I once hired a door to door vacuum cleaner salesman to work in our diesel truck shop. He came in squeaky clean wearing a shirt and tie to apply for a technician’s job. When asked about mechanical experience, he had none. He couldn’t change a flat tire. He didn’t know the difference between a Phillips and a flat head screwdriver. He was not our typical oil change applicant, but I hired him because what he had was presence and a great attitude. He looked me in the eye. He was honest about his lack of experience. He told me he would start at the bottom. And, he proudly said he was a fast learner. So, I hired him on the spot.

Sure, it took a bit longer to train him. Sure, he made mistakes. Some small, some big. But he never gave up, and he never disappointed me. While he started at the bottom of the food chain, he ended up managing the place within a year. We have both moved on to bigger and better things, but I’ll always remember the lesson he taught me.

Hire the person with the right attitude every time.

I’d sum it up this way: You can teach someone with a good attitude just about anything, and you can teach someone with a bad attitude just about nothing.

Is attitude more important than experience to you? Any examples you want to share?

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