How To Spot “Grit” When Interviewing, and Why It Is SO Necessary
A few years ago we hired an extraordinarily talented team member right after she graduated from a top university. She was exceptionally smart, articulate, fun, engaging, charming, etc., and her writing skills were excellent. As soon as we threw her into the line of fire, however, she resigned. She simply couldn’t handle the pressure of working at JVM.
In contrast, a few of our veterans have excelled beyond our wildest dreams (we could not survive without them) even though their resumes (although superb) did not match the woman’s in the above example. Two former college swimmers come to mind.
The telling factor behind our success stories is grit.
A focus on grit has almost become a cliché since Angela Duckworth wrote her book and did her famous TED Talk, but we have discovered it is especially important at JVM b/c of the extreme pressures of the job (long hours, very tight deadlines, knowledge requirements, helping Realtors and borrowers with very high stakes and emotional decisions).
Ms. Duckworth’s extensive research indicates that success is never about just IQ, EQ or natural talent alone; it is about pure grit, or a willingness to stick with things for the long term no matter how tough they might seem in the short term.
This excellent article, How to Identify Grit, provides great tips for spotting grit at the interview level. It includes Ms. Duckworth’s actual “Grit Test” with a series of questions and a scoring model. It also suggests asking candidates for stories and examples where they were exceptionally gritty (the grittiest candidates should provide vivid and detailed stories).
And lastly – look for clubs, sports, hobbies and extracurricular activities. You want to see how long they stick with things (two years seems to be the benchmark).
Grit and the above traits are not the be-all and end-all, and we still do not ignore our traditional indicators of talent too (GPA, DISC Tests, work record, etc.). But, we do highly recommend watching the above referenced TED Talk and reading the article (both are very short).
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