How to Identify and Hire for Growth Mindset

Justin Byrne

Growth Vs Fixed (2)

​Mindset. It sounds cliché, but it’s undeniably important. If there’s one thing which is prevalent among successful people, whatever their profession or chosen niche, it’s having a growth mindset.

The arch nemesis of a growth mindset is the fixed; a fixed view of the world, of yourself and those around you. There are some key differences between the two, but they largely revolve around learning. A person with a fixed mindset believes that the traits they’re born with are essentially as good as it gets – we’re born with a certain amount of talent or skill in any given subject, and whilst we can practice in order to hone that skill, we’ll never ‘get better’ at it than the maximum innate level. On the contrary, those with a growth mindset are of the opinion that any trait can be learned, and certainly improved on, with practice, education and plain old effort.

These are the people you want to be hiring.

Besides the obvious, those with a growth mindset are beneficial in business for many reasons; they’re great problem solvers, for one. Growth mindset-ers will face down any challenges which come their way with fervour and enthusiasm. They’ll learn from their mistakes to become a more well-rounded version of themselves. Generally speaking, they’ll make a great addition to any ambitious, forward-thinking team.

There are ways to identify the two different types of mindset, and certainly some things to look out for at interview. Have a read of the points below.

Signs of a fixed mindset:

  • I’m not a [insert skill here] person, but I make up for it elsewhere.” We all have things we’re better at than others, but statements like are a fundamental barrier to learning. If a line like this one comes up at interview, probe to try and understand more about it – is it something they’ve tried to improve, or have they effectively written it off and avoided the subject completely? Furthermore, what does either of these scenarios say about their mindset?

  • Little to no mention, or avoiding talking about, past failures. Those with a fixed mindset tend to view failures as exactly that – something to steer clear of at all costs. Conversely, those with a growth mindset understand that failure is a) inevitable and b) one of, if not the most important tool for learning. We want candidates to promote their successes, for sure, but to also be mindful of what brought them there – and failure may well have played a part in that.

  • Viewing the success of others as a threat – which may manifest as not coming across as a true ‘team player’. Where, on the other hand, individuals with a growth mindset will seek out mentorship and collaboration with successful figures, as a source of inspiration and learning. Ask questions around team situations and opportunities they’ve had to work alongside colleagues or managers they respect, and try to grasp whether they fit within the fixed or growth mindset based on their feelings about them.

An interesting point to remember about fixed vs growth mindsets is that it is possible, if not particularly common, for someone to have a mixture of both. When it comes to certain aspects of their life, a person could simply believe there’s no hope – for instance athleticism or maths – whilst consistently pushing themselves to grow and learn in their career or another area. Just as no two skills are the same, nor are two mindsets. It’s not our job to pigeonhole a candidate at interview stage, but to understand as much as we can and make as well-informed of a decision as possible.

Also try to remember that interviews are far from a natural situation, one in which most people feel uncomfortable. If someone’s portraying a decidedly fixed mindset-esque outlook, that’s not to say it will be so on the job.

With almost 20 years of experience in qualifying executive level candidates through thorough tactical interviewing, Certus Recruitment Group are truly able to grasp these important concepts at interview on behalf of our clients. We’re also well equipped to help you do it yourself. Get in touch with our team to discuss the ramifications of hiring growth vs fixed mindset individuals, and the incredible dividends doing so can pay for your business.