I’ve noticed that there isn’t a strong correlation between college education—the school you went to and the grades you earned—and career performance at Software Advice. After eight years of management experience, I’m less and less interested in that section of the resume.
Why are we so prone to impulsive decision-making? What is it that makes us believe this offer is the next best thing? In this post, I attempt to answer these questions and provide some career guidance for the at-risk job-hopper.
Here at Software Advice, we do things ourselves. We don’t bring in consultants or outsource functions. We rarely use external recruiters. We do our payroll in-house. We don’t often buy commercial software; we write our own. And this attitude extends to hiring: in general, we like to hire people who come from principal backgrounds rather than agency backgrounds.
Too often, experience is measured purely in terms of time—which is simplistic. Saying that you have “20 years of experience” in a given role doesn’t speak to the kind of company you worked for, the number of hours you put in each week or the types of people you were exposed to. Maybe you showed up each day for 20 years, but how hard did you actually work?
When we first started our company, Software Advice, I knew nothing about starting or building a company. But Don had a big library of business books. If I couldn’t hike or ski, I didn’t have much else to do on weekends in Montana. So I started reading.
In the early days of Software Advice, we learned the hard way that we had to hire great sales staff, or “Software Analysts.” We discovered that an “A” player – an employee of the highest caliber – would generate about three times what a “B” player would. So we tightened up our hiring process… and quickly learned that it was very difficult to find “A” players.
At Software Advice, we used to have a relatively informal hiring process. We thought we were good judges and could assess any candidate in a fairly unstructured interview process. We also used to make a lot of hiring mistakes. As our company began to grow, we realized we needed some sort of formal process and framework for hiring.
Building your corporate dream team is a lot like how a coach builds a team, a director of admissions builds a college class or a fund manager builds a portfolio of stocks. They’re not looking for every selection to be the perfect athlete, student or stock–they’re looking for the perfect combination or portfolio.
Savants are really good at what they do. Really, really good. They have the ability to become skilled in many, but not all, fields. They may excel in, say, language arts, yet struggle with basic math. Thus, Savants flourish when they find the one thing they’re best at and focus on it intently. They are creative, humorous and often brilliant. However, Savants are introverted.
Matrix Thinkers are your quintessential creative types. They don’t just “think outside the box,” they think about where the box came from, why it’s there and how it could be designed better. While many people think in a linear fashion (a leads to b leads to c), Matrix Thinkers think more like a cube (a leads to m leads to z leads to c).