It’s How We Think, Not What We Think

I was asked the other day about my hiring techniques and what I deem important in a good candidate. I think there are a lot of elements that make up the killer hire. I’m not going to list them all here, as some are remedial and this community gets it.

There are however, a few unique traits I focus on that are very important to me and one of them is “HOW” people think.

When I’m looking for sales people, it’s not enough for me to know “WHAT” they think. I need to know HOW they think.

What people think matters. What we think are the views, beliefs, understandings and opinions we have. We all have our own views, perspectives, and opinions relating to our jobs and how we do them. Knowing what they are is important in making a good hire. However, what’s more important to me is HOW a candidate came to WHAT they think.

“How” to me is the process behind what people think. Assuming candidates came to what they think on their own or through good analysis is a mistake. Far too often good people with strong ideas are incapable of explaining HOW they came to their beliefs and opinions. Being unable to do this is a big red flag to me. I’ve come to find the best employees, the best sales people arrive at their believes, at “what” they think, through strong, provoking internal analysis. They are independent thinkers. They are clear at how they’ve developed their positions.

Independent thinkers tend to be more creative when approaching a problem. As sales people creativity is demonstrated through stronger relationships, more robust attack strategies, sophisticated plans and execution. They think through situations better than most.

When I hire, I look for people who creatively and independently address challenges and problems through analysis and independent thinking. It’s not enough to leverage a static idea or process taught in a training course or by a mentor. I want people who make decisions based on the challenge at hand, not only on what they know. I want people who consciously break down a problem, leverage what they know and their experiences to create a dynamic custom solution.

How people think is critical. How candidates think is the difference between a superstar and just another employee.

“What” people think just isn’t enough.