Is the candidate sitting in front of you right for this job? How do you know when market conditions are so volatile it’s hard to predict all the qualifications and attributes you’re going to need six months or one year down the road?
As the world of work is changing -- constantly reorganizing, fragmenting, and requiring market reconceptualization, you’ve got to ask the right questions to see if the candidate has the attributes you need to grow your business and adapt to constant change. Old command and control work environments didn’t demand the kind of flexibility, adaptability, and broad business knowledge that new dynamic work environments do. Desirable candidates, even ones who have the right qualifications -- must be flexible, rapid and eager learners. Here are some questions you need to ask.
1. Is the candidate highly adaptive? You want someone who is fleet on their feet in adapting to changes in the work environment, since right now change is the only constant in most organizational systems. Can the candidate offer you examples of how they were able to grow, shift, and evolve to workplace change in their last position? Adaptability, the capacity to take on new roles and embrace new ways of thinking, are critical when the winds of the economy swirl.
2. Do they ask great questions? Everyone knows you need to come to a job interview having researched the position. But once they’re in the interview, what do they “hear” about the business or your work? Are they able to listen, synthesize and ask thoughtful questions about the heart of your business? This tells you a lot about how a candidate thinks and whether they will be able to diagnose a market problem as it is occurring, and respond to it.
3. Are they voraciously curious? What else do they want to know? Are they lit up with questions? In a new book about curiosity, Todd Kashdan notes that curiosity is about “appreciating and seeking out the new. Instead of desperately seeking certainty, it is about embracing uncertainty.” Because a great employee now needs to be a great learner, being voraciously curious is key to high productivity and breakthrough thinking.
4. Can they see patterns in disparate information? Mountains of data and an overabundance of information now overwhelm every work environment. Does the candidate demonstrate they can see patterns and sense important trends in information, workflows and organizational crises? Old-style work environments required employees who could effectively respond, but new market conditions demand the ability to proactively “see” what’s happening in the market synthetically, and to be able to communicate it to others. This ability to see patterns in swaths of information and data needs to be something you hire for, from the front desk receptionist, to the regional sales manager, to IT security.
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