I just finished the book “GRIT: The Power of Passion and Perseverance” by Angela Duckworth. Duckworth is a professor at the University of Pennsylvania and has studied Grit in the context of success for over a decade.
The results of her studies: Grit matters.
Instinctively, when I speak with leaders of organizations they know that grit plays a big role in sustained performance. Our team talks about grit a lot too – it’s one of our hiring criteria when we bring on new “strange renegades” (as we like to call ourselves). But how do you screen a potential candidate for grit?
Duckworth may have the answer.
In chapter 12 “A Culture of Grit” Angela breaks down one decade-long study she performed to isolate the characteristic of grit among her sample subjects. Duckworth created a simple survey asking sample subjects about high school activities. Here are the questions:
1 | What activities did you participate in high school? (The specific activity didn’t matter.)
2 | During which grade levels did you participate? (Looking for sustained participation.)
3 | What achievements in those activities did you earn? (Did the subject excel?)
Angela was looking for a pattern of sustained participation, persistence, and performance. In short, she was looking for grit.
The results of the study were clear. Those individuals who scored higher on the “grit test” were higher performers later in life (Angela tracked the subjects over 10 years). More interesting, when Duckworth attempted to isolate the variable of grit (as compared to intellect, socio-economic factors, etc.) grit was the strongest predictor of success. Again, grit matters.
Hiring a Security Team with Grit
If you are building a team and responsible for hiring – it may be worth building a similar test. Instead of high-school, maybe its possible to ask about college or career progress. Here are three potential questions to add to your interview schedule:
1 – What activities do you participate in the security community?
2 – For how long have you been involved?
3 – What achievements did you earn during your tenture?
Let’s Get Started
If you or your team need help taking your security program to the next level, please contact us.
Grit is sorely lacking in today’s workers. An interesting approach. I still lean more towards what was accomplished in your last job, whether it was scooping ice cream or landscaping (for recent graduates). In each job, you can demonstrate creative thinking and how to improve a task or procedure.
I’ve always told my children that when you don’t have anything to do at work, find something like sweeping the floor, restocking, etc. That’s also a good interview question: what did you do at work when you were all caught up and you had nothing to do?
If you graduated college without working much, then that shows a lack of grit and experience (unless special circumstances were involved).
On another note, I really wish you’d change your font. It is so thin that it is hard for me to read.