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Attitude is Everything – In an Interview AND On the Job

One of the best business quotes I ever read was attributed to Walt Disney and it goes like this:

“You hire the attitude. You can train the skill.”

This is something I strongly believe in and you can see this throughout my blog articles. Attitude IS everything, not only when interviewing for a job but also when you’re a new employee looking to make the best impression.

As a Hiring Manager, I’m looking for candidates that display those skills that not only make for a great interview but lead to success once they are on the job.

Attitude is one of the traits that ranks high on my list.

It’s been my experience that candidates who show a great attitude in the interview also have a great attitude when they get the job.

Meet Fred

Here’s a perfect example.

A few years ago I hired a worker from a temporary agency to assist my computer support team on a large computer upgrade project. This involved swapping out old desktop computers for new ones.

Since this doesn’t require a high level of technical skill, the experience requirements I gave to the temp agency were very low. All that was required was someone with enough knowledge to disconnect an old computer and reconnect a new one.

The person they sent me, let’s call him Fred, was 22 years old with a decent, although not high level, amount of technical skills. 

Fred had a great attitude and a smile on his face from the moment he arrived. He was friendly, pleasant to talk to, respectful of the users, and had just enough knowledge to do the job right. People loved him.

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Fred always showed up on time or early, always volunteered to take on the drudge tasks, had an inquisitive mind, and overall just a great work ethic. He also took the initiative to rapidly learn many other things about our technology infrastructure.

After several weeks he was answering questions for others and solving technical hurdles all on his own. I can’t remember a single negative comment about Fred from anyone.

As it so happened, I had an opening for an entry-level technical support person just as this project was winding down. Since Fred barely met the minimum qualifications for this position, I decided to consult with my technical support team and asked them one question: should we post the position and look for an experienced candidate that met all the qualifications, or hire Fred and train him.

The team was unanimous with their vote: hire Fred! They loved his initiative, attitude, and work ethic and knew he would quickly learn everything needed for the job.

They were exactly right.

Fred far surpassed our expectations and after less than a year on the job was performing at a level equal to or higher than technicians with several years of experience. He continued to have a great attitude, great work ethic and turned into the most popular person on my team with our users.

He’s since moved up one level and I’m predicting he’ll continue to advance as fast as we have openings.

If Fred was a normal applicant applying for a job through regular channels, instead of through a temporary agency, I do not doubt that I would still have hired him. His great attitude was so obvious that he would have outranked other applicants with more experience.

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I strongly believe that attitude is everything, regardless of the business you’re in. If you remember only one thing about this post, make it this: your resume or your connections may get you the interview, but your attitude will get you the job.

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