Google is one of the most successful businesses in history. They do many things well and they do many things with no expectation of profit. They pay attention to everything. Their corporate motto is interesting too. “Don’t be Evil!”
One thing they are becoming better at is deciding who to hire.
They have been down the road with good school, great marks, high SAT score, extra-curricular leadership, interview brain teasers and more. What have they found? None of these things seem to work and some may impede success.
Google’s head of people operations, Laszlo Bock, recently chatted with Tom Freidman of the New York Times. There are interesting observations. Among them:
I have written several pieces on the value of failure and of mistakes. Google has taken it further and has the records to support their ideas. I know from experience that hiring those who studied outside the field required is a winning decisions You don’t have to un-educate them before they become useful.
There are a few more interesting areas to look at. In the accounting world, oldest or only children do best early on. In the sales world, youngest children do better. I have not thought through astrological signs but they seem to be not completely meaningless.
Hiring people is a big decision and a sizable risk, especially if you are a small business. An edge is an edge and if there are things that you have learned to be indicators of success, use them, even if they don’t seem to make sense.
The final thought in Friedman’s article:
“The world only cares about — and pays off on — what you can do with what you know (and it doesn’t care how you learned it). And in an age when innovation is increasingly a group endeavor, it also cares about a lot of soft skills — leadership, humility, collaboration, adaptability and loving to learn and re-learn. This will be true no matter where you go to work.”
Please pay attention.
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Don Shaughnessy is a retired partner in an international public accounting firm and is presently with The Protectors Group, a large personal insurance, employee benefits and investment agency in Peterborough Ontario.