What’s the Most Important Quality to Look for When Hiring Cleaning Staff?

So, you’re hiring a new member of your cleaning staff. Which of these qualities would be most important to you?

A. Experience
B. Attitude
C. Knowledge

We recently did an informal Twitter poll on this same question, just to see how our audience would respond.

Twitter poll results

The majority of you answered “Attitude.” The numbers back this up. Some quick statistics:

  • 46 percent of new hires will fail within 18 months.
  • Only 19 percent of new hires will succeed over the long term.
  • Of those that don’t last, a full 89 percent lose their jobs due to something involving their attitude or personality (lack of coachability, poor emotional intelligence, poor motivation, or a bad temperament.)
  • Only 11 percent of new hire failures lose their jobs due to technical incompetence.2

The fact is, hiring first for attitude and work ethic is a great way to fight the rampant turnover that plagues the cleaning industry. That’s not to say that experience and knowledge of products and best cleaning practices aren’t valuable. This is true especially if you’re wanting someone to come in and hit the ground running. But in the long term, hiring employees with a good outlook on their job, the people they work with, and their career as a whole is an enormous benefit for a company.

Every job involves interacting with new people and learning new things, both of which go more smoothly when someone has a good attitude. Even if there's more upfront training involved, that is time well spent if you're getting an employee who is going to stick around. Such employees have even more value for a business, as they can serve as role models or mentors for new staff members when it comes to training.

In contrast, the dangers of a bad attitude are very real and can be damaging. Bad attitudes can spread, decreasing the overall performance of your staff and actively working against efforts to improve morale and working conditions. What's worse, the actual work suffers and can lead to a loss of business.1


Want to learn more about hiring, training, and keeping your cleaning staff? We’ve got a free E-book that covers all of this. Just fill out the form on this page to get your copy.


1. Mack, S. (2018). Adverse Effects of A Bad Attitude in the Workplace. Chron. Retrieved from http://smallbusiness.chron.
2. Toren, A. (2017). Hiring for Attitude Over Experience: What the Numbers Show. Business.com. Retrieved from https://www.business.com/articles/hiring-for-attitude-over-experience-what-the-numbers-show/

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