Adam Grant On Interviewing to Hire Trailblazers, Nonconformists and Originals - Deepstash

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Hire Originals at Startups

  • To develop a resilient culture. An environment with people who think differently will put you into much better position to continuous innovation.
  • To anticipate market movements. Originals bring fresh ideas that can challenge your business model, your assumptions and principles.
  • To repurpose dissent. Do not let ideas be discarded.

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Originals and Where to Find Them

Originals and Where to Find Them

  • Unsung Heroes. For each major innovation or movement, there are catalysts that fade into the background of what they create.
  • Insubordinates. It's important to triage troublemakers, but in doing so, don't miss an original in your midst.
  • Those who have been fired. The ones who do not worry about pleasing others or fitting in.
  • Inward-facing innovators. People that even though work privately, create extreme impact.

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Adam Grant

“Values over rules are key for encouraging originality.”

ADAM GRANT

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Questions that will identify originals:

  1. How would you improve our interview process
  2. Tell me about the last time that you encountered a rule in an organization that you thought made no sense. What was the rule? What did you do and what was the result?
  3. Why shouldn't I hire you?
  4. It’s your first few months on the job. What questions would you first ask and to whom

An original would not just point out what's wrong, he would take actions to make it right.

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To identify an Original...

  • Start at the bottom of the CV. Look for people that have multi-functional backgrounds; breadth is critical for creativity.
  • Look for diversity of role models  — and distribution of their impact. Originals internalize others' perspective and construct new sets of ideas.
  • Uncover roads not taken. Originals are those who demonstrate continuous curiosity, but are willing to move on when there are hardships.
  • Make the candidate a culture detective. Assess how candidates view your company culture.

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Original are insistent and resilient

Original are insistent and resilient

  • Present a problem — but leave out a piece of information. Originals don't give up in the face of obstacles; they find ways around or through them.
  • Evaluate the response to difficult situations. The originals are the ones who expect that people would be motivated to take initiative and change the situation.
  • Ask in which job was he most miserable? Why and how did he deal with it? Even if an original does not like the work, he would still finish it.

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Notes on Evaluating Originals

Notes on Evaluating Originals

  • Corral references until they’re candid. You have to put references in a position where they have no choice but to be candid with you. The easiest way to do that is to give them forced choices of 2 undesirable attributes.
  • Use a prepared scoring key. It's much more effective to use a sliding scale to assess a person's ability to challenge the status quo, than a yes or no answer. Consider rating them on a 1-5 scale.

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