The "Eye-sparkle Factor"

Some people's eyes have an engaging, infectious "sparkle." Some don't. Hire [only?] those who "have it"?

I was lecturing on "talent selection"—and the use of unconventional measures for so doing. At a break I made the following comment to a youthful Participant: "Suppose you & I were opening the restaurant of our dreams. We'd both put in $75,000 ... effectively our life's savings. We were 'betting the farm.' We had a great idea, a very good location, a terrific chef. Now the time had come to hire waiters & waitresses. Numerous applicants had satisfactory+ 'restaurant experience,' but several didn't. One young woman [man] in particular was a rank amateur—but had the most compelling 'sparkle' in her/his eye. How would that 'sparkle' rank in your hire-no hire consideration?" No great surprise, we both agreed, despite a 30-year experience differential, that the "sparkle" pretty much ruled. (Or some like measures—e.g., hustle, enthusiasm.) Fact is, the Participant in question ran a 40-person bit of an IS/IT department. And my real goal was to urge her to use the "Eye-sparkle Factor" in IS/IT hiring almost to the same degree as in "our" choice of a waiter/waitress!

Tom Peters posted this on January 17, 2005, in Talent.
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