What’s the Secret to Success?

There has been a spate of articles on LinkedIn recently about hiring the right person.  That is a topic near and dear to my heart.  Having spent many years of my career in the staffing industry, I have been responsible for identifying candidates for both my clients and myself.

I have heard people ask, “Sell me a pen.”  I have heard people ask, “How many gas stations in our local city?”  Seriously??  I guess those people did not get the full benefit of their behavioral interview training.  Let’s admit something right now — interviewers would rather have a root canal than interview the next candidate who walks in the door and tries to spin their work experience in a way he thinks is most going to impress.  The interviewer yawns and takes a bite of his chicken sandwich before he goes on to the next candidate.

Most interviewers think they can rely on gut instinct and feeling to identify the next great employee.  They couldn’t be more wrong.  The truth is that they are A)  wasting a lot of time and productivity by not identifying their selection criteria; B)  gearing the conversation to those selection critera; and C)  listening to the candidate’s story in 4 critical areas.

What are the 4 critical areas?


A = Attitude.  Attitude is a word used frequently, and it has several nuances.  For our purposes, we work with Attitude as whether somebody is going to be a good cultural fit.  What is the candidate’s attitude about certain situations?

A = Ability.  Ability is the deal breaker for many candidates.  I would love to be an NFL football player, but a 50 something guy who hasn’t played organized ball in 25+ years is not a good fit.

S = Skills.  Skills are developed over a period of time, and they require experience.  I can’t teach you skills, but I can help you develop them.  What skills are really required for the job, and how long does it take to acquire them?

K = Knowledge.  Knowledge can be gained in many ways.  An MBA graduate has proven to have knowledge about various aspects of business.  Similarly, we gain knowledge every day by watching the news or reading a blog.

With those definitions in place, consider this. . . .  When hiring a new employee, which factors are you considering, and how much weight are you putting into each of them?  Would you rather have an employee who has all of the knowledge and skills required to do a good job but has a lousy attitude?  Would you rather have a great attitude with a long learning curve?

I can’t answer those questions for you.  You have to decide how to invest your time and money to make a good hire.  No matter what you do, have a plan when hiring somebody by following the Secret to Success.


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