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5 Things To Consider When Hiring Innovators


For a company or business to evolve and remain progressive, it needs to hire innovative employees. Innovation plays a key role in the long term growth or otherwise of any organization. And for any business owner to remain successful in their marketplace, an ability to hire the right team to develop unique and creative products or services is an absolute must. So, what characteristics should business owners or employers look for that are possible indicators of innovative thinking? Let’s consider the following tips.

  • How well do they work in teams and individually?

One way to identify the innovative potential in a candidate is by finding out if they work well with others. While we may want to consider innovators like Steve Jobs as lone wolves, they never worked alone. Today’s complex business environment is not about getting things done alone, as many innovative companies operate through a network of partners that develop and deliver their products and services. Ask potential employees if they have ever worked in teams, how they felt, and what they were able to achieve with the team.

  • Examples of their innovative ability

Innovation involves a different approach to tackling issues and a different way of thinking that produces different results. So, when screening your candidates, find out from them if they have ever made a difference, no matter which field it is. Ask them what they did to cause positive change, how they went about it. Also, find out what kind of obstacles they faced and how they managed to overcome them (if they were able to). You can create scenarios in your face-to-face interviews to find out how well they will perform in different challenging situations.

  • What are they willing to contribute and learn?

What are they bringing to the table? Apart from knowledge and experience, what values, skills and characteristics will their presence contribute to your organisation? One good factor for facilitating innovation is realizing what you don’t know – but knowing how to find a way to gain that knowledge. If a candidate is unwilling to own up to certain skills they might not have, or if they lack a healthy amount of curiosity, then they might not be ideal. Successful workers are always seeking out new problems and new ways of solving them.

  • What extracurricular activities do they engage in?

After finding out what or how much your candidate is ready to learn, ask them about their broader knowledge forms. What other things outside the business environment are they interested in? Suppose your candidate or the person you’re interviewing does not come across as well-rounded. In that case, it is likely that they may not be able to offer anything innovative to your business, no matter their knowledge of a narrow specialty. Always look for evidence of diversity and interest in other fields.

  • How will they put together a box?

It might sound a bit strange, but to be able to know if a person can think outside the box, you can start by finding out how they can put together an unassembled box. For example, you can ask your prospective employees or candidates to think creatively about how they can assemble furniture right out of a box. Will they think independently or will they resort to the assembly instructions? The goal here is to find out if their minds are committed to the traditional ways of doing things. Their response should inform you about how guided they are by convention.

When hiring innovators, understand that the best of the bunch are always in high demand from other organisations. Don’t forget to also inform them about what you can offer them as an employer. If you’re a relatively new business, consider hiring firms such as Cowell James Forge Insurance Group to design an employee benefits programs that’s appealing and truly rewarding.

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