Passive search? Actively looking? Who cares. I want the curious candidate.
There is a lot of talk going on out in the talent attraction world about what is better: the passive candidate who isn’t looking or the active candidate who is on the hunt. Frankly, I don’t care. I don't believe that the sense of urgency defines whether a candidate is good or bad; it just gives insight into additional motivations the person may have and may lend some view into the level of openness someone has about the type of role that they are going after. You can find someone who hasn’t thought about leaving their company and hasn’t taken an interest in looking elsewhere – and that same person could also be someone you don’t exactly want in your culture. I am more interested in finding out whether the person seeks things out – and that may or may not be seeking the next job. Dollars over donuts, time and time again, I’ll take the curious candidate over the complacent one.
What then, exactly, is the “curious” candidate? I think about it as the never-ending thirst. I want to find the person who has a history of asking questions; questions of themselves, their colleagues, and their company. It is the person that seeks to understand the “what for;” the “why” behind the what, and more importantly, the “how” behind it all. This is the person who has tried new things and sometimes won; more importantly, they have tried and then taken the time to consider what happened and what could have been done differently. They are also likely the person who wonders what their role was and what they could have done differently. These are the people that learn and grow and cause others, through their curiosity, to find new things and evolve.
These are the candidates who, when I ask if they have questions, have some to ask. They don’t just have the basic questions – you know – the ones about benefits, culture and work/life balance. They ask how decisions get made in the company. They ask what the team dynamic is like and who the influencers are on the team; they ask about what makes them so. They ask how employees get involved in driving strategy and getting things done. They ask what the non-negotiables are in the culture and why those are so important. They ask how open to change the company is and what is expected of employees in driving change. They seek to understand the underpinnings of the company – not just what we do, but why we do it and how it gets done.
Having the hunger for making things better through understanding spurs creativity and energy that moves things. This is the positive conflict that drives innovation and we need more curiosity out there. When I coach hiring managers, I tell them that these are the people they want to hire. When I mentor individuals, I tell them that these are the people they want to be. They are the curious ones – and those are the ones I want to talk to. And eventually, hire.
f you want a different way to discover, engage and empower those curious candidates who will seek to better your organization, give Verte Square a call. We'd be happy to help.