CAREER ADVICE

Be the Boss: How To Tell if a Candidate Can Do the Job

May 19, 2016

Citadel’s CEO Ken Griffin has long credited the firm’s success to its most important asset: its people. In this series on career development, Ken talks with Laszlo Bock, Google’s Senior Vice President of People Operations and author of the book, “Work Rules!”, as they share what their companies look for in hiring decisions. In part one, Ken and Laszlo discuss what makes top talent stand out during interviews.

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(Left: Ken Griffin, CEO of Citadel; Right: Laszlo Bock, Senior Vice President of People Operations at Google)

Editor: When you’re interviewing candidates, how do you decide if the person will succeed at your company?

Ken Griffin: Citadel’s core long-term strategy is built on talent. We are not in the “just-a-job” business; we are in the career business. With candidates, I want to understand the circumstances around why they moved from one job to another. If a previous boss hired them again, that’s a good sign. I use interviews to help me determine how driven, ambitious, and passionate the person is. Successful people at Citadel share two traits: they are passionate and they are team players. When I find someone who says, “I started investing in stocks when I was 13,” that person has the passion to succeed at Citadel.

And if you can’t collaborate, you won’t be successful here. Every member of every team should have absolute clarity around what we are here to do. If something doesn’t make sense, raise your hand, because we empower you to fix it.

Laszlo Bock: Interviews are important but you have to train yourself to ignore the subjective. It’s tempting to look at someone and say, “I like their style; they have the same interests.” But what our research tells us is there are four things that determine whether someone will be successful at Google: cognitive ability, leadership skills, cultural fit – traits like humility and conscientiousness – and finally, can you actually do the job.

Next up: Ken and Laszlo answer the question, “do a candidate’s grades really matter?”