Hiring Change Agents

February 19, 2013

No organization is stagnant – everything that lasts is capable of evolution. Even brand logos change over time, and these shifts in branding represent major shifts in a company’s identity. Changes in technology can drive brand evolution, and so can company reorganizations, geopolitics, and even war. Companies that can’t adapt are sunk.

The same is true for individuals within an organization.

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At some point you most likely will move on from what you were hired to do.

In fact, adaptability is one of the most important things that I look for when interviewing candidates who want to work with me. Right off the bat, I want to be surrounded by people who are comfortable with change and can see themselves growing with the organization. For every candidate, I gauge their potential on four key metrics:

  • Present Competence – Have they done elsewhere what we’re asking them to do? Would they come in with the same basic skill set we require? Obviously, competence is crucial when looking to fill a position.
  • Future Aptitude – Do they exhibit a teachable demeanor? Will they be able to adapt and grow with your organization? What is their leadership quotient? Finding good talent with a hunger to learn is key.
  • Measure of Sacrifice – Are they giving up something (time, location, freedom, salary) to be a part of the team? It’s not always salary. For example, sometimes the sacrifice a self-employed person makes with their freedom is greater than money. Sacrifice points to character and motives.
  • Responsibility Required – What level of responsibility (as a leader or supporter) are we asking them to take on? How critical will their role be to our success? Your busy, so finding team members who can and will carry their load is vital.

Eventually, your role will change.

It’s only natural. This principle of growth and change is also true of the human body, as it regenerates most of its cells every seven-to-ten years. In a very literal sense, you’re not the same person you were a decade ago. None of us are. And in a decade, we won’t be who we are today. We should think of the people in our organization in the same way. Adapting, changing, and growing. If not, they may not be the right fit.

Change is what we are. We should measure potential based on a person’s ability to grow and adapt to the inevitable.

Resisting change will cause a lot of pain and frustration, but embracing change allows organizations to adapt to new opportunities. We should hire change agents.

Who are you missing on your team? What types of people is your organization attracting (or not attracting)? Are you resistant to change?