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Hiring for Fit

In a post at The Bell Curve Scar, Curt Wehrley relates his discussion with a manager who described an ideal job candidate: detail oriented, able to multitask, excellent written communication ability. In other words, the technical skills required for the job. Curt points out that those technical competencies may help get the job done, but passion, obsession, and love for the work distinguish the workplace environment.

I always find it easier to teach someone how to do a job than how to fit a culture. That's why, when I worked for a Fortune 500 bank, I often pursued nontraditional candidates, individuals lacking job-specific skills, but who demonstrated values already in alignment to the corporation. If they could multitask, great. But if they showed strengths like creativity, initiative, and perseverance, I would gladly invest time teaching them specialized job functions.

Why should you consider this approach? New business models are emerging. The critical distinction between competing organizations is shifting away from the biggest over to the brightest; brains are replacing brawn, and we are outsourcing laborers while hiring knowledge workers. Therefore, leadership today requires skills for attracting, retaining, and inspiring workers with passion, obsession, and love for the organization's mission. Find workers like that, and they'll figure out how to get the work done.
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