Wednesday, 22 January 2014

4 Reasons Why Hiring Smart Trumps Hiring Schooled



For all employers out there: 

Which is more important to you – smarts or qualifications?

Would you hire someone to run a department in your company because they are insanely creative, analytical, and motivated – or would you hire someone with an MBA and a great résumé? 

Is experience more important than passion and clear-cut vision?

These are very important questions, because the world is changing, and organizational views and approaches towards merit-based hiring ought to evolve as well.


Knowledge is the new currency in today’s world – people with abundant amounts of specialized knowledge, tons of creativity, and a whole lot of guts are transforming thought-leadership into business leadership every day.

[Related Article: Improving Your Productivity and Saving Your Job with Simple Lists]

The business climate globally is warming up to these geeky eccentrics who seem confident enough about their new, radical, and bold ideas to rally difficult-to-get financial support for their promising ventures and go on to basically change the world with their startups – think Facebook, Microsoft, Google, and Apple.

Where would the world be without them? That’s a very interesting question – and the main reason why we simply shouldn’t ignore or isolate brilliant minds, but rather include them in all aspects of business and industry (not just the R&D labs!).

So, back to the question of the day – should you hire smart or hire schooled? I’ll give you 4 rock-solid reasons why hiring smart trumps hiring schooled. Read below:

1. Smart People Find Creative and Novel Solutions to Complex Problems

It’s no secret that the really smart ones among us always see the world differently and try to do things creatively – including finding novel solutions to important problems.

I’ll give you an example. You own a chain of supermarkets and you’re trying to hire a consultant to work out the supply chain for your stores. A schooled person will tend to approach the problem by considering classical economics, logistics, and project management – say, working out the cheapest product supply and transportation modes for making deliveries, as well as the most effective delivery schedules, and so on.

This will probably provide a satisfactory result. Now, a really smart person will approach the problem geometrically and analytically, generating a series of equations and computational processes to be simulated by computer until the most optimized solution is found. 

No doubt, the latter solution will trump the former on performance and results in at least 90% of sampled occasions. Case in point.

2. School is (Relatively) Easy, Smart is Not

While I’m not saying that it takes miniscule effort to get a college degree or even higher professional degrees, I’m saying that if someone can solve a Rubik’s cube or a third-degree differential equation in less than two minutes, they can probably read a bunch of textbooks and pass an exam.

On the other hand, how many MBA holders do you know personally that can solve a Rubik’s cube or calculate your root-mean-square business production metrics by hand in 24 hours? Case in point. 

Trivia: By the way, a Rubik’s cube is a very difficult puzzle to solve, requiring enormous feats of intelligence and decision-making. Not for the faint of heart, sorry head.

3. Schooled People Work by the Book – Smart People Rewrite or Invent the Book

In a dynamic and fast-moving world where concepts and ideas become obsolete by the day, you really can’t afford to be hiring people who consult ideas established decades ago to make every single business decision.

You need risk-takers, motivated self-starters, bold idealists, and revolutionary mindsets to help you join the ranks of innovators in business and industry. Not people who knot their ties and shoe laces the exact same way every day. Case in point.

4. Smart People Are Not (Really) After Money, They Want to Change the World

Why do most people really want jobs? Most people go to college and pursue professional degrees – just so they can have successful careers and high-paying jobs. Sorry to burst your bubble, but it’s the truth. 

Your new hot-shot MBA executive is probably really trying to build his career and bank accounts through your company – but the geek on the street is probably just after an adventure of a lifetime – and a chance to change the world.

Geeks think differently. They love challenges, and like to change the status quo. Case in point.

I strongly believe that a business environment which includes these highly talented, driven and unconventional people at every level (despite their lack of stellar educational qualifications) can only change for the better – and who knows, maybe even become revolutionary.