Finding Diamonds in the Rough – Hire for Attitude Train For Skills

We recently caught an article by?Software Advice, a company that helps businesses find the right software, and they are changing the game with a unique recruiting strategy known as, ?finding the diamonds in the rough.?.

Finding diamond in roughWhy Hire For Attitude?

An independent research tracked 20,000 new hires, 46% of them failed within 18 months. But even more surprising than the failure rate, was that when new hires failed, 89% of the time it was for attitudinal reasons and only 11% of the time for a lack of skill.

According toDan Schawbel – “Southwest, Google, Apple, and The Four Seasons are all great companies and they all hire for attitude. Their high-performing employees live their attitudes every day and it?s a big part of what makes these organisations so successful.”

As many HR managers know, it?s hard to find good people to hire, so when we heard that a software review company was hiring servers, baristas and bartenders, we had to hear more?and decided to catch-up with Software Advice?s HR Manager, Bethany Perkins to hear about her transition from a ?diamond in the rough? to hiring them, and about how she identifies the ?it? factor in potential candidates.

How did you go from a ?diamond in the rough? to hiring them?

Before joining Software Advice, I was working as a bartender at Sandra Bullock?s Bess Bistro and running my own theatre production company, Poison Apple Initiative. To be frank, my jobs weren?t paying the bills, and I knew it was time to start looking for a job in a professional environment, with good pay and great benefits.

Since I was coming from the service-industry, it was a bit challenging figuring out what kind of “real job” I would both enjoy and be really good at. ?I knew I was capable of being good at a lot of things, but on paper I didn’t feel like I looked qualified for a lot of jobs.

I saw that Software Advice was hiring a Client Success Coordinator, and when you work in a bar – you learn a lot about customer service.

I went through the interview process for the job, but they ended up offering it to another candidate. But later that day, I got a personal call from our CEO, Don Fornes, who said they liked me and wanted to find me a home at Software Advice. Within a few weeks I got another call saying they were now looking for a new HR manager, and would love to have me on their team. That is how I came to Software Advcie.

What key signals do you look for when searching for ?diamonds in the rough??

At Software Advice, we?re pretty picky about who we hire. As HR manager I screen nearly 500 resumes a month, searching for my ?diamonds in the rough.? During my hunt, I look for history of hard work and achievement. I look for candidates who understand that success is a product of hard work.

I also keep an eye out for candidates that demonstrated a passion in some area of their life. Just like me, there are plenty of applicants that took a job to pay the bills while they pursued their passion.

But I also understand that chasing a dream takes ambition and drive — and those types of qualities can transfer to our office. Another key signal I look for is if the candidate takes pride in their work. If they are willing to talk about their accomplishments, whether as a bartender or barista, we like to see they value a job well done.

When you find a ?diamond? how to identify they have the ?it? factor?

We have a rigorous interview process. This process helps us vet candidates before we ever make an offer. Each candidate is first interviewed by the HR department, then by the hiring managers and lastly they meet with our COO or CEO. Each group has to see the ?it? factor, or we keep searching.

Our interviews are designed to help us identify the ?it? factor. How candidates handle the pressure of our rigorous process and how they respond to our questions is key to passing our test. We measure how proud they are of their history. Are they optimistic and positive? Are they motivated by success?

Simply put, we look for

  • Candidates that are highly motivated and are ready to prove their mettle
  • Candidates that don?t shy from hard work and competition, but embrace it.
  • Candidates who take pride in the work they have done in past

We love these qualities, because they can?t be taught. These types of qualities are what we call the ?it? factor.

What lessons have you learned from this hiring strategy?

One of the biggest lessons I?ve learned from our hiring strategy is that great talent is everywhere – you just have to know how to find it.?By looking for the right characteristics, regardless of a candidate?s experience, we?ve been able to hire great employees that other HR managers might have never given a chance.

We believe in ?Hire for Attitude and Train for Skills?. The diamonds are out there; you just have to dig for them.


Jappreet Sethi

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2 thoughts on “Finding Diamonds in the Rough – Hire for Attitude Train For Skills

  1. Great article Jappreet,

    It would be great if hiring managers used this philosophy. So often I’ve seen cases where we look for the perfect skill set but the candidate lacks the things you mentioned in your article. Then later the candidate either moves on or doesn’t work out.

    I’ve always been a firm believer in attitude for the reasons you mentioned. You can’t teach someone about attitude but you can teach them a new skill.

    Thanks so much.

    1. Bill , I could not agree more, At times experience becomes a baggage rather than an asset for the new hire, Attitude makes a new hire unlearn old tricks fast and blend in the new culture .

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