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Bad hires cost you a lot more than paying to train your interviewers to become skilled. Here’s how to hire candidates who have an attitude to achieve — high performers — not impostors.


In hiring, your best candidates don’t always have the best skills or intelligence. High performing organizations typically have an emotionally intelligent culture.

In this increasingly competitive marketplace, successful companies hire people who are motivation-based.

Why settle for less?

Employers always regret hiring people who can skillfully do a job or got good grades in school, but lack emotional intelligence. Skill sets no longer adequately substitute for motivation.

Characteristics of weak employees range from people who fail to adequately contribute to the welfare of the organization or who have a tendency to offend others from co-workers to customers.

Bad hire

Just one bad hire can hurt your organization’s culture. Only hire the best performers.

When some employers seek to terminate undesirable employees, they fail to cite specific examples of behavior and performance. Instead, they often mistakenly use the word, attitude, in terminations. That’s when it often becomes nearly impossible to fire people and avoid legal problems.

Therefore, interviewers must be able to ascertain candidates for energetic, positive mindsets – another way of saying the dirty words, positive attitude.

Beware, Internet-savvy people have learned to answer questions in a positive light but aren’t authentic and motivated. It’s not enough for you to ask, “Are you motivated?”

Characteristics for which to screen

You need to hire people who focus on results, not prone to giving excuses.

This means high-performing candidates who display an optimism about making a difference – people who doggedly focus, have great listening skills, and who persevere in focusing on solutions because they have a passion for excellence.

After all, a positive attitude will be your No. 1 predictor of how a candidate will perform.

So, always interview with questions about obstacles that candidates have overcome. Learn how hard the person strove to be triumphant in solving problems.

Be careful about people who say they have good intentions but say they lacked control in pursuing goals. Delve into their problem-solving efforts, tenacity and taking ownership.

Listen for excuses, justifications or blaming others and their tendency to shed responsibility.

Your interview process should screen for the three A’s – attitude, appearance and ability.

Actually, there’s a fourth A for which to screen: Angle. Hire people who understand human nature, other persons’ perspectives and how to communicate with them.

Where to start

Start where the proverbial tire meets the road – your interviewers, which usually means training them to become skilled in interviewing.

They need to be trained in how to ask effective interview questions. Effective interview questions focus on learning candidates’ attitudes and motivations.

Establish a plan to only hire high performers. Make it a mission for your organization and hold your interviewers accountable for results.

Next, turn your attention to your poor performers. Coach your employees to better performance.

However, if your efforts fail, implement strategies to reshape your staff to cut costs and avoid lawsuits.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are related management tips:

HR – Update Your Approach to Interviewing Applicants — In the hiring process, certainly you need to learn how applicants, think, work and perform. But many types of interview questions have become outdated. Here are best practices.

Human Resources – 5 Insights to Hire the Best Performers — One good hire can help improve your culture. Conversely, just one bad hire can hurt your workplace culture. Here’s how to hone your instincts to hire the best.

Appreciating Your Workers Will Pay Dividends…Here’s How — Here’s why and how you might incorporate more displays of recognition and gratitude in your workplace to improve your organization.

Management – Improve Communication, Stop Rumor Mill — Gossiping and rumors hurt your staff morale and organizational performance. Such toxicity and negativity can also lead to expensive lawsuits. Here’s what you can do as a manager.

Understanding Your Employees Is Key to Beat Competitors — Here are the keys to winning in your workplace and ultimately winning in your marketplace.

“We all prospect, and don’t even know we’re doing it. When you start the dating process, you are actually prospecting for the person you want to marry. When you’re interviewing employees, you are prospecting for someone who will best fit your needs.”

-Zig Ziglar


Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.