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Hiring Based On Embedded Personal Interests

Alongside with some essential characteristics of the candidate to fulfill the requirements of the job, people who are strongly interested in activities that are relevant to the job, are more likely to be successful in their work.

A conceptual framework has been developed based on interviews with 650 professionals from different industries and 8 “embedded life interests” have been identified. These eight interests are examined in three main groups, which are application of expertise, working with people, control and influence.

1. Application of expertise

Application of expertise refers to application of technology, quantitative analysis, theory development and conceptual thinking, and creative production.

Application of Technology

People with interest in technology and technological advancements are more likely to use technology to solve business problems and they enjoy work, which involves planning and analyzing production & operation systems and redesigning business processes. This considers engineering, computer programming, production and system planning, process analysis, mechanical manufacturing, researching. People who get excited when a new computer system or a reengineering project is planned are usually in this category.

Quantitative Analysis

Unlike most, some people are good with numbers and they see mathematic as a fun work. People with good quantitative analysis can be very good at market research, forecasting, cash-flow analysis, computer-model building, production scheduling, investment analysis and accounting. You should look people who are interested in number based activities in order to identify people who have strong quantitative analysis.

Theory Development and Conceptual Thinking

People enjoying to talk about abstract ideas are within this group. Economic-theory developing, business-model developing, competition analysis, designing ‘big-picture’ strategy, process designing and teaching business theory are characteristics of this particular interest. A person with an academic background and who enjoys abstract concepts are most likely to be in this group.

Creative Production

People of this interest such as entrepreneurs, R&D scientist, engineers are imaginative, out-of-the-box thinkers and very comfortable at engaging in brainstorming session. Many of them have interest in arts and entertainment industry. New-product designing, marketing and advertising, developing innovative approaches and solutions, event planning, entertaining, writing, illustrating are some features of the people with this interest.

2. Working with people

Working with people is reviewed under two topics: Counseling & mentoring and managing people & relationships.

Counseling & Mentoring

Individuals who enjoy teaching, coaching, training, helping and supporting others, providing feedbacks and advices are within this group. To spot a counseling and mentoring person, you should observe how they are involved in an interaction with others or check if they are satisfied with success of other people who they counsel.

Managing People & Relationships

People with this interest are extremely satisfied with interpersonal relationships at workplace. They enjoy dealing with people on a day-to-day basis and look for outcomes. Characteristics of people in this category are managing others to accomplish business goals, directing, supervising, leading and inspiring others, selling, negotiating and motivating. You should look for people who enjoys motivating, organizing and directing others if you are looking for them.

3. Control and influence

Control and influence is about two interests: Enterprise control and influence through language and ideas.

Enterprise Control

People with enterprise control like to be in charge and enjoy most when they are authorized to make decisions. They like to control resources to actualize a business vision, make deals, hold ultimate responsibility for business transactions and set strategic direction for a company, business unit, work team or division. Spot people who ask for as much as responsibility as possible and these people have the ambitious to be a CEO, not the COO.

Influence through Language and Ideas

These people enjoy negotiating, conducting public relations, selling, persuading, designing advertising campaigns, communicating ideas through writing or speaking. Most of the time, these people are prone to careers such as public relations, journalism, advertising. They also tend to be volunteering to write a project proposal or to do a presentation.

Let’s Sum-up

Some of these interests may overlap in a person as most of the people have more than one interest in life, so try not to label people too narrowly. Hiring primarily for interests is more competent and stronger than hiring for skills and values for such reasons:

  • Someone’s interest and will in some areas, in which this person has no training or knowledge, will push the person to learn quicker and therefore to perform and achieve.
  • If a person has no interest in the job or the position, this person will be estranged from the work in time even though she/he is good at it. Individuals without motivation will not be working sufficiently for a long time.
  • It is much easier to strengthen skills in interested areas than to make the person to gain a passion for the work.

Surely, it is crucial to hire a person with right qualifications and skills with sufficient educational background and experience to perform the job well. Yet you need to remember that an employee with “interest match” with the company and the position will stay longer in the company compared to a perfect “skill match” employee.

Companies that prefer employees with interests and attitudes such as sense of humor, a sense of teamwork or desire to make customers satisfied, usually have a lower turnover rate in the industry. Skill levels of employees may change through training in time but you cannot easily make your employee to gain an attitude.

You can determine one’s core interests by asking questions such as:

  • What have you most liked to do in your past jobs?
  • What do you like to do in your free time?
  • What do you like to read most?
  • Which stage of a project excites you the most?
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