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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A radical rethink of the hiring process
Virtually every one of the standard approaches to selecting the right people for an organization to excel is dead wrong, according to Mark Murphy in this book. Most executives try to hire the most technically competent people, whereas the vast majority of the roughly half of all new hires who fail within 18 months fail for reasons of attitude, not for lack of skill...
Published on November 24, 2011 by John Gibbs

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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
Catchy title, clever concept, hardly the material for a 200+ page book.

I miss the days where academics specializing in a topic, after decades of research and thought, shared their knowledge through a book. Today, entrepreneurs write books, not to share their knowledge but to make a profit (please dont call me a socialist! I am the most Adam Smith loving...
Published 18 months ago by Rodolfo Gonzalez


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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A radical rethink of the hiring process, November 24, 2011
By 
John Gibbs (Melbourne, Australia) - See all my reviews
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Virtually every one of the standard approaches to selecting the right people for an organization to excel is dead wrong, according to Mark Murphy in this book. Most executives try to hire the most technically competent people, whereas the vast majority of the roughly half of all new hires who fail within 18 months fail for reasons of attitude, not for lack of skill.

The book goes on to provide a range of useful advice on hiring people. An important first step is identifying the unique factors of your organization's culture that determine whether or not a prospective employee is a good cultural fit, and what attitudes a prospective employee needs to possess in order to succeed within that culture. Most people find it very difficult to define such cultural issues, but the author provides a relatively simple way to do so.

Other advice given in the book includes:

* Why standard interview questions do not assess attitude
* How to create interview questions that will reveal whether someone's attitude is right for you
* How to create a set of answer guidelines allowing you to grade a candidate's attitude
* Why most job advertisements are poorly worded, and how you can do better
* The most effective ways of recruiting people who will perform well within the context of your organizational culture

Most people who have experience in recruiting new staff find the process a bit of a lottery; it seems impossible to tell in advance whether a candidate is going to turn into a high performer, and hiring decisions are often based on gut feelings that turn out to be sadly misplaced. After reading this book I am not sure whether the author has provided the complete solution, but I do find his recommendations compelling, and I fully intend to try them out next time I am involved in recruiting.

In my opinion this is an excellent book, with provocative and valuable content in every chapter. If the author is right, then the recruiting practices of the vast majority of businesses are seriously in need of an overhaul. I highly recommend the book to executives, HR professionals and anyone who has responsibility for hiring staff.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Interviewing Masterclass, November 22, 2011
By 
Steve Amoia (Washington, D.C.) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Hiring for Attitude: A Revolutionary Approach to Recruiting and Selecting People with Both Tremendous Skills and Superb Attitude (Hardcover)
"You'll notice that a lack of skills or technical competence only accounted for 11 percent of new-hire failures. When a new hire was wrong for a company it was due to attitude, not lack of skills... Our study showed that somebody was a bad hire for attitudinal reasons 89 percent of the time." Mark Murphy, page xii.

The author's introductory quote and supporting research may surprise you; however, the candidate trait of "attitude" has rarely been emphasized by hiring authorities or career experts. Until now. This book will show you a much-needed contrarian perspective. You will learn how to make better decisions for yourself, clients or organizations regardless if you are a job candidate or hiring authority. The "soft" skill of attitude has rarely been the focus of hiring decisions over the more "hard" skills such as educational pedigree, actual job experience and technical proficiency. Mr. Murphy paves an important road in this discussion. Especially as the world has become more flat, and job candidates, and those who recruit or hire them, need something extra to flourish in a global economy.

Organized Format with Common-Sense Advice

There is a helpful introduction, seven chapters, a brief conclusion along with a detailed index. This is a relatively short book (209 pages) which keeps you focused on its excellent content. The author's writing style is informative and entertaining. Most of all, he describes common-sense scenarios and provides real-life examples. From an amusing hiring strategy at Southwest Airlines (the Brown Shorts which serve as reference point throughout the book), to a more serious one at LifeGift (a company that recovers organs and tissue for those who need transplants), which demonstrates a proper balance.

An Interviewing Masterclass

One of the most salient features of this book was the emphasis on how to ask questions that elicit beneficial responses. Most of us have been on both sides of the hiring equation, and have endured or were asked the wrong questions of little predictive quality. Many recruiters have not been taught how to ask questions that save their firms/clients from making an expensive hiring mistake. Mr. Murphy teaches you what to ask and what to avoid. More importantly, how to ask open-ended questions that draw out your subject instead of leading ones that produce scripted responses.

