The Hire Standard

Two posts by Big-Time Gurus recently addressed the same point.

1. Tom Peters:

Old story. But never an old story. I went to Whole Foods and Starbucks back-to-back yesterday afternoon. No holes: Every (EVERY—perhaps 6?) staff member was pleasant, chatty, informed, etc.

I remain amazed.

2. Seth Godin (read the post to get context)

Sure, she was an annoying nut. But she was passionate about containers, certainly. Smart hiring goes a long way.

Duh, you say? Yet how many businesses really hire people because they’ll be pleasant, chatty, informed, and PASSIONATE (specifically about your core offering)?

Years ago, I was interviewed for a position with a publisher. In my final interview, the VP asked me if I was passionate about books. I paused and honestly answered, “No.” That one question kept me from getting the job. Ironically, I’ve developed a passion for books since then.

No. Wait. That one ANSWER kept me from getting the job. The question really left it up to me to be honest, since I knew the answer he wanted to hear.

What if he asked me something different:

“What books are you currently reading? What are your all-time favorites?”

or

“Here’s our catalog. Circle the books you would like for free. We’ll give them to you.”

Does your interview process answer these two questions:

What passion do we need our people to possess?

How do we discover whether that passion is in a person?