Today’s advice comes from, Sabrina Parsons, CEO of Palo Alto Software, via The New York Times:
“One of the important things is how you hire the right people…One of the things we want is someone who’s able to figure things out, and become an expert. You don’t say: “Oh, I can’t do that. I don’t know it.” You say: “How do I figure it out? What do I need to do?” We live in an information world and you can find out everything, and usually inexpensively. So we want people who aren’t afraid of that.”
Parsons says the best employees are those who are willing to seek out answers to a problem themselves. They don’t wait around for others to tell them how to solve an issue, instead, they fend for themselves.
Giving out a homework assignment before an in-person interview ensures that you know which candidates are willing to take the time to solve problems on their own. You’d be surprised at how many people will drop out of the running simply because they don’t want to make that extra effort.
“You can’t really ask that question in an interview, because you’re just going to get the answer they know you want. So we’ve changed our interview practices. Everyone who interviews with us, no matter what position, gets homework. We do an initial phone interview, and then they get homework before the in-person interview. It’s two hours of work. And the purpose of it is not to find the correct answer, but more to see their thought process. But more than 50 per cent of the people you send the homework to never even contact you again. It’s great, because we don’t want that person.”
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