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Hiring for Depth

David Sherry
1 min read

In a world where decisions matter than ever, and complexity increases… value comes from understanding nuance.

Not to make this about COVID, but I believe we're all learning now that when we see the huge variety of interpretations, models, predictions…we realize that there is a massive spectrum in its complexity about what to do or how to interpret where we are.

There are no right answers, only an abundance of choices. And those that see the nuances and make informed decisions weighing out these options, fair best in working with the complexity.

This type of sense-making, prediction, extrapolation, is rewarded more than ever, in business and life.

And although it's easy to take sides, binary options are shallow and simple.

Truth lives on a spectrum.

And so when we hire, we must look for the spectrum of understanding.

So when you talk with candidates... you want to know what they have to say about the subject. What their views are, do they have them? What their considerations are, have they seen down multiple paths?

You want to see how they dissect an industry, or what they predict about it.

And so hiring today should be about a conversation, one where you learn something new and get a feel for how they see the world.

Hiring today should be looking at their writing, if they have it, where you see them think out loud.

Do they dig deeper into the topic, and point out things that you had never considered or seen?

Do they ask you questions? Are they trying to utilize your knowledge simply to learn more, even in one conversation?

We all know we want to hire people who are smarter than we are.

But how do you identify that?

If you can look beyond IQ and Hard Work, you can try and understand the quality of their understanding in a field.

Like a professional drummer, do they have a feel for all of their instrument, the snare, the high-hat, etc. Do they have that sort of deep knowledge about the nuances?

Today industries and skills change frequently.

But depth is hard-won through curiosity, self-reflection, testing, and failure.

Depth and nuance are harder to identify than shallow status signaling – about a school or a degree.

But that's the entire point about nuance – just because it's easy to spot, doesn't mean it's valuable.

xx David