Before joining Lucas Group, I worked with a major telecom franchise to expand their business in two regions. We started out with some basic assumptions about who to recruit and how to best incentivize these hires to accept our offers. This led us to hire a gentleman who had been a regional and national manager for another company with multiple locations across the country. Our new hire had the pedigree, the tenure and the numbers to back up his candidacy, and he excelled throughout the interview process. But after a few weeks, his true habits and attitudes were exposed – unfortunately for the worse. This experience taught me some important lessons about which traits to prioritize when hiring, and why executive recruiting can truly make a difference for hiring people with not just the right skills, but also the right attitudes.

My Biggest Hiring Mistake: Prioritizing Knowledge and Skills over Attitudes and Habits

Our new hire was late to meetings, micro-managed remotely, and was simply unwilling or unable to accept feedback. His overall attitude towards his subordinates could be summed up as “people don’t work with me, they work for me.” It’s no surprise that a fair number of people decided they did not want to work for him or with him!

During his six-month tenure, our stores went from the best performing in the company to consistently the worst. We lost two of our top district managers along with many of our top location managers and sales staff. Worst of all, we lost much of the confidence we had worked so hard to build with not only our customers and employees, but also the corporation for which we franchised. In short, a single hiring mistake set us back for close to a year. Although we chose to go the traditional route that we had always used for assessing a candidate based on skills and knowledge, had we approached the process differently, I can only imagine how much more profitable and successful our locations could have been — not to mention how much happier our staff and customers would be!

“KASH” Rules Everything: Attitudes and Habits Matter

This experience helped inform my current “KASH” approach to recruitment. KASH stands for knowledge, attitude, skills and habits – four key elements to consider when evaluating a prospective hire. Previously, I wrote about why attitudes and habits increasingly matter more than knowledge and skills when it comes to selecting the right hire. Assessing attitudes and habits, however, can be tricky to do in just a handful of interviews. This is where an executive recruiter can truly make a difference.