Quick reminder: What to look for in job candidates

The Havard Business Review recently wrote about ‘five testable qualities that determine a candidate’s potential’ that their research has unearthed:

  • The right kind of motivation: a determination to excel in the pursuit of unselfish goals (often evidenced by humility)
  • Curiosity: a penchant for new experiences and openness to feedback, learning and change
  • Insight: the ability to gather information and suggest new possibilities
  • Engagement: a knack for using emotion and logic to connect with people
  • Determination: the wherewithal to fight for difficult goals in the face of challenge, and to bounce back from adversity

It’s a good list, but it leaves unanswered the issue of how to assess experience and pre-existing knowledge. The first thing to do is to figure out how important experience is to the role. Taking the time to write a good job description is perhaps the best way to do that (my Partner David Norris explains how).

Having established the extent to which experience is important it’s time to work out whether the candidate has the relevant knowledge or, perhaps more importantly, will be able to build it. Asking candidates to complete case studies or think through domain specific problems is a better way to make this judgement than going through past achievements from the CV. Good candidates will use their achievements as examples anyway. Case studies are also a good way to assess insight and curiosity.

Hat tip to the excellent A Founders Notebook for pointing me to the HBR article.