The Rare Find

The Rare Find Book Cover

The Rare Find is about identifying (and then hiring) people who are exceptional. If you’re an employer looking for a better way to attract and interview “stars”, this is a great read. However, many of the ideas contained are also ideal for marketing your business as well as for your own job application.

Exceptional talent isn’t always obvious. If someone did a similar task for a previous employer, then it’s possible they may be able to repeat their success. However, sometimes the true skill is really an aptitude that isn’t easily taught, and is instead found in related fields (sport competition, military training, improvisational acting, debating, etc.).

Dr. James Weiss (associate dean at Johns Hopkins) seeks to get to the root of a medical school candidate’s character by asking applicants to answer questions about their rewarding experiences, overcoming adversity, areas of pride, and moments of exclusion. These same questions can be asked of your job applicants, but the answers are also great fodder for developing a compelling “About Me” bio for your business.

Champions do three things right: they take a lot of small risks, they make the most of their fortunate hunches, and they let go of mistakes before these become ruinously costly. These same personal qualities can likewise be applied to your business: keep learning and keep evolving. Focus on the question “What can go right?” and not “What can go wrong?”

Resumes of some exceptional talent don’t necessarily look typical. There may be a number of seemingly unrelated jobs and talents. People may leave jobs after a relatively short time because they weren’t challenged. They seem to bounce from thing-to-thing and never “grow up”. But these people are developing a breadth and depth of experience that your typical employee doesn’t have. And the best have “grit” – the ability to persist (and in some cases, thrive) in the face of daunting challenges.

Interviewers tend to also not know how to interview people well. They tend to want to ask “safe questions” and hear about successes. They want their applicants to be clones of others that are already employed (so they’ll fit in easily). Interviews don’t actually test the ability of an applicant to do the job – just the ability to sell them self.

If you’re trying to grow your team (or non-profit), ensure you create big, shared goals. Big goals keep talented people ever-striving. Shared goals keep teams cohesive. Stories about these goals will help instill a deeper culture, and give new team members a way to grasp the depth of the shared values.

If you’re trying to attract new employees (or even clients), consider a contest that’ll attract the right people to enter. Passionate people. Smart people. Under-challenged people. People from across the globe. A contest will create a community of like-minded members for you to communicate with (or hire), and at a fraction of the cost (and time) you would normally take to attract this tribe.

There’s no guarantee that your exceptional talent (or business) will necessarily be highly rewarded by following these ideas. But you’ll be better positioned to be noticed when the time is right.

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