Thursday, June 12, 2014

Personality is better than a Curriculum Vitae

As Joe Nickolls said, People that have worked with him know that he has one golden rule when it comes to hiring. He hires on PERSONALITY FIRST, and SKILL SECOND, but BOTH must be present. In his words :
(disclaimer! Skill is indeed important and must be part of the puzzle - I assume you meet the criteria as you have made it to the interview stage!)
To some of you I realize that sounds nuts, but hear me out. How many times have you looked at a resume and it has everything you're looking for. Experience, Skill, Education and a great cover letter. So you call them up and get them in for an interview and BAM....LAME.
What seemed like a sure thing on the pre-screening phone call turns into an interview that seems like it will never end.
I usually know in the first 90 seconds if the person I'm interviewing is the kind of person I want on the team. (Truth be told- it's not really 90 seconds but I get a sense early on!)
So what is it that I'm looking for?
First off - I have to feel engaged in the conversation. Be interesting, honest and sincere.Don't try to oversell yourself, just tell me why you are here and what you are all about. Why did you apply here and what attracted you to this position in the first place.
You've clearly made it this far, so your resume must have the basic qualifications that we are looking for. BUT what makes you awesome? What makes you the one we want? Why, out of all the people that apply here, do you stand out.
Ask me questions about the culture, and tell me what you value in the work place. Tell me values and traits you think are important and give me some examples that tell me what makes you...YOU. How will the team be better with YOU on it. I usually ask people to complete the sentence "I'm so glad we hired (your name here), because ___________"
What seals the deal for me?
Every time it's your personality.
I firmly believe that you can LEARN to better your skill set, but you CAN'T LEARN a personality.
  • Are you the kind of person that other people like to work with?
  • Do you work WITH others towards a common goal or are you a glory hound?
  • Are you open to feedback?
  • Do you share the wins and losses equally?
  • If I asked your current co-workers about you - what would they say?
  • Are you the kind of person that people feel comfortable working with, for, and near?
  • Are you REALLY someone that plays to their strengths on the team?
If someone in the interview talks about how THEY did everything themselves, chances are pretty good they will act that way when they work for you.
Ever watch an interview with a hockey player between periods? They ALWAYS call out the team effort and never almost talk about themselves. When they do have to answer a direct question about their personal contribution - they usually answer it by inserting their performance in how it fit into the overall effort of their peers. I am looking for your inner hockey player!
Understanding your contribution, your role and you capabilities are key.
Humility and Self Awareness are absolute.
Every single person in your team, company, organization or group is replaceable. Myself included! It may take time to find the right person but you will indeed find them.
Your personality is often the ONLY UNIQUE THING that you bring to the table, make sure it fits.
Reed Hastings from Netflix nailed it when he said "Do not tolerate brilliant jerks. The cost to teamwork is too high"
You might be the smartest guy in the room, but if you're a little too full of yourself, you won't make it any further than the interview.