You will become a better interviewer after reading this book because the author makes you analyze the purpose behind your questions: "One of the most fundamental tests of the effectiveness of an interview question is the extent to which it helps differentiate between high and low performers. Any interview question that doesn't distinguish between these two groups is the equivalent of giving a college exam on which every student automatically scores an A." Page 43

Notable Quotes

"My company, Leadership IQ, tracked 20,000 new hires over a three-year period. We found that 46 percent of new hires failed in one way or another, 35 percent became middle performers, and only 19 percent went on to become legitimate high performers." Page 12

"Don't ask questions you can't fix." Page 32

"The purpose of an interview isn't to test recitation skills, but rather to accurately reveal how well a person will perform when working for you. 'Tell me about yourself,' 'what are your strengths?' and 'what are your weaknesses?' are worthless, think about the answers you usually get when you ask an applicant a question such as 'So tell me about yourself...' " Page 41

"Behavioral questions are only effective when they prompt a response that reveals the truth about both weaknesses and strengths." Page 44

"Problem-solver personalities simply can't bring themselves to think about a situation as a total failure. They need to keep trying and eventually solve it or at least salvage some useful lesson. And you will generally hear that underlying interpretation in the responses problem solvers provide, just as you'll hear the opposite in the answers from the problem bringers." Page 73

"... The single biggest reason that new hires fail is a lack of coachability." Page 80

"The high performer answers contain roughly 60 percent more first person pronouns (I, me, we) than answers given by low performers... Answers from high performers use 40 percent more past tense than answers from low performers... Low performers answers contain about 25 percent more positive emotions (happy, thrilled, excited) than low performer answers." Pages 127-131

"Most job ads sound more like the instruction manual to a VCR than they do a compelling sales pitch. And that's the problem. The high performers you want all have better opportunities... Most people who are going to notice that ad are the folks you don't want. The people sitting around, reading generic job ads, and responding to any and all with an e-mail blast of their resume." Page 148

"Imagine you're out on a date. Now, let's say you really want to win that date over... How do you think you should start out, by talking about yourself or by talking about your date? Almost everyone answers the question correctly. Of course, you talk about your date. But here's the shocker. In the recruitment world, another place you want to quickly capture the position attention of another person, almost everybody gets it wrong." Page 168

"According to our Global Talent Management Survey, employee referrals are the best source for hiring high performers." Page 177

It's All About Attitude

This book teaches many valuable lessons for hiring authorities, job applicants, recruiters and anyone who wants to elevate their personal or professional brand. As the author concisely ended the book, "It's about how to select for attitude, interview for attitude, recruit for attitude, assess peoples' attitude, and even teach attitude." Page 207

Please Note

A McGraw-Hill representative provided me with a complimentary review copy of this book. I was not monetarily compensated for the review by any party that would benefit from a positive analysis.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars With rare exception, attitude determines altitude, January 5, 2012
This review is from: Hiring for Attitude: A Revolutionary Approach to Recruiting and Selecting People with Both Tremendous Skills and Superb Attitude (Hardcover)
Long ago, I became convinced that most human limits are self-imposed. This is what Henry Ford had in mind when observing, "Whether you think you can or think you can't, you're probably right." In this volume, Mark Murphy is convinced that attitude usually determines how much a person can increase her or his "altitude" (i.e. how high one can ascend to higher levels of personal growth, professional development, performance improvement). As he explains in the Introduction to this book, "Most new hires do not fail on the job due to a lack of skill. My company, Leadership IQ, tracked 20,000 new hires over a three-year period. Within the first 18 months, 46 percent of them failed (got fired, received poor performance reviews, or were written up). And as bad as that sounds, it's pretty consistent with other studies over the years and thus not too shocking."

He goes on to point out, "What is shocking, though, is why those people failed. We categorized and distilled the top five reasons why new hires failed and found these results [i.e. deficiency]:

1. Coachability (26%)
2. Emotional Intelligence (23%)
3. Motivation (17%)
4. Temperament (15%)
5. Technical Competence (11%)"

Murphy wrote this book primarily to help those who read it "to select the high performers that will fit with and excel in [the reader's] unique culture." He does expect his readers to replace "the traditional, and generally failed approaches to hiring" with what he recommends. That will require them to make various changes ("both mental and physical") as they work their way through the narrative.

