CEDIA Business Exchange: 8 Tips for Hiring People with the Right Attitude

The surest way to get the honest answer from a candidate, how to ensure a reference returns your call ... and more

CEDIA Business Exchange: 8 Tips for Hiring People with the Right Attitude
Mark Murphy, author of Hiring for Attitude, coaches attendees at the CEDIA Business Xchange.

Julie Jacobson · May 12, 2016

This week at the CEDIA Business Xchange conference in San Diego, dealers, manufacturers and others in the home-technology channel are getting a good dose of human-resource training. After last night's night's cruise and scavenger hunt sponsored by Dish, about 120 people hunkered down today to learn about hiring people with the right attitude.

Mark Murphy, author of Hiring for Attitude, says more workers fail at their jobs not because of technical ineptitude but because of the wrong attitude. It's relatively easy to hire on skills, he says, but tougher to measure attitude in a traditional interview setting.

With that in mind, how can you gauge a candidate's attitude and determine if that attitude meshes with the responsibilities of the job and the culture of the company? 

Here are a few tips:

  1. Test-drive your interview questions. What would make a good answer vs. a bad answer?
  2. Better yet, run the interview questions by your own employees. Take your best performers and look for answers like theirs.
  3. If you're hearing the same answers from every candidate ... stop asking that question.
  4. Keep questions open-ended. Just leave it at: “Can you tell me about a time you had an angry customer?” Don’t add “and how you resolved the issue?” The good candidate should volunteer that bit about issue resolution.
  5. Ask a question. Don’t say “Tell me about ….” Instead, ask “Can you tell me about ….?” This approach makes the candidate a little more relaxed.
  6. Don’t do that hypothetical-question thing, like: “What would you do if the server crashed at 2 a.m.?” Responding that she’d get out of bed and go straight to the office tells you nothing about her propensity to actually do it.
  7. You want honest answers? Ask the candidate the name of his last boss, and then ask him to spell it. It makes it sound like the ol’ boss is getting a phone call about your interview.
  8. If the old boss or any other reference doesn’t answer the phone, leave this voice message: “Please call me back if Joe is fantastic.” They’ll return your call because either 1) Joe is fantastic or 2) they’re wondering: “Did Joe say I think he’s fantastic?!”

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  About the Author

Julie Jacobson is founding editor of CE Pro, the leading media brand for the home-technology channel. She has covered the smart-home industry since 1994, long before there was much of an Internet, let alone an Internet of things. Currently she studies, speaks, writes and rabble-rouses in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V, wellness-related technology, biophilic design, and the business of home technology. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, and earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin. She is a recipient of the annual CTA TechHome Leadership Award, and a CEDIA Fellows honoree. A washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player, Julie currently resides in San Antonio, Texas and sometimes St. Paul, Minn. Follow on Twitter: @juliejacobson Email Julie at

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  Article Topics

Business · Business Operations · Events · CEDIA · News · Products · CEDIA Expo · All Topics
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Posted by cybermanor on May 14, 2016


Thanks for posting this information - missing everyone at CEDIA xChange.  Gordon

Posted by cybermanor on May 14, 2016


Thanks for posting this information - missing everyone at CEDIA xChange.  Gordon