Recruiting top talent with a unique skill set has always been hard. Recruiting the right skills plus the right attitude….it’s crazy hard. If you had to make a choice of one over the other, which one would you pick? Learn why companies like Southwest Airlines pick attitude as the key factor in hiring criteria and train for #skills they need to thrive.
This “hire for attitude, train for skills” philosophy might just change your perspective on how you hire and develop staff.
In a conference room on the first floor of the Houston Hobby Hilton, Hiring Manager José Colmenares interviewed a group of 15 candidates to see if any had the “right stuff” to become flight attendants with Southwest Airlines. Their HR team is not just looking for a fixed set of skills or experiences, but rather, they are searching for something far more elusive and much more important — the perfect blend of energy, humor, team spirit, and self-confidence…the right attitude! After all, you can train and enable your team with learning new skills.
The famous Southwest Airlines culture is known for its singing Flight Attendants, quirky emails, and a customer-obsessed service level. They have embraced the “hire for attitude” philosophy as their best hiring practices. “
Southwest Airlines, “Lessons in Loyalty: How Southwest Airlines Does It–an Insider’s View,” author, Lorraine Grubbs-West, cites nine lessons she learned as a senior executive at Southwest, from developing a culture of continual learning and creative methods for “onboarding” new employees (immersing them in the unique high-energy Southwest culture) to maintaining high standards for employees while giving them enormous support and quality training. But the most powerful lesson, for me, was the very first one: “Hire for attitude, train for skills.”
Have you ever heard of the Can do/Will do Matrix? The worst combination you can have is the Can do/Won’t do. With the right attitude, you can learn and achieve anything. Once the mind is closed off…the skills are useless.
Most public organizations would do well to follow the Southwest example: Know the attributes your culture needs, rigorously assess them during the recruitment process, and hire (primarily) for attitude. Just make sure it’s the right attitude.
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