There are frequent references to a metaphor, "Brown Shorts," throughout the book whose meaning and significance Murphy explains as "the unique attitudinal characteristics that make your company different from all others. They are a list of the key attitudes that define your best people, but they also describe the characteristics of the people who aren't making it. When you ask your candidates to `wear' your Brown Shorts, you're going to learn a lot from how they respond." All this is explain thoroughly in the book, and I agree with Murphy that Brown Shirts "is a crazy name" but its relevance to his key points is direct and substantial.

I was especially interested in what he has to say about two categories of candidates that he discusses: Bless Their Hearts ("great attitudes but lousy skills"), and Talented Terrors (their exact opposite). Most candidates possess a combination of attributes of both in varying proportions. Murphy explains what desired candidates possess and offers a quick three-part test to assess whether or not sufficient Behavioral Specificity is being obtained during a "Brown Shorts Discovery" interview. In fact, he provides a wealth of information, insights, and recommendations. Whenever doing so, he reiterates two key points: (1) that each culture is unique and (2) that the selection process should therefore seek the best fit of candidate with the given culture.

There is one other portion of Murphy's material that also needs to be noted: Word Pictures, a technique that he thoroughly explains in Chapter 7. Briefly, "it can be used to turn what you learned in Hiring for Attitude into a method for teaching attitude in orientations and onboarding and as a foundation of performance appraisal, coaching discussions, and so much more." Details are best revealed in context. However, I feel comfortable when suggesting that mastering the skills of using Word Pictures effectively will indeed provide the
"revolutionary approach" to which the book's subtitle refers. The potential applications of that approach are almost unlimited.

Although Murphy's focus is primarily on the hiring process, I think the same core values and principles that guide and inform that process should serve as the foundation of an organization's HR policies and procedures. Ultimately, the success of recruiting, interviewing, hiring, onboarding, and talent management/ development depends almost entirely on first understanding - I mean REALLY understanding - one's culture and its unique defining characteristics.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thought-provoking Fun & Easy Read, March 23, 2012
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This review is from: Hiring for Attitude: A Revolutionary Approach to Recruiting and Selecting People with Both Tremendous Skills and Superb Attitude (Hardcover)
We purchased several copies of this book for use in a work-based book study group. We broke it down by chapters and discussed 1 chapter a week for 7 weeks, with a different manager giving a synopsis & leading the discussion each week in our Management Team meetings.

I personally found it to be a quick & entertaining read on what can be a dull but extremely important topic: hiring the BEST people, not just the most qualified people. Mark Murphy's research shows that failure due to poor skills is often the least important reason why folks fail out at work. In his opinion (and mine as well) Attitude is Everything. Talented Terrors often rule the roost to the detriment of those around them, and Bless Their Hearts really try but just succeed in creating more work for those with better skills.

The lessons are fairly easy to follow and we systematically created our own set of Brown Shorts characteristics (total of 4 critical traits), crafted questions for those characteristics (at least 2 questions per characteristic)and are in the process of implementing them as we push off on a hiring spree. I was the first in the group to use them when screening for a new member of my team (to replace someone who CLEARLY did not have the Brown Shorts attitude we were needing!). We did NOT use them when screening/hiring the outgoing person, and wish we knew then what we know now! The first candidates to whom we posed our questions were somewhat taken aback ("Wow...these are really interesting questions" and "Hmmmm - I have never been asked that before" were comments from some very seasoned candidates) and it was actually fun to listen to their answers. Very enlightening, to say the least. Our identified candidate starts tomorrow so we will see how those Brown Shorts traits show up on the job (I will try to update the review at a later date....).

The only challenge to crafting your own system is in creating the Answer Key (as other reviewers have mentioned). We do not have the luxury of being able to interview hundreds of candidates, record their answers, and study/categorize the results as Murphy's team does. We also opted not to do an in-house survey of current employees. However, as we implment and hire based on the clear criteria we have set down, we will no doubt be able to craft our Answer Key over time and with experience. We are creating our own in-house training program to help other hiring managers and interested parties (who were not part of the original book group) implement the Hiring for Attitude / Brown Shorts process with each and every candidate we see for every position. We are all looking forward to reaping the benefits.

