INSTANT MBA: Hire People Who Can Describe Themselves In One Word

George Hu

Today’s advice comes from, George Hu, CEO of Salesforce, via The New York Times:

“Know yourself well. A question I ask people in interviews is, ‘How would you describe who you are, in the core of your DNA, in one word?’ People often struggle with that. The most common response I get is, ‘Do you really mean one word?’ So know who you are, and really understand what you’re exceptional at.”

When it comes to hiring, Hu says the best candidates are the ones who know how they can contribute to the company. If a potential employee can’t narrow their greatest strengths down to one word, that means they will have trouble putting that asset to work once they join the company. It’s always best to hire someone who is confident and aware of the role they are about to play. Otherwise, you spend way too much time and money training them to hone in on their best attribute. It’s important to recruit employees that not only know what they’re good at, but are willing to make the development of their exceptional trait into a priority. 

“I ask ‘why’ a lot, to learn what motivated people to make the decisions they made throughout their career…I also spend a lot of time forcing people to prioritise things. I’ll ask people what they think are the most important traits to be successful in the role they’re interviewing for, and then prioritise them for me. And I’ll ask them why they prioritise them that way. If they do that well, I know they’re going to fit in our culture.”

Want your business advice featured in Instant MBA? Submit your tips to [email protected]. Be sure to include your name, your job title, and a photo of yourself in your email. 

NOW WATCH: Ideas videos

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.