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Do You Have The Right Employee Attitude?



“Your attitude is like a price tag, it shows how valuable you are.” – Unknown

EMPLOYERS are looking to hire candidates with the right attitude that would add value and contribute to achieving their goals and create the kind of culture that would make them a great company. Candidates can be trained to acquire skills; however, attitudes are difficult to change as they are acquired over time. If a candidate has the right skills but lacks the right attitude, this is a recipe for problems and headaches in future for the organization. As a result, organizations are not considering just skills alone, when hiring, but also care about the attitude the candidate is bringing to their organization.

     According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, “attitude” is defined as “the way you think and feel about someone or something; a feeling or way of thinking that affects a person’s behaviour; a way of thinking and behaving that people regard as unfriendly, rude, etc.”

What kind of attitudes are employers looking for in candidates? To answer this question, we will review the attitudes that employers do not like or would not like employees who work for them to have:

1. Employers would not like to hire candidates whose major pre-occupation is complaining. If you are an expert in complaining and never finding anything good, then you are the wrong candidate for employers.

2. No employer would hire candidates who never take responsibility for their actions and always find an excuse why things did not work or would not work.

3. If you are never excited about new tasks or projects, then you are the wrong candidate for employers. Employers are looking for candidates who are excited about their products and eager to share it with customers and clients.

4. It’s so frustrating when a client or customer calls into a company to make an enquiry, and the first person who takes the call responds by saying “it’s not my job”. Employers are looking for candidates who are willing to go above and beyond. Even if it is not in your job description, take the initiative to help the client or customer.

5. Employers are looking for employees who would spread information that would build teams, and not create cliques and destroy morale through gossiping about issues or people.

6. I was impressed with a particular candidate who gave a beautiful response as to why he wanted to join the company I was hiring for. My colleague and I have already decided to hire this candidate, only for me to ask one more probing question and it turned out that the candidate made up stories which were untrue to impress us because he was desperate for the job. He was immediately disqualified. No employer would hire a candidate who lies, as lies are very dangerous for team building.

7. If you feel you are too good for the organization you want to work for or know it all, then you are the wrong candidate and no employer would want to hire such a candidate. This kind of candidate is trouble as they would find fault with everything.

8. Employers are looking for candidates who believe in working as a team, and not all by themselves. The success of every organization is built around several people who would contribute their quota to achieve success. No one person can take an organization to greater heights; you need others to make it to the top.

9. Employers are looking for candidates who are alive to their responsibilities by keeping to promises made such as meeting deadlines, being early to appointments, etc.

10. If you are a candidate who wants to be told everything before you lift a finger, then you are the wrong candidate. Employers are looking for candidates with initiatives to solve a problem. You need to have suggestions on how a challenge can be solved and not wait to be told what to do every time you face an obstacle.

11. Employers are looking for candidates who are inquisitive, eager to ask questions when they do not understand and most importantly, eager to learn new things all the time.

12. Employers are looking for candidates who invest in themselves to become better people and not wait for the company to do all the investing. When you invest in yourself you become better and are able to contribute meaningfully to the company, thereby assisting the company realize its set vision.

13. Employers are looking for candidates who have focus and stay focused. I once interviewed a candidate who wanted to work in banking operations, but instead of developing himself in this area, he went to study computer science up to a graduate level and is applying for entry level banking operations job. This is a classical example of lack of focus in career choice.

Finally, candidates need to understand that the right attitude will sharpen their skills and differentiate them from the lot!

Emmanuel Michael is the Head of Human Resources for Accion Microfinance Bank Ltd, Lagos.  You can contact him at Twitter: @enmichael and on Linkedin at





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