How to Hire New People
- Candidates should first pass three acid tests: for integrity, intelligence and maturity.
Adapted in part from The Wall Street Journal Guide to Management by Alan Murray, published by Harper Business.
In his book “Winning,” former General Electric CEO Jack Welch says he starts with three acid tests: for integrity, intelligence and maturity.
“People with integrity tell the truth and they keep their word,” he writes. “They take responsibility for past actions, admit mistakes, and fix them.” On intelligence, Welch makes clear he’s not necessarily looking for education, but rather “a strong dose of intellectual curiosity, with a breadth of knowledge to work with or lead other smart people in today’s complex world.” As for maturity, Welch says it has nothing to do with age; rather it’s a sense that the person “can withstand the heat, handle stress and setbacks, and alternatively, when those wonderful moments arrive, enjoy success with equal parts of joy and humility.”
Only if candidates pass those three acid tests does he then begin to evaluate what he calls “the four Es.” They are:
Positive Energy. Does the candidate have the ability to thrive on action and relish change? Will he or she be able to start the day with enthusiasm, and end it that way, too? “People with positive energy,” writes Mr. Welch, “just love life.
The Ability to Energize Others. “People who energize can inspire their teams to take on the impossible,” he writes. That requires the right combination of knowledge and skills of persuasion.
Edge, which Mr. Welch defines as the ability to make tough yes-or-no decisions. “Anyone can look at an issue from every different angle,” he writes. “Some smart people can – and will – analyze those angles indefinitely. But effective people know when to stop assessing and make a tough call, even without total information.”
Execute, or the ability to get the job done. Mr. Welch says experience has taught him that some people can do well on the first three Es, but still not have what it takes to get a job over the finish line. He looks to hire people who can make things happen.
Finally, Mr. Welch evaluates his candidates for their “passion.” “By passion,” he writes, “I mean a heartfelt, deep and authentic excitement about work.”
Here are some other ways to find talent:
Scour blogs and social networking sites such Facebook. Savvy applicants use these sites to showcase their accomplishments. You may find someone skilled in video editing through YouTube, or a concise copywriter through Twitter.
When interviewing applicants, consider using mock assignments, job simulations and role-playing exercises to suss out candidates true talents. Simulations can give you a first-hand look at how well a candidate prioritizes or handles pressure.
Don t limit yourself to active job-seekers. You may find the talents you need in someone who is not actively looking for a new job. Network within your industry to meet these folks, and talk up exciting projects or growth opportunities to spark their interest.
With existing employees, look through performance evaluations to identify whether employees seem sufficiently challenged within their current jobs or ready for additional responsibility. Read over self-evaluations to identify other achievements. Frequent, comprehensive conversations with employees will also help shed light on their interests and hobbies outside of work. You may be able to identify passions they d like to apply to work.
Give employees stretch assignments in unfamiliar roles. They may demonstrate previously hidden talents.
Related WSJ Articles and Blog Posts:
- YouTube CEO: Hiring the Right People
Video: Chad Hurley looks for hires with engaging personalities. He asks: Would I want to hang out with this person if I was stuck in an airport?