There are so many factors to take into account when you are looking to hire the right person. Depending on the position you are hiring for, technical skills may be at the top of your list. Looking to replace a leadership position? Then you may be looking for a candidate with the ability to mobilize or one with a proven track record of developing talent. Whatever position you are hiring for, it is essential that you make a list of skills and traits that you won’t negotiate on. This will ensure that given time constraints, you don’t find yourself settling and making costly mistakes.
There is one important skill that needs to make your list. No matter what position you are hiring for, you should look out for candidates with a growth mindset.
When I was recently looking at potential candidates for a position that was open in my District, an internal candidate asked me, “What are you looking for in this candidate?” I began to answer the typical skill sets common to any leadership position; results driven, accountability, organizational skills, visionary, leadership skills, ability to mobilize and move the needle towards company goals etc.… Then, I proceeded to speak to a skill that will make all the difference between the leader’s success or failure, their mindset.
Carol Dweck popularized the term in her book, “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success”. The book speaks to the power of our beliefs, both conscious and unconscious and how changing even the simplest of them can have a profound impact on nearly every aspect of our lives. Carol goes on to define the difference between someone with a “growth mindset” and someone with a “fixed mindset”.
A “fixed mindset” assumes that our character, intelligence, and creative ability are static givens which we can’t change in any meaningful way and that success is the affirmation of that inherent intelligence. Striving for success and avoiding failure at all costs become a way of maintaining the sense of being smart or skilled.
In contrast, a “growth mindset”, thrives on the challenge and sees failure not as evidence of unintelligence but as an opportunity for growth and stretching our existing abilities.
So why is determining what type of mindset your candidate has is vital to your recruiting success?
The difference in mindset may lead to marked differences in behavior and performance. If someone believes intelligence and abilities are immutable traits, they are not likely to put in much effort to change their inherent intelligence and abilities. On the other hand, those who believe they can change these traits may be much more willing to put in extra time and effort to achieve more ambitious goals. With a growth mindset, individuals may achieve more than others because they are worrying less about seeming smart or talented and putting more of their energy into learning (Dweck, 2016).
In order for a company to maintain sustained results, it has to evolve when the market does. This requires a team of people who believe first that they have the ability to learn from any challenges, see failures as an opportunity to find new and better ways of doing things, and have strong learning agility. If you hire someone with a “fixed mindset”, chances are it won’t be easy to accomplish.
When faced with poor results, or an ever-changing environment, someone who is not growth-minded will tend to focus on the obstacles they are facing or dwell on failure without looking for new opportunities. They might get discouraged with what they can’t control instead of figuring out how what they can control may lead to future success.
The Vervoe blog wrote an article that details how companies can hire someone with a growth mindset. The post goes on to detail four great ways to accomplish that task.
Take the time to look for red flags during the interview process that will give more insight into how candidates view their successes, learned from failures and faced challenges. Chances are, lessons not learned from their past will tend to repeat itself in the future. This cost at a cost to your company.