BY JOE DIDONATO
Jack Welch knows how win, as he proved in his 40-year career at General Electric. So given a chance to hear his view on hiring great people was a real treat. Three things that he said during that interview really stood out.
The first was what he called his three acid tests that we all need to conduct before we even think about hiring someone.
The second was his explanation of his 4-E (and 1-P) framework that he uses for hiring.
And lastly, he answered a real tough question: “What is the one thing you should ask in an interview to help you decide who to hire?”
So what are the three acid tests? Welch described these as three “screens” that a candidate must pass through before moving forward. The first test is for integrity. According to Welch, people with integrity tell the truth, and they keep they word. They take responsibility for past actions and mistakes. His advice was to look for it when you interview.
The second test is for intelligence, and he made a point of not confusing education with intelligence. He said determine whether the candidate has a strong dose of intellectual curiosity, as well as the breadth of knowledge to work with or lead other smart people.
The third acid test is maturity. And that’s not about age. He said what you’re looking for is someone who can take the heat, handle stress and setbacks, and enjoy success with equal parts of joy and humility.
The 4-E (and 1-P) framework is about positive energy, the ability to energize others, edge — the ability to make tough yes-or-no decisions — and execution — the ability to get it done. The “P” is the final element: passion.
And what is the one question you should ask? He said if he was only allowed one question, it would be why the person left his or her previous job, and the one before that. That will tell you more about the candidate than anything else.
For more information, Welch’s book “Winning” goes into a lot more depth on all of these areas.