Hiring on attitude is a current theme in the employment market.  Diverse organisations recognise the impact of behaviours and attitudes on business culture and subsequently on performance.  Most of us would prefer to work with people who are enthusiastic, questioning, positive, sharing of ideas and with whom we can enjoy a laugh.  Commercial examples and formal research demonstrate the impact of organisational culture on profitability.



There are compelling internal and external reasons to focus on attitudinal behaviours; it is the smart way to go in

  • Enhancing effectiveness of hiring decisions, aligning with business culture
  • Improving retention and talent outcomes
  • Achieving recognition for strong employee brand
  • Increasing engagement, performance and profitability

The contemporary employment market, our small population base in New Zealand and the rise of unusual, new positions requires emphasis on employee attitudes and behaviours, in addition to technical skills.  Talent selection should anticipate future role requirements, making attitudinal evaluation critical towards long-term employee value and career fulfilment.

Top 10 Attitudinal Traits

There is a cluster of behaviours that are most attractive to employers today:


  • Business focus – understands productivity and profitability
  • Communication – listens, provides/receives feedback
  • Curiosity – willingness to learn
  • Customer Focus – inside and outside
  • Flexibility – deals easily with change
  • Innovation - sees possibilities for solutions
  • Interpersonal abilities – builds relationships
  • Proactive approach – uses initiative
  • Results Orientation – keeps end goal in mind
  • Team style –works in collaboration


A check list for action 



Additional Ideas

Some people perform better at interviews than others.  This is not necessarily a total reflection of their performance in the job.  The following are strategies to assist in effective evaluation -

  • Ensure there are two interviewers and collaborate on the assessment
  • Question on both technical and attitudinal skills when interviewing
  • Include the attitudinal traits when obtaining verbal referenceswin
  • Engage an external resource with relevant skills
  • Introduce psychometric assessment



It is recommended to include both attitudinal and technical capabilities within position descriptions and selection processes.  This will contribute to effective talent resourcing, development and succession.  Engaging the right attitudes and behaviours will enhance thinking, solutions and outcomes for 21st century NZ businesses.

Nicola Pohlen & Robyn Webb


This article was written for a publication in NZ



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