The following is Part Four of a four-part series on hiring for innovative ideas. This is the final post in the series.
If you are hiring for innovative ideas, the following are three questions you must ask.
by Dr. Geil Browning
An applicant’s behaviors are also important to understanding how an innovator (if you've found one) would interact as part of your team. Look to uncover them with questions like these:
1. What would you do if you showed up ten minutes early for a meeting?
Does this individual talk about striking up a conversation with the nearest person, or quietly prepare for the meeting? Only you know which trait would offer an appropriate balance at your company.
2. How would you assert your ideas if you were in a meeting with a group of managers and a confrontational issue emerged?
This way you can get a sense of whether or not this applicant will wait for encouragement before speaking, or jump in with a point of view. Does your current team have outspoken leaders who would squelch innovations your candidate proposes, or would his voice be heard?
3. How would you respond if your manager suddenly changed your project?
Do you find this applicant describes immediately adapting to the new task, or holding his ground? Which would benefit your organization's processes more?
In addition, innovative job applicants will most likely ask you where you expect your company to be in ten years. They may ask how many products you have introduced, and whether or not you have awards for innovation. They also may ask if they can bring their dog to work.
If you want innovative ideas to surface in your company, it is your job to cultivate an atmosphere in which all types of creativity are valued. Before you hire your perfect candidate, make sure your organization is truly ready to hear new ideas.
One note of caution: look for competence, not just blue-sky thinking, because ultimately you need ideas that will benefit your bottom line. Experience with real world solutions is a bonus in any job candidate.