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Recruit for Attitude First!
by Wong Lai Chun (Global Master Trainer of SERVICE FIRST)

Recruitment advertisements often emphasize the skills and experience required to apply for a job. This is understandable, but is also a mistake. Organizations should place more emphasis on recruiting the right attitudes during the hiring process. When you want to build an uplifting service culture, attitudes can be even more important than skills.

A great attitude accelerates an employee’s ability to contribute valuable results. A great attitude also has a multiplier effect, uplifting the moods and attitudes of every other member on your team.
One key component in a great attitude is “willingness”. Willingness means being pro-active and resourceful, finding ways to excel in different circumstances.

The three important elements include:

1. Willingness to Adapt
No organization operates in a static environment. The willingness to be flexible and adapt can be a strong impetus to achieving tangible and valuable results. When a person is highly skilled – but insists on doing things “the usual way” – using only those skills he is already comfortable using, this itself can become an obstacle.
The willingness to adapt is essential to meet continuous changes in technology competition, and customer expectations.

2. Willingness to Make Improvements
One part of good employee performance is the ability to make improvements over time. In a changing world, if an employee feels there is no need to make improvements in any aspect of his work, poor performance evaluations are sure to follow.
The willingness to make improvements also requires seeking feedback from colleagues and customers, asking for opportunities to do even better in the future. Asking “Is there anything I can do next time to make it even better for you?” is a powerful way to gain insight and ideas that lead to higher value performance and results.

3. Willingness to Listen
Candidates in an interview are often gauged on their ability to communicate, and their articulation is carefully evaluated when they speak. But listening skills are equally important – and for many service roles an even more important critera!
The best articulators may not necessarily be the best listeners. The willingness to actively listen to the concerns of customers and colleagues is crucial to deliver more valuable service. Only by listening carefully to what is being said – and unsaid – can a service provider appreciate the subtleties of each person’s preferences and priorities, customizing their service to deliver maximum value.
This value can be measured in tangible results including rankings and reputation, pricing and profitability, customer loyalty and employee satisfaction.

Attitude Contributes to Culture
When building an Uplifting Service Culture, recruitment for attitude is more important than prior existing skills. Skills can be taught, coached, developed and improved. Attitudes can change, too, but it takes a lot more effort.
It’s true that an Uplifting Service Culture can lift the spirit of everyone at work. But who do you want to hire next? Someone technically skilled who brings the mood down, or someone naturally up who makes your culture stronger?
The choice is yours. We recommend hiring for attitude first.

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