Are You Willing to Hire "Athletes" Rather Than Specialists at Your Company?
July 27, 2020
First up, the term "athlete" in this post is meant to describe hiring those who are generally smart, intellectually curious, quick on their feet, learn quickly, are great communicators and have DNA for drive/initiative - rather than hiring someone with domain experience in a job as your first concern.
With that description in mind, do you and/or your company favor athletes over specialists? Sometimes? Never? In what circumstances?
I'm drawn to the question since I read this passage from Diary of a Very Bad Year: Interviews with an Anonymous Hedge Fund Manager by Anonymous Hedge Fund Manager:
When you think about hedge funds, the book quote above displays a common trend. In the early days of any industry or specialty, it's easier to hire the best athlete available, mainly because domain experience doesn't really exist or is generally unavailable. The industry is too young.
But as the industry matures, risk taking on new hires goes down - because candidates with domain experience are widely available.
We could all probably stand to hire more athletes who are capable of not only doing the job in question, but become an agile talent asset for the company. But just saying that you're open to hiring an athlete doesn't mean you'll have success.
For best results in hiring "athletes", you'll need to define what makes someone an athlete. You won't generally find that on a resume, you'll need an assessment package. For me, a candidate would qualify as an athlete if they have a high cognitive capability, low rules orientation (because I want to throw them at anything I want, they can't be hung up on that), high details (drives execution) and great writing and verbal skills.
They'd also have to be familiar with the term, "fake it 'til you make it", which I think is the mindset of any "athlete" worth her salt as defined by this post.
What did I miss?