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How do you spot the candidate with entrepreneurial DNA? Here’s part 2 of our discussion on the 7 things to look for during the interview.

4. Resourcefulness. Ask them how they solved a professional problem when they lacked the time, support, or funds they needed. Listen for how they used their imagination, asked for help, and thought outside the box. Listen for how they identified, re-purposed and used unlikely resources to achieve their goals in spite of the obstacles. Take note of how they rephrased the problem, saw the bigger picture and enlisted the help of strategic allies who would also benefit from the solution. See if their solution solved more than one problem. Those with entrepreneurial DNA will demonstrate their resourcefulness.

5. Preparedness. Does the candidate expect you to ask all the questions? Do they just react to your initiatives? Do they wait for you to tell them about your company, its goals, successes and challenges? Or do they ask you questions? Candidates with the entrepreneurial DNA will treat you like a prospect for their services. They think of everyone as a customer for them, their service or their product. They know that the best sales pitch is, “I can help you sell your product,” and they can’t do that unless they thoroughly understand their prospect and how they can help. They have carefully researched your company in preparation for the interview. They know your products, your challenges, and your history. They come to the interview with a pen and notepad, and a list of questions.

6. Teamwork. Contrary to popular opinion, entrepreneurs are not loners. Realistically, they know that they must build, depend on, and be an essential part of a team. This requires respect for how each player is key to the overall success of the company. They are keen on understanding all the jobs, procedures, outsourced services and suppliers that keep the customer loyal. Listen for candidates who show an interest in this process. Ask them how their last job fit in to their company’s big picture. Ask them how they worked with their teammates and improved communication both inside and outside their previous company.

7. Organization. During the final interview, you do all the talking. Tell the candidate more about what the job entails, who they will be working with and why, how their job supports the customer experience, how your company is organized, and what the expectations are of their performance. Be sure to include how the funds get from the ultimate consumer to the company to cover their paycheck. Then ask them to write a one page summary of your company, the money trail from the end-user consumer, how they will be working with their teammates and why they qualify for the job. Then, tell them it’s due by 5PM tomorrow. This summary will tell you volumes about their comprehension, organization, communication, and ability to hit a deadline. These are all attributes of the entrepreneurial DNA.

There are other key “tells” that can help you spot the entrepreneurial DNA, such as assertiveness, dependability, sociability, humility, practicality, tenacity, empathy and humor. Asking the right questions will bring these attributes to light.

Also remember, it’s not enough to say you are looking for the entrepreneurial DNA in your candidates. You and your company have to walk the talk. You must build a culture of permission, enthusiasm, inclusiveness, recognition, and acknowledgement, and have a performance-based compensation plan to provide the environment the candidate with entrepreneurial DNA needs to flourish and remain with your company. If you want your employees to be more entrepreneurial, create the fertile ground in which they will bloom!


Who We Are

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey Barefoot Wine Founders

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey co-authored the New York Times bestselling business book, The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle, and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand. The book has been selected as recommended reading in the CEO Library for CEO Forum, the C-Suite Book Club, and numerous university classes on business and entrepreneurship. It chronicles their humble beginnings from the laundry room of a rented Sonoma County farmhouse to the board room of E&J Gallo, who ultimately acquired their brand and engaged them as brand consultants. Barefoot is now the world’s largest wine brand.

Beginning with virtually no money and no wine industry experience, they employed innovative ideas to overcome obstacles, create new markets and forge strategic alliances. They pioneered Worthy Cause Marketing and performance-based compensation. They built an internationally bestselling brand and received their industry’s “Hot Brand” award for several consecutive years.

They offer their Guiding Principles for Success (GPS) to help entrepreneurs become successful. Their book, The Entrepreneurial Culture: 23 Ways To Engage and Empower Your People, helps corporations maximize the value of their human resources.

Currently they travel the world leading workshops, trainings, & keynoting at business schools, corporations, conferences. They are regular media guests and contributors to international publications and professional journals. They are C-Suite Network Advisors & Contributing Editors. Visit their popular brand building site at www.consumerbrandbuilders.com.

To make inquiries for keynote speaking, trainings or consulting, please contact sales@thebarefootspirit.com.