Hiring Wisdom: Should We Be Hiring For Experience, or For Attitude?

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Nov 4, 2013

Skim through the help wanted section of any job board and you’ll find about 95 percent of the ads have one word in common: “Starting wages based on experience” “Looking for experienced, energetic servers and kitchen staff …” “We are currently seeking an experienced office assistant …”

Why is experience so often our No. 1 hiring criteria? It’s because we assume an experienced person will require less training and be able to get up to speed faster.

The problem with this assumption is that, just because a person has done a certain type of work before, it doesn’t mean he or she is necessarily good at it or even likes doing it.

Attitude is the key differentiator

Many people fall into jobs or a career path and, over time, become skilled at them. However, when you look at the top people in any trade or profession, what sets them apart is their attitude.

Some people love to help others and make great office assistants, retail clerks, and health care workers. Some people are born optimists and are gifted with persistence and the power of persuasion; they’re great salespeople. Others have a talent for working with their hands and take pride in their work – perfect for manufacturing, assembly lines, and the building trades.

Skills, the how to’s of any job, can be taught. Start hiring for attitude instead and you’ll have a real competitive edge.

This was originally published on Mel Kleiman’s Humetrics blog.