Thoughts about startups, tech, marketing, and life

When you interview someone for a job, what do you typically look for? There are plenty of really important aspects, such as a relevant background, success in school or past jobs, ambition, strong people and communication skills, personality, fit into the company culture, among others.

What I’ve found to be the most compelling trait is intellectual curiosity. I’m not the most seasoned recruiter, but I’ve been part of the interview process for full-time and intern positions here at the Caps, at my former consulting firms, and even back in high school when I worked at Champs Sports and the local supermarket. I’ve discovered that to me, the most influential characteristic of a candidate is the ability to ask insightful questions to garner a deeper understanding of how things are done and how s/he can impact and improve the company, even if the job is selling sneakers or scanning groceries. I think that intellectual curiosity can overcome certain shortcomings, such as a lack of direct experience for the position at hand, as it shows the ability to learn, assess, understand, and adapt.

What do you think? Have you found that intellectual curiosity is something that’s important to you?


Comments
Harvey Specter
Posted at 10:47 am November 1, 2011
daddy blog
Reply
Author

Yes, I agree Mike. I found your blog by searching with “traits of no intellectual curiosity” because I too find that it is an important trait when hiring or seeking peers for friendship. It’s that desire to know more that propels certain individuals on a different trajectory.

Like you say: ” I think that intellectual curiosity can overcome certain shortcomings, such as a lack of direct experience for the position at hand, as it shows the ability to learn, assess, understand, and adapt.”

When you are hiring you are making an investment and trying to enrich: your company, yourself, and the new hire. If you understand their aspirations and intentions and they demonstrate intellectual curiosity, there should be a valuable return for everybody involved.

    Harvey Specter
    Posted at 12:21 pm November 1, 2011
    mikewchan
    Reply
    Author

    Couldn’t agree more. Thanks for commenting!

Harvey Specter
Posted at 9:23 am June 7, 2011
phish b.
Reply
Author

Good observations. I generally agree. Just make sure that the curiosity doesn’t turn into the need for constant hand holding.

    Harvey Specter
    Posted at 9:55 am June 7, 2011
    mikewchan
    Reply
    Author

    I agree. You definitely have to include all of those other traits that I mentioned, but in my experience, intellectual curiosity is one of the better predictors of success. If you were recruiting for an accounting position, you obviously wouldn’t select a intellectually curious candidate with a background in art, but if a candidate had some relevant experience coupled with an inquisitive nature, I would for the most part hire that person over someone who has a ton of accounting experience but doesn’t show the willingness to learn and understand.

      Harvey Specter
      Posted at 10:40 am June 25, 2011
      phish b.
      Reply
      Author

      Hopefully your curious new hire doesn’t find out that they are really more interested in some other job / position and then u r back to the recruiting zone again with a lot of time wasted.

Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.