Why Attitude Can’t be Ignored When Evaluating Job Candidates

Posted by Steve Carter on Jan 30, 2016 7:41:00 PM
Steve Carter
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Ignoring attitude in favor of more quantifiable measures like experience and skills is one of the biggest mistakes a hiring manager can make when evaluating job candidates. Our attitude toward applying our skills for professional and personal growth, as well as the desire to perform to the best of our ability, is what separates top performers from the runners-up.


The Right Psychological Mindset Leads to Success

The way we think about our talents massively influences how far we get in life. Even the most able employees can fail to achieve their potential if they have the wrong attitude. Recent studies by Carol Dweck reveal that there are two types of mindsets: fixed and growth. People with a “fixed mindset” believe that qualities like character, talent and creative ability are static; you either have them or you don’t. On the other hand, those with a “growth mindset” believe these important qualities can be improved upon and mastered.

The growth mindset is more crucial to the success of your team than its fixed counterpart. Here is why:

1) Growth Mindset Embraces Risk

“Don’t call it a problem, call it a challenge!” Growth-oriented individuals believe the brain is like a muscle. Train it enough, and it will become strong. Where an individual with the fixed mindset is halted by momentary setbacks or resistance, the growth-oriented individual presses on. Since they learn for the love of the game, they are more likely to see failure as an opportunity to become better.

2) Growth Mindset is Open to Self-Improvement

“I don’t take things personally.” Individuals with the growth mindset understand that criticism is not to be taken as a personal attack. Even the most negative feedback, while avoided by the fixed mindset, is sought out by the growth-minded individual because it provides an enormous opportunity for learning and self-improvement. That’s why hardy team players will not feel threatened when a client or manager makes a recommendation to improve.

3)  Their Decisions Are Not Based on Fear

“I will try harder next time.” After studying children who completed math puzzles, Carol Dweck found that students who were praised for their efforts eagerly took on more challenges. Meanwhile, children that were praised for their abilities, with statements like “You’re smart,” feared losing that status. This group of children did not venture out of their comfort zone. *Pro tip: If you need to motivate employees, praise effort not ability.

4) They Don't Procrastinate

“Yeah, I’ll give it a shot.” Growth-minded individuals have an inner desire to improve. They are compelled forward by a desire to accumulate as much experience as possible. Where a fixed-minded employee instinctively draws away from responsibilities, a growth-minded employee loads up her plate.

5)  They Are More Willing to Take Action

“I’ve never done this before, but I’m sure I can work something out!” Growth-minded individuals have a greater sense of free will, which leads them to embrace new challenges with an open mind. A fixed mindset individual will have a fatalistic view of the world and will be less likely to try and change the situation. Growth-minded individuals believe that their jobs, their families and their world can, and should become better.

As a successful hiring manager you want to create a strong team, capable of taking your whole company to the next level. Recognizing the above attributes will help you find forward-thinking candidates who will not be afraid to put in the effort. By bringing on board people who are capable and willing to change the environment around them for the better, you will avoid the mistake of hiring shrewd employees with a fixed mindset who will never venture outside their comfort zone.


Topics: hiring, evaluating candidates, recruiting

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