Most job descriptions talk in their requirements and qualifications about experience, skills and expertise. And in interviews candidates get asked about their experience, skills and expertise.
Sure, there are some professions where nothing else is required: Surgeons, chef or airline pilot. While their daily tasks and techniques might change incrementally, they need to really focus 99% of the time on their experience, skills and expertise.
In the ever-changing media world, there’s one quality that’s more important than any experience, skills or expertise:
I haven’t met one brilliant media professional who is not a curious person. Curiosity is so important because:
Your mind becomes active instead of passive
Curious people always ask questions and search for answers in their minds. Their minds are always active. Since the mind is like a muscle which becomes stronger through constant exercise, the mental exercise caused by curiosity makes your mind stronger and stronger.
Would you rather hire a passive or active thinker? Would you want somebody on your team that reacts to challenges or somebody who anticipates them?
It makes your mind expect new ideas
When you are curious about something, your mind expects and anticipates new ideas related to it. When the ideas come they will soon be recognized. Without curiosity, the ideas may pass right in front of you and yet you miss them because your mind is not prepared to recognize them. Just think, how many great ideas your team may have lost due to lack of curiosity?
It opens up new worlds and opportunities
By being curious, you will be able to see new worlds and possibilities which are normally not visible. They are hidden behind the surface of normal life, and it takes a curious mind to look beneath the surface and discover these new worlds and possibilities. They can’t be found in marketing blogs, conferences or weekly status reports. They are out there in books, museums, the little store on the street, the conversation with daily people.
It brings excitement to work, life and your team
Curious people are seldom bored. There’s always something new to discover, new to explore, new adventures to experience.
So, next time you interview a candidate spend a bit less time on exploring the details of their career and find out more what goes in their head and imagination: What book did they read last? What movie made them think and change their opinion? What music connects with them? The last trip to the museum? If they would write a book, what would it be about?
We all start out curious. Often, this curiosity is being killed by the home, the school or the challenges of daily life. When you meet somebody who still has that childlike curiosity, who battled through all the curiosity killers and still made it: Hire them. You’ll never regret it.