous three employees and two references have never seen this person read a book, you may want to reconsider hiring them.

Another thing you may want to consider when hiring someone is their attitude towards work in general. Finding a person who is happy at the workplace will surely improve the atmosphere at work, as well as the contentment of your other employees and customers or clients.

To determine if they have the attitude as well as skills you're looking for, contact previous employers and inquire about their behavior around the workplace. You may also want to ask religious leaders, former youth leaders, landlords, etc., about what kind of work ethic your potential employee has.

Some companies decide that having an employee with the kind of attitude they want is more important than skills. They hire people according to their work ethic, interests, passions and personality. If the person they hire happens to have all the skills they're looking for in an employee, that's great. If not, the company will train the new employees until they've gained the desired skills. In hiring employees in this way, companies are able to attain the best of both worlds: they have employees with the attitude they want in their company, as well as the skills necessary to achieve the company's aims.

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