Mining for talent

You can teach someone how do to a job, but you can’t teach them good character or creativity. That was the crux of a conversation I had with “Nick” last week. Nick is an influential leader at a high-tech company who enjoys finding talent others overlook.

His favorite finds are musicians, artists of all types, and athletes. He asks questions to draw out their stories about the art or sport they love, what they’ve done to improve their ability and team interactions they’ve had.

“It’s what they do when they’re not working that appeals most to me,” he said. “What’s important enough to them that they find ways to fit it into their full schedules.” That means they have a “make it work, can do” mindset.

How does he find these people? He scans the bottom section of resumes looking for what people do in their off-work time. “I start the conversation there, looking for creativity, the least explored topic in most interviews. Without creativity, people get stumped,” he said.

He has a specific interest in female artists and athletes because he knows his company benefits from their creative thinking and perspectives. He enjoys talking with them about “their dedication to their art or sport, what they do to excel and, if it’s a team sport, the art of teamwork.” He’s learned from experience, and from his wife and three daughters, ages 18-27, that a female perspective often challenges what he and others have been thinking. He wants varied viewpoints on his teams, people who look at the bigger, longer-term picture, and development opportunities for the team, “not just tech gurus.

Another dedicated pursuit he admires is non-profit volunteering. “With their mindset for the greater good, they often make excellent team members and team leaders.”

Nick knows if it’s going to be the right fit by listening for what’s in their heart, mind, gut, what moves them at their core. He learns about their character and creativity through those conversations. It’s a passion that has served his company well and speaks to his character and creativity, too.

Share Button