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June 2018

Have you Hired a Brilliant Jerk? (GOL Asia Series)

An oft-heard refrain that is both industry and geography agnostic is how companies hire an executive because of his or her experience and background, but then eventually fire them because of a lack of fit with the company. How is it that in spite of executive search company interviews, hiring committee interviews, psychological assessments and referencing, more than an acceptable number of hires fall into this category? How can this be avoided? What are the best of breed companies doing to avoid this serious issue that sets their agenda back by years? To delve deeper into the matter, Kingsley Gate Partners organized a series of roundtable discussions across three cities in India – Bengaluru, Mumbai and Delhi, which included chief executives, country heads and HR leaders from prominent companies across various industries including financial services, pharmaceuticals, healthcare, technology and consumer goods and services. The theme of this year’s conference was “Have you hired a brilliant jerk?” The sessions provided a unique lens on the topic, uncovering some of the best practices adopted by top companies as well as insights into the pragmatic methods adopted by industry veterans to overcome the challenges of hiring a ‘brilliant jerk’, a term popularized by Reed Hastings, the CEO of Netflix in his 2009 presentation, “Netflix Culture: Freedom & Responsibility”. This paper attempts to encapsulate the discussions from these conferences.
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