Q: When hiring new employees, of course the ideal candidate should combine a good educational background, talent, existing skills or work experience, and the best attitude. But usually, applicants don\\\'t have all these. If I can only choose one attribute, which should be my basis for hiring?
A: A company should have a few baseline selection requirements which should not be compromised. Being a college graduate could be one such requirement. These minimum requirements are usually easy to verify.
Over and above these baseline requirements, the wise choice is to hire based on attitude and train for skill. Too often we find applicants with impressive resumes but eventually discover they are wanting in attitude. These applicants are usually the first to be hired (based on initial impression), but can also be among the first to either resign or get fired. As the adage goes: "One\\\'s altitude is determined by his attitude."
As customers become more demanding, IQ and educational background or achievement recede in importance compared to a good service attitude. In customer service, we are reminded that "clients do not care what we know, until they know that we care". Ultimately, service providers are able to perform their best because of who they are on the inside; it\\\'s their attitude which determines how they serve our customers.
An organization is only as strong as its weakest link, and its links are the people. Thus, selecting the right people to be part of your team is probably one of the most important choices you will make as an employer. As Jim Collins explained in his book Good to Great, one key to greatness is "getting the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus and getting the right people in the right seats."
Organizations realize that once the minimum hiring requirements are met, another important consideration is the issue of "congruence" or organizational fit. In the end, the employee\\\'s personal values need to be aligned with the company\\\'s philosophy and value system. The better "organizational fit" between people and tasks, the better is the expected corporate performance. In the final analysis, the attitude, motivation and character are the most important criteria for hiring and selection.
Dr. Agnes "Aggie" Sarthou serves as an Organization Development (OD) and Training Consultant to various government and private institutions. Her experience spans over 30 years of corporate and private practice in the specialized areas of organization development, communications, leadership, organizational diagnosis and change interventions, strategic thinking and planning. You can email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.