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A CEO shares the No. 1 attribute he looks for in a potential hire

Published by Business Insider on Sun, 08 Nov 2015

When hiring a new employee, for me attitude really is everything.We can teach people how to run their business, how to market it, and support them with tax and technical knowledge. We can help them get capital to set up their business.What we can't teach is attitude; the positive, team-focused, customer service attitude that separates winners from losers.I don't mean we have to recruit always happy, yes-people either; part of success and being a winner is doing what you say, not just spouting the right lines.People will try to fool you during interviews. Nobody will show you that they have a bad attitude if they are trying to get a job. As an introvert, I am very observant and I ask probing questions to see beyond the mask. For example, I ask them for references of people who reported to them, not the other way around.I ask them to describe their best supervisors and what attributes made them so successful. If they have been employed by a franchise organization, I ask for references of franchisees that dealt with them.The toughest step is when you find someone who doesn't fit and moving him or her out. Just as people can make a great culture, principle violators can also create a bad culture. Jack Welch, chairman and CEO of General Electric from 1981 to 2001, described four categories of managers:Type 1 shares your values and performs well. For them the sky's the limit.Type 2 shares your values, but misses the numbers. He recommends giving them another chance or two.Type 3 doesn't share your values or perform well. In this case, it's a no-brainer--get rid of them. My strategy is to tell them that they need to go find another place to be extraordinary.Welch maintains that Type 4 is the toughest call of all: the person who doesn't share the values, but delivers the numbers. This type is the toughest to part with because organizations always want to deliver and to let someone go who gets the job done is yet another unnatural act. But we have to remove these Type 4s because they have the power, by themselves, to destroy the open, informal, trust-based culture we need to win today and tomorrow.You can teach job skills, but you can't teach attitude. This is a very tough call for me because I tend to want to live with high-performance people because their results are so good. One of my weaknesses is that I'm too forgiving of people. I don't pull the trigger fast enough.Several years ago, I had a meeting with a very negative employee who was bringing down the whole team. I asked this guy, "Are you an optimist or a pessimist'" He said, "I don't think I'm either. I like to feel that I'm a realist." He didn't believe he fit into either of those categories. He was above that. He was the first human being who ever gave me that answer; most people freely admit what they are. Realist implies being jaded, sad, and disappointed with life. That sounds like a pessimist to me.I told him that if he's not willing to set high goals, then he's never going to achieve anything. He would continue to be ordinary. Attitude is everything. In my career, I have helped almost 800 people become millionaires. This "realist" was not one of them.You can take someone with a positive attitude and they can have a bad day, a bad week, a bad month, but they bounce back. If you take someone with a pessimistic attitude and they have a good hour, a good day, or a good month, they bounce back to their negative attitude.In my 46-year career, I've hit my head against the wall trying to change numerous people's attitudes. I was never successful in doing so. My philosophy is if you're coming to work in the morning and you're not looking forward to it, you're going to the wrong place.SEE ALSO:The 3 things one CEO wants to know about every job candidate ' and the questions she asks to find outJoin the conversation about this storyNOW WATCH: TONY ROBBINS: These are the 2 most important keys to success
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