Does your candidate have the “Right Stuff” ?

Find the right sales people to hire

How do you know the candidates has the “right stuff”?

 •Attitude         •Motivation              •Emotional Intelligence     •Coach-ability                •Technical Competence

A Study (reported in Fortune and Forbes) found that 26% of new hires fail because they can’t accept feedback, 23% because they’re unable to understand and manage emotions, 17% because they lack the necessary motivation to excel, 15% because they do not have the temperament for the job, and only 11% because they lack the necessary technical skills.

So contrary to popular belief, technical skills are not the primary reason why new hires fail; instead poor interpersonal skills dominate the list.  A study conducted by the Author of “Hiring for Attitude” noted that 46% of new hires fail the first 18 months and 89% of new hires fail because of attitude!

This success rate clearly is distressing. It should not be too surprising; 82% of mangers reported that in hindsight they were too focused on other issues, too pressed for time, or lacked confidence in their interviewing abilities to detect warning signs.

The financial cost of hiring failures, coupled with the opportunity cost of not hiring high performers, can be millions of dollars, even for small companies check out our resource tool for your own calculation here The Cost of Hiring Mistakes.

Hiring failures can be prevented. If you focus more of the interviewing energy on candidates’ coach-ability, emotional intelligence, motivation and temperament, you will see improvements in your hiring success.

How do you screen for attitudes such as flexibility, fun, initiative, or a true risk taker? Start by designing targeted questions to get at the specific attitudes you want. For example, if you are looking to hire someone who shows a history of “doing whatever it takes” you could ask, “tell me about a time when you broke the rules, flexed a policy, or went above  and beyond the call of duty to meet a customer need?  Keep in mind; previous behaviors help predict the potential for future success.  Try to keep candidates focused more on what they have done in the past and less on predicting what they would do if they came to work for you!

Ask yourself; what are the distinguishing attitudinal characteristics that make up what is important in your organization; Examples might include:

  • They are highly collaborative
  • They meet commitments
  • They take ownership
  • They are empathetic towards customers and colleagues needs

Ok, now look at the opposite’ the only way to ensure you have got a true high performer is to make certain that this person does not possess the low performer traits that suck the energy and enthusiasm out of everyone with whom they interact.

  • They gossip
  • They always find someone else to blame for their mistakes
  • They respond to feedback with an argument
  • They only do the bare minimum expected of them
  • They get overwhelmed by multiple demands and priorities

Once you have determined your own unique attitudes in your organization you can design questions around them.


1) How does this attitude add value or competitive advantage to this organization? ( If the attitude brings no benefit to the company, it does not belong on the list)

2)Who cares about this attitude? ( If the attitude doesn’t bring benefit to your customers, it doesn’t belong on the list)

Here are a few teasers that may stimulate your own creativity in building your attitudinal hiring profile;

  • Tell me about the last time you broke the rules to serve a customer in need? ( flexibility; judgment)
  • Tell me about a time when you made a serious mistake with a customer or a co-worker. How did you reconcile it? (ability to admit mistakes)
  • Give me an example of how you’ve worked with an extremely difficult co-worker. How did you handle it? (adaptability)
  • Tell me about a time when you went beyond the call of duty to assist a co-worker when you received no recognition or no credit? (unselfishness; teamwork)
  • Tell me how you recently used humor to diffuse a tense situation? ( fun)
  • Tell me about a time when you were given an assignment you didn’t agree with and why? (flexibility, team, corporation )

We also use an assessment profile that gives us descriptive details on behaviors that are distinctive on each of our candidates that also help the process; ask us for more information on obtaining these assessments for your organization. They are taken on-line so it is very easy access for individual’s to use.  If you follow all of these examples and techniques carefully, instead of having a 20% chance of hiring successfully you will have a 40% chance of hiring someone who will make a good contribution to your organization.



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