I would highly recommend this book to all organizations, large and small, as the theory behind the book can be applied in any workplace situation.

UPDATE: April 29, 2013
We have now been utilizing the Hiring for Attitude way of interviewing for 1 full year at our office. I can honestly say that without exception, all of the candidates that we have hired since we implemented "Hiring for Attitude" have been exemplary. We have used our developed "brown shorts" questions to quickly weed out those who would not bring to the table the attitude we are seeking. It has been an amazing experience to see the process and results put into action. This has been a successful enough program that our leadership has shared with other leaders throughout the Region, many of whom are also implementing hiring for attitude.

UPDATE: June 24, 2014
I am thrilled to report that the process is STILL WORKING for us more than 2 years after implementation. The folks that we "Brown Shorts" interview and who pass have become some of our more valuable, creative, and energetic staff members, and we have now created a great base of emerging leaders because of the process. I will say that my own experience with using this method has been incredibly revealing when someone fails to answer the questions we pose based on Hiring for Attitude. Believe me - there have been cases where, in the past, we would have hired a person based on their resume skills. However, we understand now that failing to utilize this process in our organization will lead to failed hires. It's just that simple. It is my opinion that those who are looking for a quick fix just by getting ideas from the book without actually going through the process will not be as successful as we have been. However - if you take the time to develop your traits and questions, then take the time to fully embrace and implement the hiring system (it IS time consuming) then you will experience the benefits.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Useful despite the heavy-handed sell, April 5, 2013
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I was reluctant to buy this book because other reviewers complained that the author constantly referred to his consulting business and his company website. While I agree that there was some very heavy-handed selling, there was also enough detailed guidance and specific examples to make the book worthwhile. The process of identifying your the attitudes of high performers and generating interview questions to target those attitudes was thoroughly explained. Additionally, detailed guidelines for how to create interview "answer keys" was also provided. This is a technique I've not seen in any other interviewing resource, and I'm eager to apply it in my work to ensure more consistent applicant selection.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stop Hiring the Wrong People!, January 19, 2013
By 
Monty Rainey (New Braunfels, TX) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Hiring for Attitude: A Revolutionary Approach to Recruiting and Selecting People with Both Tremendous Skills and Superb Attitude (Hardcover)
Over the years I have read a number of books on hiring the right people and, for the most part, they've all been pretty similar or at least have taken similar approaches to hiring. I didn't really expect to find much difference with HIRING FOR ATTITUDE by Mark Murphy, but was pleasantly surprised to find the book is built around an entirely new (to me) concept of how to approach hiring the right people.

With all of the books on hiring I've read in the past, I felt I had constructed a pretty solid barrage of interview questions and had plenty of resources to find the right people for the job. I very quickly learned just how ineffective many of my questions were and also learned a new way to ask questions that creates a much better way to gather useful information and learn far more about the qualities you are looking for, or the qualities that you are looking to avoid. In fact, it just so happened the morning after reading chapters 1, 2 & 3, I had interviews scheduled. What I had already read from the book had an immediate impact and I felt the interviews I held that day were the most productive and revealing interviews I had ever conducted.

The entire approach taught by Murphy makes absolute and perfect sense. First he points out what I already knew: that most people who don't fit for a job are not because they lack skill but because they lack the right attitude. Any company with more than a handful of employees already has a blueprint for building their approach to hiring for the right attitude. You simply create a profile of your star performers and one of your poor performers. You identify the qualities that exemplify each and build your questions in a way that will identify those same or similar qualities in the candidates you interview. The entire process is laid out is very easy to understand and easy to implement terms.

I want to make one thing very clear. Most hiring books are going to provide you with what, at first thought, seem like good questions to use in your interview process. They may even give a few pointers about body language, voice inflection, etc. The point I'm making is, basically you read the book and then you apply what you read. With this book, it's not so simple. To implement the advice given here is going to require a lot of work on your part. You're not going to simply read the book and apply what you've learned. To do this right means a number of preliminary steps such as identifying desirable and undesirable traits, developing profiles, crafting questions to fit your business culture and to identify traits, developing "word pictures" to help turn your current people into star performers, and a lot more.

