Here’s a question for you: when you’re recruiting and interviewing, what do you look for in a candidate? What I mean by this is do you hire for fit, experience, or skill? And what about education, personality, and character? Or maybe it’s a combination of some of these? Most of us in human resources hire for the perfect combination of all of these aspects, which is why making a hiring decision can be so complicated. It seems that every company and hiring executive is looking for something different in its next top employee.
Employers should be looking for humility on resumes. A study by the University of Washington Foster School of Business showed that humble people tend to make the most effective leaders, and they are more likely to be high performers in both individual and team settings. But ‘Why?’ you might ask. Isn’t humility just a state of mind?
Hiring for humility means looking for “emotional intelligence,” which includes certain personality and character traits, like the ability to sympathize, a sense of humor, and communication skills. Google and other companies have realized through data collection that humility is one of the best qualities to have in an employee. Humble people tend to be honest people who can be taught, so they can grow and develop.
They are more respectful, curious, and inquisitive – which are also top leadership qualities. The best way to determine if a candidate is humble is by asking emotional intelligence interview questions, such as:
“How would you handle this situation…?”
“Tell me about a time you had to…” or
“What would you do if…?”
According to researchers “humility entails the recognition and appreciation of knowledge and guidance beyond the self.”
It may sound strange, but some companies take a very different approach to recruiting and retaining talent. Media darlings like Zappos, Apple, and YAHOO! are infamous for trying new approaches when it comes to recruiting and evaluating talent. For instance, Zappos offer unhappy employees $2,000 to quit; an idea so popular that Amazon followed suit. Currently, Zappos has done away with “manager” titles, and has told employees to get behind the idea of managing themselves.
Richard Branson, Founder and Chairman of The Virgin Group, has said, “If you’re good with people and you really, genuinely care about people, then I’m sure we could find a job for you at Virgin.” Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors and SpaceX, has said, “I look for a positive attitude and are they easy to work with, are people going to like working with them?” These statements are consistent with the emerging recruiting trend of hiring for humility, according to a Business Insider article.
Eric Friedman is the founder and CEO of eSkill Corporation, a global platform for complete candidate skills and job fit assessment. eSkill’s online skills testing is used by thousands of employers for pre-employment assessment and staff benchmarking. Eric has degrees in Psychology and Business, and a fascination with matching people with roles they're best at, and that they enjoy.