Over the past year, I’ve spoken with dozens of business executives and HR leaders from companies big and small, across a range of industries, and asked each of them this question:
What is the most important skill you look for when hiring young professionals?
Given the pandemic and remote working, you might expect their responses to be things like resilience, adaptability or communication. And you would be partially correct.
However, the answer cited most frequently was something else. Curiosity! Are you surprised?!
Frankly, I was delighted by the responses because curiosity is a skill that everyone can cultivate. It’s not reserved for those with an Ivy League education or a privileged upbringing. It simply requires awareness, commitment and practice.
I learned this years ago as an undergrad when I applied to be an Industrial Design major and was intimidated because I had no portfolio and minimal “hand skills”, requisites for most design programs. Yet, the discipline of design thinking taught me that curiosity is integral to defining the correct problem before launching into solutions. Curiosity fuels good design. Indeed, the best designers are often the most curious.
Beyond curious designers, every company can benefit from curious employees: more innovation, better collaboration, better working relationships, and better project outcomes.
If you’re seeking a new job, a promotion or a stretch assignment, it’s time to cultivate your curiosity and make it your competitive edge.