Hiring Games Part 2: The Perfect Candidate

Stories ,Tech
May 17, 2014

Part 1 is here if you missed it.

First off let’s agree on this: there is no such thing.

  • The rockstar / high performer will have zero social or soft skills.
  • The rock steady consistent performer probably won’t wow you with their ingenuity.
  • The friendliest most agreeable most likeable person will probably be useless.

This isn’t news to anyone; there’s tons of strategies out there where people tell you what characteristics or traits to look for, or guidelines to judge how much a fit is acceptable and still keep the team moving.  I personally don’t believe in either of those routes; my teams function like ant colonies or beehives where every member has a role to play.

There are no perfect candidates.  There are however, perfect roles for people.  My job as a hiring manager is to find the right person and role match.

There’s an excellent article on LinkedIn by Hootsuite’s CEO Ryan Holmes; in it he talks about balance between rock stars and homegrown talent and how startups need both. I would take that a step further and say most teams need that balance as well.  You can go read it here– I’ll wait.

It’s a light article to be sure but it highlights one of the key characteristics I look for in candidates.  For me the best trait in any potential employee is an unstoppable desire to learn. I  want hungry employees who always want to expand their minds and can demonstrate a history of pushing their limits.   There’s too much information at our fingertips for anyone with passion to not be able to pursue it in any field thanks to Google, online blogs, classes, and seminars.

Some of my best teams have had a diverse background and education, but similar work ethics.  It becomes a self managing and regulating system that leaves managers free to make decisions and not wonder if Bobby finished his work this week.  When you foster the right environment anything is possible.

One extra good link to read: Passion Trumps Talent.


Next: Letting Go Effectively.