How to Interview for What Is Essential In Genetics and Genomics Companies Today: TRUE GRIT

How to Interview for What Is Essential In Genetics and Genomics Companies Today: TRUE GRIT

“Tell me about a time when you failed, and what you learned from that experience.”

Think of the most successful employees you’ve ever worked with, or the individuals you’ve mentored who excelled, or the leaders you’ve studied who seem to achieve every goal they set for themselves. Undoubtedly, a few common threads woven into their lives are the strength to discover why they failed, the skill to use that learning in the future to succeed, and the sheer will to get back on the proverbial horse and try again.

But exactly what is it that leads one person to try again when others just give up…?

Industrial and organizational psychologists have spent decades researching this very subject. Angela Duckworth, assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania, and her research focuses on a personality trait she calls “grit.” She defines grit as “sticking with things over the very long term until you master them.” She writes that “the gritty individual approaches achievement as a marathon; his or her advantage is stamina.”

Success and Talent

What causes an individual to experience significant success? The obvious answer: success is about talent. Successful people can do something – hit a golf ball, dance, trade stocks, write a blog – better than most anyone else. This answer begets another question: What is talent? How did that person get so good at hitting a golf ball or trading stocks? Although talent can appear to be based on inheritance, it turns out that the intrinsic nature of talent may be overrated.

The problem is that a major contradiction exists between how we measure talent and the causes of talent. In general, we measure talent using tests of maximum performance.

Imagine tryouts for most any sports team; players perform in short bursts under conditions of high intensity and motivation. The purpose of the drills is to see what players are capable of and determine their potential.

The problem with these drills is that the real world is not set up for short bursts of work ethic under conditions of high motivation. Instead, professional success requires sustained performance, spending hours upon hours perfecting your craft, deliberately and methodically staying the course during times of frustration or exhaustion.

In his book, Self-Made in America, John McCormack references a trait studied by Kathy Kolbe: conation. Conation is “the will to succeed, the quest for success, the attitude that ‘to stop me you’ll have to kill me’. It is an elusive ‘fire in the belly’ that manifests itself in drive, enthusiasm, excitement, and single-mindedness in pursuit of a goal – any goal. All consistently successful people have it. Many well-educated, intelligent, enduring, and presentable people don’t have it.”

Interviewing for Grit

A segment of the workforce is made up of smart people who aren’t high achievers, and others who achieve a lot without having the highest test scores. In one study, Duckworth found that smarter students actually had less grit than their peers who scored lower on an intelligence test. This finding suggests that people who are not as bright as their peers “compensate by working harder and with more determination.” And their effort pays off: The grittiest students, not the smartest ones, had the highest GPAs.

So how can we start to understand an applicant’s or an employee’s grit? Try some or all of these questions to identify the trait:

  • What experiences do you feel had the most impact in shaping who you are today?
  • Share with me the details of a time when you stayed with an idea or project for longer than anyone expected you to.
  • Tell me about some of the obstacles you have had to overcome to reach your present position.
  • Give me an example of a time when you had to finish a job even though everyone else had given up.
  • Describe a time when you were asked to complete a difficult task or project where the odds were against you. Were you successful? What did you learn from the experience?
  • What goal have you had in your life that took you the longest to achieve? What did you learn from that experience?
  • Describe how you set your goals for the last year and how you measured your work. Did you achieve your goals? Why or why not?
  • Give me an example of a time you made a major sacrifice to achieve an important goal.
  • Give me an example of how you have taken control of your career.
  • What has been the biggest obstacle you’ve overcome in life? What about in your career?
  • When you found yourself faced with that obstacle, what steps did you take to begin the process of overcoming this challenge?

Providing Top Talent for Peak Performance

At Cerca, we are professionals working with professionals to fine tune talent branding so they can proactively adapt and lead change. If you are a company looking to expand your team with professionals who are focused on delivering work in which they take pride, and you can be proud of, ever day, then we would be privileged to help you in the process. Having created positive change ourselves in the fields where we focus, we know the ins and outs of the companies, the business and the customers leading the way.

To learn more about how we can assist your organization find contributors with grit and conation please reach out to Scott Rivers at srivers@cercatalent.com.

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Scott Rivers is the Managing Director of Cerca Talent+, a talent agency for the Diagnostic and Life Science Industries. Scott’s recruiting experience extends into the areas of Diagnostics, Life Sciences, Oncology and Genetics. His team manages recruitment for all levels within the commercial area of these businesses.

As a leader who has worked at all levels of commercial, medical sales and global marketing, Scott is an intense professional who works with organizations to fine tune talent branding. If you are a leader looking to expand your team with professionals who are focused on delivering work in which they take pride, and you can be proud of, every day, then Scott would be privileged to help you in the process. Having been a professional in the fields where you focus, Scott knows the ins and outs of the companies, the business and the customers you are working to come alongside.

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Cerca Talent+ is a full-service Executive Search Firm with a strategic focus in the areas of Clinical Diagnostics, Molecular Diagnostics and Oncology, Genomic and Genetic Medicine. Our clients choose Cerca because of our deep understanding of the industries we serve. They continue to work with us based on our extensive market knowledge, vast connections and quality of results.

We Provide Top Talent to create Peak Performance. That’s a good match for any company. Partner with the group that can talk shop and gain rapport with the pros who will lead your business into the future. Email Scott Rivers today at srivers@cercatalent.com, or call direct at 201-594-2101, and we will begin the process of finding you Top Gun Talent guaranteed to help you set records.

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Adapted from The Treasure of True Grit, Karen SchmidtReport this

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Scott Rivers

Helping clients build world class teams as a recruiting leader in Oncology, Genetics, Diagnostics and Life Sciences

Exactly what is it that leads one person to try again and again when others just give up…? Industrial and organizational psychologists have spent decades researching this very subject. Angela Duckworth, assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania, and her research focuses on a personality trait she calls “grit.” She defines grit as “sticking with things over the very long term until you master them.” She writes that “the gritty individual approaches achievement as a marathon; his or her advantage is stamina.” What causes an individual to experience significant success? The obvious answer: success is about talent. Successful people can do something – hit a golf ball, dance, trade stocks, write a blog – better than most anyone else. This answer begets another question: What is talent? How did that person get so good at hitting a golf ball or trading stocks? Although talent can appear to be based on inheritance, it turns out that the intrinsic nature of talent may be overrated.

Scott Rivers

Scott Rivers

Helping clients build world class teams as a recruiting leader in Oncology, Genetics, Diagnostics and Life Sciences

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