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In LinkedIn’s recent interview series, How I Hire, top-performing entrepreneurs candidly shared their secrets on how they find the “diamonds in the rough” during the hiring process. Job seekers, you’ll want to take some notes because this is a great opportunity for you to sit in the employer’s seat and gain perspective on what constitutes a winning candidate.
Sallie Krawcheck, owner of 85 Broads, understands that hiring a diverse workforce is what constitutes a solid team. She stated in her interview with LinkedIn, “Greater diversity of thought, perspective, and background has been shown to lead to greater innovation and superior financial results. So, when I hire for a management team, I try to avoid hiring all point guards.” What Krawcheck means by “hiring all point guards” is that you can’t compile a winning basketball team with only superstar point guards; you need other members who excel at shooting, defense, offense, and rebounding as well.
Lesson: It’s important for job seekers to recognize their strengths and learn how to leverage them during the interview process. Remember, going after a job that you know you’re under- or over-qualified for will only end up in disappointment and, possibly, a failing career. Therefore, understand where you excel and hone in on those traits because that is how you can guarantee that you choose your career, and not the other way around.
Steve Stoute, founder and CEO of Translation, takes a bit of an unconventional approach to the interview process, focusing more on finding what makes the individual tick than purely concentrating on qualifications. Stoute justifies his logic of veering from the norm during candidate interviews when he explains:
“One example of how I expand the conversation -- I’ll ask a person what their parents do for a living. The careers of their parents may not have a direct reflection at all on their job in particular, but their response can provide valuable insight. Or, I’ll take the prospective employee to a restaurant, see how they talk to the waiter, get a sense of their patience level and how they carry themselves. Usually people come to an interview and their entire preparation is to Google the CEO, note all of the words that he or she says and, in the interview, find new ways to regurgitate those buzzwords. But if you take someone out of his or her comfort zone you get a chance to see what really makes them tick.”
Lesson: As an individual, your story is what is unique to you, so be proud of your successes and failures -- or, what makes you, you. Many professionals put on an act that they’re perfect, without flaws, in hopes of impressing employers and winning the job. However, this is the exact misrepresentation of character that Stoute and other good employers try to unveil through the interview process, so that they aren’t hiring professionals who will only end up asking for a raise in three months to compensate for the lack of satisfaction in their work. Therefore, it’s key for candidates to understand the basics of who they are, what their strengths and weaknesses are, and, most importantly, what they want out of their careers. Answering these few simple questions can make the difference between winding up in a dead-end job versus affording yourself a fulfilling and successful career.
When setting out on your career path, try to be realistic with your goals and aspirations, and, above all else, be true to yourself. Also, find the employers that are the “diamonds in the rough” and who value their employees and diversity. You don’t want to find out that the mold you forced yourself to fit into, is now the reason for your unhappiness and regret.
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