Over the past two decades, I’ve had the privilege of hiring new additions to the team. However, one thing which was always dreaded was updating the job description. Job descriptions typically list numerous mundane tasks the last person did, with enough department jargon to make your head spin. Let’s face it, if you were to read your current job description, does it accurately describe what you do? Does it inspire you? Most of you probably answered no, not even close. Job descriptions should be a marketing document for your company / department. They should define what success looks like, both short and long term.

Yes, job descriptions should have some level of background in what you’re hiring for. In reality, you’re going to train individuals the key aspects of the job. Other than the specific background, there are other tangibles that make individuals successful in the role. Ask yourself, what are the key characteristics that you’d expect the new hire to have for them to be successful in the position? List out your responses.

They may include: Driven, Teamwork, Focused, Creative, Self-Reliant, Patient, Integrity, Hustle, Committed, Self-Confident, Communicator, Problem Solver, etc.

Review the list you created. Next to each word, place either a K (Knowledge), S (Skill) or A (Attitude). Share the percentages you got for each one. These are the three key characteristics for a successful endeavor. The first key ingredient and foundation of success is knowledge. The second key ingredient is skill. Both of these key ingredients for success account for approximately 15% of what people are being hired for. What does the rest of the 85% go towards?

We’ve met people who don’t necessarily know that much about their particular field yet because they’re excited, focused, ambitious and have clear objectives, they go out and crush it. We’ve also all seen individuals that seem to know almost everything there is to know about their particular field yet never apply much of it so their success is limited.

How can we find these people that go out crush it? Skills and knowledge are typically listed on the resume. However, the third key ingredient is a little more difficult to quantify. We’re looking for individuals with the “IT” factor. Could it be we don’t understand how to qualify the “IT” Factor. We actually do, it’s all based on ATTITUDE (the 85% of success). Here are a few ways to interview for Attitude.

ASK open ended questions and follow up. The point of these questions is to get the candidates to open up further to determine their character, compatibility, commitment and see if they fit with the culture. My favorites are “Why is that” and “That’s great, would you tell me more”. Here are a few more questions:

Tell me about the latest leadership/self-improvement book that you’ve read. What resonated with you the most?
Tell me about a time when you were faced with a major obstacle; how did you persevere?
How would you describe the ideal work environment?

STOP asking vague, curveball questions. These are time wasters and have little to no value in whether you’re going to hire the person.

LISTEN to what the candidates say. Too often the interviewer is trying to sell the candidate on why they should work there and talks for a majority of the time. Spend more time asking open ended questions and listening to the responses.

Another great way to evaluate a candidate is to get co-workers involved in the interview process, not just the management team. Their feedback on the potential new team member is critical. They may pick up on something you haven’t and provide additional insight on working with this candidate. If you’d like to discuss further, just let me know.