I really like this post from Chris over at the Alchemy of Soulful Work called, Give Curiosity a Chance. He quotes from an article about NASA and links it to general business and then specifically to hiring practices, ending with:
“The reality is that the current system does not reward folks with a wide array of skills, experiences, talents. The default is complacency where deliverables trump curiosity. If you are hiring right now, take a second look at that person coming from left field. They might just be bringing something that will reinvigorate your department, project, company, industry. Your curiosity will undoubtedly be rewarded.”
I agree with 95% of what he is saying. Think back 5 or 10 years. Most of us would not have been able to predict that we’d be here today. Many of your current top performers wouldn’t meet the qualifications stated on your job descriptions. I think deliverables are important too, but in an interview situation the focus needs to be on ensuring that the candidate is results oriented and gets the job done (in general).
Yes, we need to be VERY PICKY when hiring, but that does NOT mean we need to be rigid or overly prescriptive. If you have very specific knockout/deal breaker criteria, like certain degrees or the requirement to have worked in a specific field, you might want to rethink this. Unless you need a specific license or degree by law(doctors, lawyers, etc), you might be turning away some dyn-o-mite folks.
I mentioned this article just this weekend, but I’ll link to it again because it is very related to this topic. If you are interested in the topic of hiring processes, you can see my latest article called, Improving Hiring Processes by going here:
www.wpsmag.com then click on “current features” then “features” then “processes.” Sorry it takes somany steps, but I had a few people tell me that the direct link I provided did not work (maybe it’s a cookie thing?).
Here’s the bottom line: Great people can be great at many things. Mediocre workers are mediocre at most things. The most important thingto determine in an interview situation is whether you are talking with a highly talented or B player.
Yes, fit matters.
Yes, some B players can be A’s in the right environment.
Yes, some A’s are B’s in the wrong environment.
Don’t get too hung up on this because the level of fit will become apparent along the way to determining whether someone has been and is an A or B player. You need to get to KNOW this person, so don’t waste your time asking about peripheral stuff and don’t get too hung up on the specifics of what someone has done. Worry more their approach, jugment, intrinsic motivations, and apparent instincts.
OK, stepping off the box now!