Hiring Tips - The Legacy Of You - Michael Ian Cedar

Hiring? Watch For These 3 Things

Throw Back Thursday:
This Throw Back Thursday post is originally from 2011 and has gotten a fresh coat of paint.

Doing meaningful work? You may be to the point that you need other people to help spread your message, product, or service. Hiring your first team members is one of the most scary and exciting things, both at the same time.

As my team is growing at a rapid rate, I wanted to share with you how I evaluate candidates. There are three non-resume based criteria I look for when bringing someone new onto my team: attitude, aptitude, and skill. Here is a little more on the topic:

The Criteria

SKILL ATTITUDE APTITUDE - The Legacy Of You1) Attitude
Is this someone who has a good attitude? If they don’t have a good attitude in the interview process when people are (hopefully) trying to be on their best behavior, they won’t have a good attitude in the workplace. During the interview process, how does the candidate represent himself or herself? Will they be a pleasant person to work with or someone you and your team will want to avoid? Is this someone who is taking the job only because they need the money, or is this position going to help them grow? I often ask the individual to tell me about previous employers. I can guarantee you that if they trash the last person they work for, they will bash me, too. I like to work with people who have an infectiously positive attitude towards the position they are applying for. It is amazing what a group of properly hired people with high enthusiasm can do for a company.

2) Aptitude
Do they have the ability to learn the specifics of the job assigned to them? Are they willing to learn something new or are they closed off and think they know everything already? Are they open to criticism or are they defensive? Will they learn quickly or will this be a long, painstaking and expensive process?

3) Skill
Where is their current level of skill? I need the candidate to have a strong working knowledge of the technical or managerial elements of the role they are applying for. If I am hiring a sound engineer, I need to know they have the skills needed to operate and set up sound equipment. Of course I want my doctors and lawyers to have an extremely high level of skill too…


Everything is contingent on attitude, regardless of your current skill. – I don’t always care what your level of skill is or your aptitude. In entertainment, we all work like a family. If you have a bad attitude, I don’t care what your current level of skill is or your ability to learn, you are not right for my team. 100% of the time I hired someone with strong skills but the wrong attitude, it NEVER worked.

Just because you have the skill doesn’t mean you can do the job. – Live entertainment has many challenges. Every gig is different. Due to the demands of the theatre, you may have to be flexible with the way you are used to doing things. If you are not willing to learn the job the way it needs to be done for this company, then you are not right for us.

If you are a great person ready to learn but have no practical experience, I can’t use you, yet.
– I can’t hire you to be a manager if you have absolutely no background in management. The road is tough. I don’t want you making beginner mistakes while in the line of fire. I will remember you, though. Come back to me when you have some assistant training (or perhaps when I have an assistant position available).

Hire Slowly – Fire Quickly!

It’s that simple, and that hard.
Several times I have made the mistake of not adhering to this golden rule. Every time it bit my team and me in the butt. If you are a road company, I fully acknowledge how difficult it can be to replace someone while in the trenches. Not releasing a bad company member is like staying in a bad relationship: don’t stay with the person if they are not right for you!

Hiring People For The Legacy Of You,



  1. Have you ever hired someone skill first, attitude last, and it worked? If so, how did it work for you?
  2. If you could rate yourself in order of strengths – Attitude, Aptitude, Current Level of Skill – How would you rate yourself?
  3. Are you ready to bring someone new onto your team? Will you be able to use my criteria above? Or do you need to use some sort of other criteria?

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