All jobs require a positive attitude.  Just asking for it in an advert though is not going to stop people without one.  You need to review the specifics.

At interview, on assessment days, with psychometrics you can test for this. The question is how can you filter from the start of the recruitment process and what exactly are the specifics of the positive attitude you are seeking?

Firstly you have to get your goal S.M.A.R.T. (Specific. Measurable. Achievable. Realistic. Timely.)

How do you define a positive attitude?
Why do you need a positive attitude?
Is a positive attitude really necessary?
When would a positive attitude make a difference?
What would happen if the appointee did not have a positive attitude?
Are their specific negatives to be overcome, obstacles challenges?

Answers to these questions will define your generic corporate culture in addition to job specific challenges.  It is nice to say that you want people that can take initiatives and see this as a positive attitude. But do you really?  You may require employees to follow established tested and proven processes and procedures.

So be specific on a positive attitude.   We have found that once defined a test can be built into the design of the recruitment process.

How to Build into The Design a Review of Positive Attitude

First read their CV for specific indications.
A reasonable time with a past employer is a good indication. All jobs are challenging especially early on. Do check the CV for inconsistencies, gaps or illogical looking moves.  Positive people see though the obstacles, learning and experience requirements.  People with things to hide will make up all sorts of stories, have their friends act as referees, say they were travelling etc. So check the company and the number rather than just take it from them.  Be safe.

These are key in our experience to give a true insight to the real person. Positive people tend to have a lot of interests.

At interview
Use role plays.
We have found assessment days to be very productive. Candidates cannot keep up a mask of who they really are through a day. Role plays are ideal at letting the real person surface. This is one of many reasons whey we suggest group interviews.

Use questions like.

“Tell me something you have done which is adventurous?”

“Tell me of a difficult situation you had, in any aspect of life, and how you dealt with it.”

“Why did you leave your previous position?” Be dubious of people who criticise their ex boss and management.  Positive people take control and do something about it.

After Interview
Give them a post interview pack.  On this thank them from the interview and they will hear shortly.  On the pack reaffirm the qualities you are looking for the pressures and what will be expected.  Again it is an attempt to persuade people that don’t in have the right attitude to see the job through to success.

Check references with a phone call.  Ring them don’t write.  People will open up more on the telephone as they will be very careful of anything in writing.  You can ask tactful questions which allow the previous employer to let you know what you need without being direct.

Ask the referee questions framed in a sensitive way.

  1. Would you reemploy them?
  2. Do they perform well under pressure or better when things are going well?
  3. What are their three strongest traits? (Notice what is not on the list).
  4. Did they perform better when closely supervised or left alone?


If you would like us to ascertain your ideal candidate profiles, recruit and help you retain them please call Alex McMillan 07525-916574.    See our recruitment website.