On Hiring : Heuristics when interviewing


We all love it. The Shortcut. When employed with intelligence it is called a ‘Hack’ and when it is used with the wrong intent it is called ‘Jugaad‘. For those unfamiliar with the South East Asian part of the globe, that strange word is the lingo of the lazy and callous when they pass of a flimsy solution of mostly spit and prayer as a workable way out of a problem.

Mental shortcuts, a subset of the above, is used by all of us a hundreds of times in a day to arrive at that needed quick decision and they too could be either nuanced or naive, depending on the intellect of the individual. We employ so many, no one could ever write down everything they have in their arsenal of the mind to arrive at X thought. And we use it every waking hour to arrive at the station of Judgement as swiftly as can be possible.

Today I am going to show you a mental hack you could use to vet a company if you ever are thinking to working for it or hiring from it or giving business to it. In these 3 situations you usually have limited time or, even worse, limited information and the asymmetry is usually not in your favor so any hack that helps is a good hack.

Ask the executive/interviewer/interviewee sitting across the table from you what is on their Outlook Inbox ‘My Garage’ Folder. As I just coined that phrase, they will ask what the heck that is. Elaborate.

Everyday most of us come into the office, fire up the laptop and head straight to the inbox. We are all mostly short term, task driven firefighters. But while in a fire fighter those are admirable traits, as mid level and senior executives we need to understand those are not aspirational tags. But unfortunately they are irritatingly real and getting out of that swamp is tough. Some worthy souls take a noble stand and make time to not just be driven by their inbox alone. They create a ‘My Garage’ folder where resides, for now in their mind and this folder alone Potential Ideas germinating that could be game changers. Ideas in gestation that could take their function/department or firm on a very different trajectory. The Amazon challenge to the Barnes and Noble.

Think for a minute what having a folder like that implies about the firm and the individual. It’s a very good signalling beacon. That there is a space, a encouraging culture, a mind behind the suit, a explorer behind the drone business title. That is the person you want to hire, the firm you to engage, the guy you want on your team. Outlook Inbox ‘My Garage’ Folder : A mental shortcut worth adding to the judgmental arsenal.

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