In last week’s blog post, we wrote about a study showing that entrepreneurs face a distinct disadvantage when applying for traditional wage positions. We shared our surprise that the employers in the study didn’t see value in traits commonly associated with entrepreneurs—traits such as risk taking, dedication, innovation and passion.
This week, we’d like to continue the conversation on what traits employers value and zero in on one of those traits in particular: passion. Since writing last week’s post, we came across this fascinating article, which describes how an ad agency in Turkey analyzed the brain waves of potential interns to find the most passionate applicants. After a traditional interview, the best applicants were equipped with an EEG headset and asked to watch screenings of legendary advertisements. The company then enlisted the help of a neurotechnology expert to analyze the data and determine which applicants had the greatest emotional reaction to the ads. These results, along with interview performance, were taken into consideration when selecting the interns.
So, here we have a company going to great (and unorthodox) lengths to measure in applicants one of the traits seemingly discounted by the companies in the study mentioned last week. How can the recruitment priorities be so different? Now, one could argue that both the industries and the positions were different and therefore they demanded different qualifications, but what company wouldn’t want passionate employees among its ranks, regardless of position? One could also argue that passion isn’t necessarily critical to an entrepreneur and shouldn’t be associated with self-employed candidates, but what person decides to go it alone and establish a business in a field about which they they’re not passionate? Again, we’re not talking about technical or even functional competencies required to do the job; we’re talking about soft skills that are nonetheless critical to success.
If anything, these two articles underscore the complexity of recruiting in the 21st century. Finding the right talent isn’t easy. Great candidates can be easily overlooked if recruiters are guided by limiting criteria. And yet once those criteria are set, it can be difficult to find an effective way of assessing them in a large pool of candidates. Did the ad agency really have to go so far as to monitor brain waves to get at a candidate’s level of passion? Had the ad agency taken the opposite approach of the companies in the UK study and actually looked for entrepreneurial experience on applicants’ resumes, we wager they would have discovered candidates with passion—no neurotechnologist necessary!
We can’t reveal all the secrets to our successful recruiting strategies at Anderson I Biro, but we can assure you that we have never used an EEG machine. Until next week…