Ten Things I Look For When I’m Hiring

{Click here to read the original article on Forbes.}

I couldn’t care less whether someone I am considering for a job opening has done the job before. If they’ve already done the job, my first question will be “Why do you want to do the same thing again?” I want to understand a job-seeker’s path. Where is he or she headed?

That doesn’t mean that I expect or want someone to have a five-year plan. I certainly don’t have a five-year plan. Five years is a long time. Why would I try to box in Mother Nature?

I have a vision that I’m working toward — but I wouldn’t ask a job applicant, “What’s your vision for yourself?” That’s a personal question. I only need to know why this job makes sense for you, apart from the fact that you need a job.

I ran a job ad for an Editor one time and got 150 responses. In the job ad I said, “In your email response please share two or three reactions to our latest newsletter” and I included the link to our newsletter.

Of the 150 or so responses, 40 people included comments on the newsletter, and the vast majority of those reactions were “It’s a nice newsletter.”

Ten people shared thoughtful comments on our newsletter, and we interviewed those ten folks. One of them got the job.

Of the ten people we interviewed for the Editor position, only two people had had Editor titles before. One person was a stage manager and another one had been working in Finance but burned out on it. Past experience in many areas (not all!) is overrated.

“Industry experience” is a particularly stupid job requirement, because having spent time in different industries is a good thing, not a bad thing!

Most intellectually-curious adults can perform most white-collar jobs, if we are honest. If we hired people based on their brains and pluck instead of the words on their resume, we’d make better hires, faster, and get better results, but we are afraid to take a chance on a person.

That’s crazy, but there is a lot of fear in the working world.

Most of the nonsense that job-seekers must put up regarding their Job Qualifications is based on the fiction that you have to have done a job already in order to get the job.

It makes no sense!

Here are the 10 things I look for when I’m hiring people:

  1. I look for someone who is curious.
  2. I look for someone who is game — who has tried things just for the heck of it, and has taken risks.
  3. I look for someone who’s confident.
  4. I look for someone who can communicate his or her thoughts clearly, and who has opinions.
  5. I look for someone genuine.
  6. I look for someone who has taken the time to investigate our organization and think about it.
  7. I look for someone who is looking to learn and can tell me a few important thing s/he has already learned.
  8. I look for someone with a sense of humor.
  9. I look for someone who is reliable and ethical.
  10. Lastly, I look for someone who isn’t afraid of me, managers in general or anyone else.

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