Mary A. Laschinger, CEO of Veritiv Corporation, a distribution solutions company, recently told Adam Bryant of the New York Times that there are three things in particular she wants to know about every job candidate she interviews.
“First, I want to know their values,” she told Bryant. “Are they a team player? Are they an egomaniac? Are they here to help the enterprise succeed? Will they help their colleagues succeed? Or is it just about them and their team?”
The next thing she looks at, she said, is their willingness to learn and grow. “We are always confronted with change at a mind-boggling pace. We need people who are willing to learn and grow and adapt. We can’t teach willingness. They have to want to adjust.”
Lastly, she told Bryant, she assesses their technical capabilities.
“We can teach them any number of things, but we can’t teach them a willingness to learn, nor can we teach them their values. But if we can get those first two right, we will have the right people, the right team. We will be aligned. I’ve been operating on that philosophy for quite a while, and it’s paid dividends.”
To figure out those three things, Laschinger told Bryant she asks candidates, “How do you get things done?”
In their response, she wants to hear specifics. “Then I’ll listen for the ‘I’s versus the ‘we’s,” she explained. “Did they engage across the organisation? What did they have to do to get it done? Tell me about some successes with people specifically, good outcomes and bad outcomes. I’ll ask about their willingness to take on different assignments they have had. Why did you do that? What did you learn?”
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