Thursday, April 7, 2011

To a Recruiter, Attitude is The Most Important Attribute

Your attitude is the most critical item when being evaluated or interviewed.  It is not your grades.  It is not how good you are as a team player.  It is not your leadership skills.  It is not even your intern, co-op or work experience.  All very important things I admit, but not nearly as important as you having the right attitude.

To illustrate this point and take it one step further, here is a question for you the reader: What do you think is the biggest fear of a hiring manager is when hiring a candidate?  Some might say it is hiring someone that can’t do the work.  But that’s not it.  In my experience, hiring managers are most fearful of hiring someone with a bad attitude.  Why?  Because it often has a domino effect that can be very damaging.  Hiring someone with a bad attitude negatively affects the whole team.  That in turn causes conflict.  Conflict lowers morale.  Lowering morale increases inefficiency.  Inefficiency translates into lost time and money….which is misery for guess who?  The hiring manager!  At least, if the hiring manager hires an employee that can’t do the work, they have a fighting chance to work around it by sending them off for training or giving them different assignments; having them do work they can do.  But having a candidate with a bad attitude is nothing short of throwing a psychological grenade in the middle of the room with all team members present.

Moreover, who do you think gets a lot of the blame, or even becomes the scapegoat if a candidate gets hired that has a bad attitude?  Yes, you are right; the recruiter!  So wouldn’t it be logical for a company to send out those people that tend to be the best at screening for this relatively subjective, very soft science attribute we call attitude?  That is why you see mostly HR and business type people out on job and career fairs doing the initial screening.  Engineers and technical people tend to concentrate and be more comfortable evaluating attributes that they can quantify, like GPA, months of intern or co-op experience, or even leadership.  But again, it is your attitude that is most important.  The recruiter’s mantra is, “hire for attitude, and train for skill.” 

Mark Lyden

Mark Lyden is the author: College Students: Do This! Get Hired!Veterans: Do This! Get Hired!; and Professionals: Do This! Get Hired! (Coming Summer 2011).  A substantial portion of the proceeds from book sales are donated back to charity to help veterans and to help the stray and abandoned animals at Logan’s Run Rescue.   


  1. Recruiters may work within an organization's Human Resources department (typically) or on an outsourced basis.

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