Jessica Herrin wants to hire “missionaries, not mercenaries,” shetells The New York Times’ Adam Bryant.
“Missionaries” are driven by passion for the mission, while “mercenaries” are more concerned about the material reward.
To find missionaries, Herrin, the founder and CEO of Stella & Dot Family Brands, which made $300 million in revenue last year, implements a very specific hiring strategy.
“The challenge, especially when you’re growing fast, is to be incredibly fierce about your hiring filters,” she explains. “You have to commit to caring for the culture more than the quarter.”
She starts by asking job candidates personal questions about their past: things like how they grew up, what was influential in their life, what their parents did, and what they’re really passionate about.
Next she asks candidates, “What do you want to be known for, what mark do you want to leave?”
“I just want to see that they’re someone who really has a deep well of passion and that they think that way,” Herrin explains.
She says she will then ask job seekers what their superpower is.
“It’s really about, do you care about the mission, do you have a fierce work ethic, are you a good person who other people enjoy being around, and do you care about winning as a company? That’s what I really try to tease out,” she tells Bryant.
The CEO says she’s also looking for adaptability and whether job candidates can let things roll off their backs.
“You’ve got to find people who have the mental wiring to see opportunities more than they focus on obstacles,” she says. “And if you offer them constructive criticism, they’re curious instead of frustrated, and they’re open-minded instead of defensive.”
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