Most jobs can be taught to someone keen to learn but trying to teach a positive attitude is difficult if not impossible for employers. So what is ‘the right attitude’? In my experience what you are looking for is someone keen to better themselves and their prospects by learning and willing to forgo rewards today in return for a better future. They enjoy learning new things, have an innate flexibility and at the same time see team-mates and customers as collaborators in a process not as competitors.
Looking for these characteristics often leads me to look positively on the CV’s of immigrants. Someone, especially with an education, who has upped themselves and their family to go to another country to better their lives, possibly starting many rungs lower on the career ladder than they were, is a very positive sign to me. Similarly, someone from a poor neighbourhood or disadvantaged ethnicity who has made it through to get a degree, albeit from a second -tier university, perhaps merits more consideration than someone who who was always on track because of reasons of background and upbringing. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that these people do not deserve consideration but rather that I look for other signs in their CV’s of having been willing to step outside their comfort zone, overcoming a major disadvantage and/or a desire to progress but also to be willing to start at the bottom.
Spotting a ‘good attitude’ is not easy. It comes with practice and lots of mistakes, but if you can get it right you are hiring someone who has potential and longevity far greater than the immediate job that needs filling. Too many recruitment agencies just filter on the obvious in a CV eg a good relevant degree from a first tier university It makes their life easier but employing these methods will often mean you miss the best candidate and will be competing in the most overfished talent pool.