The Best Fit: Knowing the Best Person for Your Organization

In a recent blog post from Harvard Business Review author William C. Taylor, he asks “How do you know a great person when you see one?” – is it all about the individual’s brainpower and technical skill or is it more about how the person works with the team and the organization’s mission?

One organization that is taking this question into account is Virginia Tech Carilion, the nation’s newest medical school. VTC’s radical admission policy goes above and beyond the traditional judgment of grades, test scores, and how a candidate presents themselves in an interview. VTC subjects each candidate to a string of nine short interviews. The point of that? To see how candidates think on their feet – to capture WHO they are, not just how smart they are.

“We’re trying to weed out the candidates who look great on paper but haven’t developed the people or communication skills we think are important,” said Dr. Stephen Workman, the school’s associate dean for admissions and administration.

Medical schools are finally raising the bar to where the best companies have been lingering for years. These top companies have learned to make their new-hire selections based on character as much as credentials.

One such company, notorious for its talent selections, is Southwest Airlines. Getting accepted into one of the nation’s top medical schools may not directly compare to being hired by Southwest, but from 90,000 resumes in the last year, Southwest hired fewer than 900.

Over the years, Southwest has elevated the practice of identifying its most valuable performers, understanding what makes them tick, and devising interviews, group exercises, and other techniques to probe for those same attributes in new employees.

Group exercises are one tactic that provide Southwest with the information they’re really looking for when hiring new employees. The group exercise judge panel watches intently for organizational characteristics during the mock situation. They aren’t necessarily looking for ‘the right answer’ – they’re looking for the right attitude.

You can’t measure the greatness of an individual without figuring out how that individual fits in to your team, your organization, and your overall mission.

To read more about tactics on how to know a great person when you see one, click here for the full article.


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