AMBITION WEEK: Coaching Your Ambitious Direct Report to Not Be Hated...
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AMBITION WEEK: Recognizing Ambition In Your Recruiting Process...

Capitalist Note:  I'm tagging this week "Ambition Week", celebrating the people in your organization that want to dominate the world.  You know these people - they are the ones that often do great things, and occasionally put tire tracks across a teammates back in the process.  Are you better off with or without these people? Let's dig in and decide together...

"Ambition is a dream with a V8 engine."

--Elvis Presley

So far this week I've talked about valuing ambition in your organization and also coaching your ambitious minion not to be hated by the people who hustle less.

But if you value ambition and don't have anyone on your team with this quality, you need to hire for ambition.  Here's a few ways you can tell if a candidate has ambition in their DNA: Ambition

1--Young candidates who spend two years in a job, then jump to another company to get the equivalent of a promotion.  If you see this in a 30 year old, it's likely they have some form of ambition.  Note - I'm not talking about someone who simply switches companies without giving themselves a promotion - I'm talking about the clear path of changing companies to progress in their career - via title, responsibilities and money.  Ambitious sorts switch because their current company can't move fast enough. Sleepy people stay - and often increase their amount of complaining, whining and bitching.

2--Behavioral characteristics - If you're into assessments, a good way to see ambition is to look for high assertiveness and low team.  High assertiveness means they'll take action when needed, including to better themselves in a variety of circumstances.  Low team by my definition doesn't mean bad teammate - it means that a low team is motivated for scoreboards, rewards, recognition and more that reward individuals, not teams.  They measure themselves vs others and don't want team scoreboards.  You motivate them by measuring them vs others.

3--They are building a portfolio of work.  As they have worked for you or others, high ambition individuals are creating a book of citable work and they're pulling it together in a way that's going to get them the next job or better circumstances in their current job.  They look for high profile projects, look to kick ass individually in those projects and capture the impact they had.  They're also not shy about sharing that book of work.

4--High ambition candidates are always networking.  Look at a candidate's LinkedIn profile and you'll see the marks of ambition.  High ambition individuals have more connections than others, are sharing content and have fully fleshed out profiles on line.  They also know people you might not expect them to know because they spend time networking on an analog/personal level via live events, associations, etc.  Low ambition people are too tired to get to those things.  High ambition candidates have always had time for those events and their network shows the commitment.  

Look for these 4 marks when recruiting - if you find all 4, it's likely you have a high ambition candidate on your hands.

Whether you want that type of candidate on your team is a decision I'll leave to you.  But if you don't want that candidate, please send them my way.  

 

Comments

Andy at ISL

Totally get where you're coming from here.
But as someone who works in IT recruitment as well as a couple of other sectors, one key difference I see with IT professionals is a natural career path that involves bouncing around between companies.

It's a sector where actual promotions are slow and hard to come by. Often the only way to make a significant career leap is jump in with a smaller company with high potential, in a more senior position.

That just seems to be the way the industry is evolving...

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