Home > Recruiting > What’s Your “Deal Factor”?

What’s Your “Deal Factor”?

I often talk about my Dell experience when I’m illustrating lessons learned about direct response, “traditional” online advertising and the power of WOM. When it comes to remarkable recruiting, however, everything I know I learned at Trilogy – an enterprise software company in Austin, Texas. Trilogy deservedly got a lot of ink (e.g. Rolling Stone’s “Wooing the Geeks“) in the late 90s for its recruiting practices and I was lucky enough to ride that train myself. Because of the unique benefits and culture, Trilogy had far more applicants than it could manage. One of the major things that we would probe for in our massive recruiting Saturdays was a candidate’s “deal factor”. Would they be able to handle the Trilogy hours, intentional startup-style 3-to-an-office overcrowding, the unpredictable leadership, and the plethora of wacky ideas (yes, I’m talking to you, applianceorder.com)? Would the candidate thrive on the culture or lose it if Trilogy’s founder Joe Liemandt called an impromptu company meeting and proceeded to speak nonstop for 3 solid hours (survival of the biggest bladder)? Would they thrive with few boundaries or exploit the lack of hands on management by goofing off? This was a critical gate to clear.

While the work environments I have been in since have been quite different – and yes, I do miss the free Dove bars and company speed boats of the dot com days – the only thing constant is change. Because of the speed of innovation, deal factor continues to be something I think about every time I meet a candidate. The challenge is that it is very tough to test for. So how do you make sure you are bringing someone on board who is going to bring up your team’s average deal factor?

df

I usually craft some squishy questions about being able to impact organizational change, deal with a difficult manager, etc, but I would love ideas on best methodology for figuring this out. You can not ask “How do you deal with change?” head on, because it is oh so easy to say that you are inspired by constant change and oh so hard for it to be true.

The graphic above is based on some personality types I have personally encountered. I think I am at the “Lemonade Larry” waterline and continuing to aspire to the type of enlightenment and evolution that will empower me to be a true driver of change.

  1. April 22nd, 2008 at 10:39 | #1

    One tactic might be to confront candidates with the reality of change during the interview. Without going into too much detail, explain that the company is going through a lot of change, and describe some ways in which that affects the work environment. Watch their reactions closely – do they look disappointed? Resigned? Excited?

    (I tend to get excited when I hear that a company is in the throes of change, because it means there’s an opportunity to be one of those steadfast, optimistic people who got the company through a really challenging time.)

  1. No trackbacks yet.