Many companies think they have staffed their team with the perfect individuals: graduates from top universities and past employees of leading companies. All the while, other companies around them achieve much better results with less “surface talent.” The team a company assembles can fail to deliver if they stick to basic outdated interview processes.
Seeking out qualifications rather than the attributes of superstars and game changers can be limiting to the progress of a company. Game changers think outside of the box and tackle their tasks differently; passion and a unique perspective inspire others around them. Apple and IBM took game-changing approaches to revive their fading brands, whilst Aerosmith vocalist Steven Tyler became incredibly successful by approaching the job of song writing in a revolutionary way. He sites “infatuation, obsession, passion, anger, zeal (and) craze” as some of the key elements of his success.
To hire game changers, the recruitment process has to change.
To get an idea of what candidate to search for, focus on what the new hire will be expected to achieve. Temper this list with minimal technical requirements and personal attributes: you’re likely to be surprised at the wider range of backgrounds that are eligible. To finalise the description, place emphasis on what the candidate will do as opposed to a stock list of requirements; display the minimum requirements to ensure no exclusion of potential game changers.
To find the game changers, not necessarily those candidates with the top degrees or who score highly on interview technique, shift the recruitment strategy to find out who was behind the meaningful achievements at companies and universities. Smaller companies which have achieved big things will likely have a game changer on their team utilising good personal initiative rather than huge budgets.
Your emphasis in the interview should be assessing for “diversity of thought, work ethic, intelligence, and common sense”. Don’t get hung up on experience and technical skills. Try to discover how the candidate has approached difficult challenges; learn how they got from A – Z in detail. Give them real in-interview challenges to assess the four aforementioned characteristics. Finally you might want to re-examine your interview team and try to incorporate diverse thinkers.
Challenges are what motivate a game changer, but they certainly like to be compensated too. When a candidate is passionately trying to find solutions to your problems before even working for you, you’ve found a game changer. Challenge them: let them know what they will be responsible for; interesting challenges are very appealing to a game changer.
Creativity and passion are hard to keep engaged, but game changers must be constantly challenged on an on-going basis. Give them resources, praise them, reward them and get out of their way when they’re working!
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