Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Smarter Different, Not Smarter More

One of the standard questions I get asked by candidates is:

Why do you like to work here?

This is the candidate equivalent of "tell me your greatest weakness." Hey, all sides in interviews get our cliches!

And just like any well-prepared candidate, I'm prepared for that stock question. The answer is pretty much always:

Because I really like working with people who are smarter than I am.

Sounds pretty good, right? Flattering to the candidate (you, too, could be in such a smart group!), a cliche answer to a cliche question (keeps the candidate comfortable), and is an honest answer (I have a lot to learn from my coworkers).

Except it's wrong.

"Smarter" doesn't really mean anything. And I don't honestly want to be the dumbest person in the room (talk about a blow to the ego!). What I really enjoy is working around people who can teach me something. I also enjoy working around people to whom I can provide insight and information. I'm happiest if it's a two way street - we're all learning!

What I really want is to work around people who know different things than I do. And then I want us to teach each other.

Yeah, that's what I like about my job.

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