Monday, August 27, 2007


I have read more than a few of them, but I will not quote from business books here. They tend to either be obvious platitudes on working harder or more efficiently, self-help style psychology lessons, pleadings for unfettered capitalism, or biographies of people who have run out of new ideas. Scott Adams is a glorious exception. But the notes here are my personal ideas.

In a recent interview for a fairly junior position, after the standard gentle interrogation, the candidate was asked if he had any questions for us. He asked "what are you really looking for in a candidate?" It's a good question, and all that earlier stuff about detectives and traffic lights is still completely relevant. But what I gave him was a one word answer, though I followed it up with an explanation.

What I told him was that "we have obviously done an initial assessment based on a CV that lays out skills and experience, and what we are looking for is the integrity that the person genuinely matches that. And we are looking for the integrity that if people are asked to do something, that they will try it honestly to the best of their ability. We can't ask for more than that."

It was a gut reaction, but I don't regret what I said. Of course we would have other criteria for more senior roles or more creative roles. And what I said was surely obvious anyway…


Ann said...

I believe that integrity is one of those characteristics that is publicly espoused by many but neither exhibited by the majority or valued by them.

I cheer you and say shame on them.

What, I wonder, was your candidates retort?

RNB said...

He had nothing else to say.

What is more interesting is what you (and others) would say if you only had one word or phrase to describe what you were looking for in a candidate.

RNB said...

Enthusiasm. It's hard to enthuse about trawling through data - We'd love to find someone (else) who does :)

Faisal said...

Trawling through data sounds quite mechanical and boring. Finding trends and hidden relationships and gaining nuanced insights, however, sounds quite interesting.