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Testing job applicants… for sense of humor

Posted Sep 27 2011 7:37am

In this short video Colleen Barrett, former president of Southwest Airlines, shares some of the tricky (and hilarious) ways they screen job applicants for sense of humor.

I’d love to see way more companies do things like this to ensure a good cultural fit for new hires. The fact is that not every person will fit into every workplace culture and there is currently way too much focus on professional skills and way too little on personality fit.

The Southwest hiring mantra “Hire for attitude, train for skill” has served them well over the years and we’ve seen many other happy workplaces introduce similar approaches.

British sandwich chain Pret a Manger put it like this:

“You can’t hire someone who can make sandwiches and teach them to be happy,” says Jay, “So we hire happy people and teach them to make sandwiches”.

When you were hired was there any focus on cultural fit? Does your workplace generally try to hire happy people or is the focus mostly on professional skills? What mix do you prefer between professional and cultural fit when new people are hired?

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