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Marc Andreessen (Netscape Founder) - Behavioral Interviewer?

It's always fun when you get a little HR/Talent insight from people who have been incredibly successful in the past.  Especially when you forgot all about them until they popped up again...

Example - Marc Andreesen, founder of Netscape (before it was crushed like a grape by Microsoft) recently put up a post on his blog with his thoughts about how to hire the best people you have ever worked with.  It's anAndreessen interesting read, and tells me Marc has a little behavioral interviewer in him...

Among the jewels - the lead describing the often vaunted intelligence-first Microsoft (we are going to ask really tough logic questions) and Google (we like PhDs, nothing else) talent approaches.  MA's take?  Maybe they are successful because of first-mover advantage or market positions, and any approach would have worked as a result.

Andreessen instead points to three primary attributes he would seek at any company when hiring talent - Drive, Curiosity and Ethics.  From Marc's notes regarding Drive:

"Drive is independent of educational experience, grade point averages, and socioeconomic background.

Drive is even independent of prior career success.

For the background part, I like to see what someone has done.

Not been involved in, or been part of, or watched happen, or was hanging around when it happened.

I look for something you've done, either in a job or (often better yet) outside of a job.

The business you started and ran in high school.

The nonprofit you started and ran in college.

If you're a programmer: the open source project to which you've made major contributions.

Something.

If you can't find anything -- if a candidate has just followed the rules their whole lives, showed up for the right classes and the right tests and the right career opportunities without achieving something distinct and notable, relative to their starting point -- then they probably aren't driven.

And you're not going to change them."

To me, that's a compelling argument for the power of behavioral interviewing.  A good behavioral interviewer knows not to accept the "team project" as proof of drive/initiative or any other dimension that they are probing for.  Instead, the good behavioral interviewer keeps probing, asking questions like, "what did you contribute to that project?".  If the interviewer is unsatisfied that the candidate was primary to the project being referenced, he/she would follow up with something along the lines of "Tell me about a project that you alone conceptualized and executed that you are most proud of."  If the candidate can't find the reference point, they likely have been a follower most of their lives.

Good stuff from a guy who has been the coverboy/wonderchild for every business magazine on the planet at one time or another.  Check out the entire post and enjoy....

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