How I Hire: The Road Trip Test

I have a question in every job interview that I never ask, but always want answered: Could I handle a road trip with this person?

I’m not kidding. Jobs are a lot like road trips. You’re stuck with a bunch of people in a situation where things don’t go according to plan. You may get a flat. You may hit traffic. That “three star” hotel where you booked two “quiet and comfortable rooms” may turn out to be a dump sandwiched between a truck stop and an awful-smelling tomato soup factory. A whiner can take a simple annoyance and turn it into a nightmare.

You’re also going to be spending a lot of time together, so you need people who are interesting. You don’t want clones of yourself; you want people who are different. They have to have their eyes open and know how to make fun out of nothing. And there can’t be any drama at all.

Work is not all puppies and rainbows. Something annoying happens every day. The server goes down. Your coworker sloshes your keyboard with coffee. You get dropped off by a cab driver exactly 16.2 miles from where you’re supposed to be. People who can roll with these things and find the humor in them are priceless.

Good coworkers also see something unusual in the ordinary. They are interesting. They’re different from me and the other people in the office. They don’t sit around the house on the weekend watching TV. They go out and find a camel farm or a bumper car museum, so that when they tell you about it, Monday no longer seems so dreary.

Whenever I hire someone, of course I want to them to be bright, qualified, motivated, creative, innovative, dedicated, hardworking, and all that stuff. But I also want to make sure that if we end up having the day from hell together or getting stuck in a traffic jam on I-5, we’ll push through just fine.

Original article posted here. Photo credit: Aaron Hewitt ©2009


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