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How Eleanor Roosevelt Can Help You Hire

One of my favorite quotes is attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt, though the origin of just about any quote is up for examination and question.
“Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people,” is what the longest-serving first lady supposedly said.
Whether it was Roosevelt or someone who came before her, the author may have opened a door to finding hidden gems, those superstars no one else sees.
Great minds truly are preoccupied with ideas:
Einstein wondered what it would be like to ride on a beam of light.
Steve Jobs searched for ways to make computers smaller, faster, easier to use.
Wernher von Braun was fascinated with rocketry, and helped the U.S. Apollo program put a man on the moon.
They all thought long and deeply about their fascinations. That’s what you want in a hire, provided the fascination is related to work.
So some interesting questions to ask in a hiring interview might be:
* What about your current job fascinates you?
* When you’re away from work, what do you think about?
* What’s the biggest question you ask when you look around you every day?
Questions like that could easily scare away a lot of applicants! But you might find someone who can go into great length on great thoughts.
Then there are those interview questions that might focus on people. Remember, according to the quote, small minds discuss people.
So useful questions might be:
* Tell me about the people in your current job.
* Tell me about your boss.
* Who do you remember most from high school and why?
Are the questions about people a trap? Yes, to an extent. But anyone who doesn’t see the potential trap may not be smart enough to work for you anyway.
Looking past the trap, hearing what a potential hire says about people might go a long way toward getting a sense of the unseen core.
Be careful about deciding quickly on a good personality. A good personality alone isn’t necessarily what you want in a hire, though it doesn’t hurt. Some people with good personalities make their connection by excluding others or by putting them down.
So the next time you hire, try to get a sense of what your prospects think of things, people and ideas.
You may find a hidden gem.


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