We Are Sunshine

Employee Attitudes are Contagious! How to hire employees whose attitudes are worth catching

Monday, July 31st, 2023

By Michael Mercer, Ph.D.,

Employee attitudes are contagious!

In fact, employee attitude research reveals this truth. Research by Ronald Friedman, Ph.D., of University of Rochester, published in “Motivation & Emotion” journal found pairing people in a room with… (a) high-motivated people resulted in high motivation and work results, but (b) low-motivation people resulted in low motivation and lousy work results.

This gives you profitable reason to:

  • hire employees who ooze terrific work attitudes
  • “de-employ” employees who exude lousy work attitudes

My pre-employment test research on successful employees reveals specific employee attitudes of superb, highly productive employees. Managers can use my research results to hire good employees whose attitudes are worth catching by their co-workers.


Companies using my “Abilities & Behavior Forecaster(tm) Tests,” start by custom-tailoring the tests for each job in the company. Customizing is done by conducting benchmarking study, e.g., (a) testing best employees in each job and then (b) seeing typical or “benchmark” scores gotten by those best employees. Then, the company confidently can focus on hiring job applicants who get same test scores as its best employees.

Interestingly, in pre-employment test benchmarking studies I did at many companies for many jobs, I often find successful employees get high scores on six personality test scales.

These test scores reveal terrific employee attitudes:

  1. Teamwork
  2. Follows Rules, Policies & Procedures
  3. Poised/Objective Reaction to Pressure
  4. Optimism
  5. Being Fact-Focused
  6. Helping People/Good Service Motivation

Isn’t that amazing! Most companies’ best employees possess wonderful employee attitudes.

Their great employee attitudes result in them being productive workers who help their employers grow and prosper.


Companies using pre-employment test sometimes ask me if smarter employees are better employees. Answer: It depends.

Think of job applicant assessments like you would when you decide whether to use a ladder. Before you step on a ladder, you examine its two legs.

* If both legs are strong, you use the ladder

* If one or both legs are broken, you would not use the ladder

Similarly, you also must evaluate job applicants on two key ingredients using:

  1. Behavior or Personality Tests
  2. Intelligence, Mental or Cognitive Abilities Tests

My research shows the best employees in some jobs get high intelligence tests scores. For other jobs, the best employees get average or low intelligence test scores. It depends on the intelligence or cognitive ability needed to perform the job.

As such, job applicant assessments should include both personality or behavior tests plus relevant intelligence tests.


Most interviewers, according to research, are lousy at using job interview to predict if a job applicant will succeed or fail on-the-job. That is important reason many companies use pre-employment tests. Pre-hire tests prove vastly more accurate at predicting work success or failure.

But, here is something you can observe in job interviews. In my third book, “Hire the Best & Avoid the Rest(tm),” the most quoted sentence I wrote said: “Whatever behavior you see from the applicant during your screening process is likely to be the very best behavior you ever will see from that person.”

So, if a job applicant shows good behaviors in job interviews, they are best you ever will see. If an applicant shows lousy behaviors in interview, then you could expect lousy employee attitudes if you hire that person.


Since employee attitudes are contagious, make sure you hire job applicants whose attitudes are worth catching by co-workers.

Start with pre-employment tests. Customize personality tests and intelligence or cognitive ability tests by finding “benchmark” test scores of your company’s best employees.

Then, focus on considering job applicants who get same scores as your best employees on pre-employment tests. Also, remember my research showing personality test scores of terrific employees reveal wonderful employee attitudes on six test scales: Teamwork, Follows Rules, Poised Reaction to Pressure, Optimism, Fact-Focus, and Helping People/Good Service Motivation.

Also, in job interviews remember that what you see from a job applicant is the best behavior you ever will see from that person. So, be aware and beware!

Your pre-employment tests and job interview observations can help you hire employees who exude good employee attitudes.


Michael Mercer, Ph.D., created 3 pre-employment tests that companies use to assess job applicants’ personalities, mental abilities or intelligence, and dependability or integrity. These pre-hire tests – are the 3 “FORECASTER(tm) TESTS.” Dr. Mercer’s 6 books include best-seller “HIRE THE BEST & AVOID THE REST(tm).” He also delivers speeches and seminars at companies and conventions. You can learn about the 3 FORECASTER(tm) pre-employment tests, or subscribe to his “HIRE THE BEST Newsletter,” at

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