Finding out someone’s true nature during the hiring process can be extremely difficult given the incentives candidates have to highlight their strengths and downplay their weaknesses.
Of course, these weaknesses can be extremely costly when they are exposed on the job, especially in the case of high-level executives.
That’s why companies turn to executive search firms like Korn/Ferry to get to the bottom of what a potential hire is truly like.
“Right now, you’re seeing me how I want you to see me,” the firm’s chief executive, Gary Burnison says in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. “What you really want to know is ‘How does Gary make decisions under pressure?'”
Burnison explains that the most important thing he looks for in a c-suite hire is whether the candidate has what he calls “learning agility.”
“It comes down to people’s willingness to grow, to learn, to have insatiable curiosity,” Burnison tells WSJ.
In his mind, the biggest ways a company can grow are through consolidation, expansion to new markets, or innovation.
All three of those processes, he says, require people who are curious.
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