When hiring, do you find a candidate who fits the position perfectly or do you select the best person with potential to develop as your organization grows? This question is especially relevant for small companies where new clients and projects can constantly reshape the organization.
My experience interviewing candidates over the years has taught me that desire, determination, and curiosity are often the best predictors of how someone will perform. Every job is different and can evolve over time, so gauging people based on the specific skills they have rather than their ability to take on new tasks can be too limiting. For example, after leaving Chicago’s Olympic bid but before starting this company, I interviewed for a few positions in marketing. Typical questions included the following:
“What kind of digital writing experience have you had?”
“How would you describe your short-form writing skills?”
“Do you have examples of writing for SEO?”
At the Olympic bid, I took on all sorts of tasks that I’d never done before. Regardless of the specific type of writing, I found that if you can get up to speed quickly, learn from the experts, take direction, and understand the target audience, you will be successful. Better questions might have been:
“Are you a good collaborator?”
“Do you avoid or embrace change?”
“What are your interests outside of work?”
Why do these questions matter more? While successful communications (and writing specifically) require technical skills, the ability to think critically, gain an understanding of your target audience, and present ideas in an engaging way is equally if not more important. Over the past decade, communications and content marketing have evolved constantly, putting a premium on adaptability and curiosity.
For these reasons, I’m pleased to welcome DeQuesha Hopkins as the most recent addition to Leff Communications. She comes to us with a well-rounded set of experiences in a variety of settings, from writing to editing to broadcast to social media and SEO. Previous positions include working as a writer for Time Out Chicago and other publications. Initially, her focus will be using her copyediting skills to ensure all of our written materials meet a high level of quality—an important role in our agency model for content marketing.
DeQuesha also brings a wide range of interests and strong work ethic to the job: in her spare time, she enjoys exploring Chicago’s 77 neighborhoods, yoga, and cooking. She has also completed a number of local road races (including the Chicago Marathon), a hobby that naturally encourages individuals to push beyond their limits. And she’s a lover of classic Hollywood films.
Resourcefulness and curiosity are in especially high demand in small but growing businesses such as ours. The organization’s mission can shift dramatically with the addition of a new client or large project, requiring people to redefine their roles and add new skills to take advantage of emerging opportunities. Likewise, each new employee can alter the vibe of the work environment, hopefully in good ways.
For all these reasons, we’re very pleased to have DeQuesha on our team. Please join me in welcoming her.