I truly believe, if you do the work needed with each of these steps, the eventual payoff will be tremendous. I've already seen an immediate impact and haven't carried out all of these steps. When it comes to finding top tier candidates for your company, I believe this book is a game changer. I give this book my highest recommendation.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great ideas, but it is really a promotion for his company, February 26, 2012
By 
Daniel "Father of three" (Rockville, MD, United States) - See all my reviews
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I have been struggling over the last year trying to hire top performers. We tend to make the mistake that Mark highlights very well of hiring for skills when we should be hiring for attitude. I therefore jumped at the chance to read his book. On the plus side, he does a beautiful job of describing why hiring for attitude is important and how is company goes about developing custom questions to help ferret out attitudes through interviews. However, it is a very complicated process. A key step is to work out how a scoring guide so that you know exactly how to rate the responses to the questions. Although the book does provide a list of questions, there are really only two questions that are fully mapped out with the scoring key. Sure, it makes sense to go through the long process of developing questions that are perfect for you organization, but I had expected him to provide more examples. On top of this, he plugs his company throughout the book stating that more information is available on the website. Except the link doesn't work (it should be [...] ) and there is little additional information on the website.

If he had included a dozen good examples of "brown short questions" along with the scoring key (or had them on the website), this book would be golden, but then you wouldn't need to hire Mark to help you develop your own questions. As it is, it is certainly worth $15. Based on what I pulled out of the book, I have revamped my interview technique and will slowly be building my own scoring keys. I therefore gave it four stars for great content, but not five because it could have been so much better.
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, January 5, 2013
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This review is from: Hiring for Attitude: A Revolutionary Approach to Recruiting and Selecting People with Both Tremendous Skills and Superb Attitude (Hardcover)
Catchy title, clever concept, hardly the material for a 200+ page book.

I miss the days where academics specializing in a topic, after decades of research and thought, shared their knowledge through a book. Today, entrepreneurs write books, not to share their knowledge but to make a profit (please dont call me a socialist! I am the most Adam Smith loving entrepreneur you will ever meet!). Case in point, the author mentions his company name 54 times. His seminars and webinars are virtually mentioned every two or three pages.

If I had to summarize it, the book spends:

70% is BS
20% the author is selling you his company
10% introduces the reader to a concept that with a little more integrity could end up being a useful and practical book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A must for anyone who hires people, February 29, 2012
This review is from: Hiring for Attitude: A Revolutionary Approach to Recruiting and Selecting People with Both Tremendous Skills and Superb Attitude (Hardcover)
"46% of the people hired will fail in the first 18 months on the job - 89% of the time, it's because of attitude"

I was first attracted to the "Hiring for Attitude" since my experience is people with good attitude seem way more engaged and are also more fun to work with. I often see the role of leadership as managing attitude. I always figure "People are going to have an attitude - may as well help it be a good one".

What I was worried about in a book on hiring for attitude was missing the skill, background or talent. Good attitude is great but it is clearly only one part of the puzzle.

The book has a number of interview questions suggested to figure out who has good attitude (I also learned that some of my favorite questions were bad ones like "what is the last book you read" and "what are your strengths and weaknesses" - Murphy believes these are asked too often so everyone has a rehearsed answer. Good questions are those that separate the good attitude from the bad attitude). It also explains how to build good interview questions.

Murphy is a big believer in textual analysis. Analyzing words to figure out if someone is telling the truth and to figure out their attitude. EG - high performers use past tense verbs when explaining a past situation because they are recalling a real situation. EG - People with nothing to say often hide behind fluffy adverbs.

Good attitude usually comes down to taking responsibility. I know in life, people tend to be more successful if they accept responsibility and it is not "the world did it to me".

Good book for anyone who is involved in hiring.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed, April 18, 2014
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This review is from: Hiring for Attitude: A Revolutionary Approach to Recruiting and Selecting People with Both Tremendous Skills and Superb Attitude (Hardcover)
I purchased this book to help with hiring staff for my small business for the very first time. My business works with children, and I want to make sure I have people with the right skills, and more importantly the right attitude. This book seemed like a no brainer to help me with my hiring decisions... Unfortunately I found most of it to be common sense, or some of the questions to ask potential hires manipulative - I really wasn't impressed. The book would introduce me to some new concepts, but for the most part never develop more than just an introduction. Maybe my expectations were too high based on the awesome reviews... it just didn't do it for me.... Maybe it just wasn't the right match for me, but will be for someone else!
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