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October 25, 2014

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2/07/00 Hire People With Attitude
I've picked plenty of losers in my day. Often, people I've hired, and who I thought were going to set the world on fire, could barely strike the match. The only heat they generated was my fever as I sought to remove them before they did too much damage.

On the flip side, I've hired people who I knew in my heart would self-destruct in a New York minute, only to find them blow me away and turn out to be the superstar I wish I could clone.

Hiring is often a difficult challenge. It takes incredible insight and skill to pick the people you have to live with 12 hours a day for the next several months, hopefully years. My average has improved over the years, and if I follow my instincts and listen carefully to my gut, I usually get it right.

What do you hire for: skill, attitude, or a fit with your culture? When I pose this question to people in my selling seminars, 95 percent of them choose skill. Their logic is that if people can do their job properly, everything else will fall into place. I used to think that way, too.

Today, when I review prospective employees, I first screen for basic skills before they ever get in the door. And, on occasion, a résumé grabs my attention because of the attitude it projects. I do seek the right attitude, but cultural fit -- above all else -- is the reason I hire someone.

The biggest complaint I hear today is that Radio isn't fun anymore. I can feel a station's culture the second I walk in the door. The people are either drones awaiting the 5 p.m. bell, or they are lightening bolts bouncing off the walls, filling the station with energy. A station on fire has a vibe you can sense in seconds.

Successful stations are focused on the smallest detail that makes the biggest impact on the station's success: culture. Radio used to pay attention to culture until someone, somewhere along the line, decided that people don't matter, that placing importance on culture is "emotional."

People are on fire when they look forward to seeing their fellow teammates every day, when they can't wait to see the silly things someone is going to do next. This is the seed that grows a great Radio station beyond skill and technique. Great leaders hire people with the right attitude and carefully select people who fit the culture they are trying to mold. If Radio's not fun anymore, it might be because you're hiring skill above attitude. It's up to you to make it fun.

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