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Are You the Right Fit?

By: Tiffany Thomas, NCU student, DBA-Organizational Leadership

As part of our Ghost Program blog series, Tiffany shares what she's learned from her "internship" with Detroit Labs

The Roles of Skills vs. Personality in Hiring

Organizations are becoming very creative in their hiring selection process.  With a Human Resource policy to dictate everything from lunch breaks to the hiring process, it is evident that as organizations evolve so does their interview process. 

Most of us are familiar with the standard process; submit your resume, wait for a call back and prep for the interview and any skills assessment that may be administered. What would you do if everything you learned about the interview process (internally and externally) was completely disregarded? One organization is finding out.

Reinventing Hiring

Detroit Labs, an Information Technology organization, is reinventing the interview process.  Their process is geared towards getting to know the candidate as a “total person,” as opposed to the technical specifications of a job title.  Literally, the company has created a “Getting to Know You Document” that candidates complete. The document asks certain questions such as, what are your favorite books, hobbies, etc. 

The document is disseminated to all team members.   The team members get to vote on whether or not the candidate would be a good fit for the team.  If there are more “thumbs up” than “thumbs down,” then the candidate moves forward in the selection process. 

The next step is an informal meeting where the candidate has the opportunity to meet with some of the team members during lunch. At this point, the candidate has the opportunity to elaborate on the responses in the “Getting to Know You Document.” Once again, if there are more thumbs up than thumbs down, then the candidate moves to the final process which consists of an interview with the co-founders of the organization. 

Do Managers Have a Role in Hiring?

At this point, you may be wondering, “Where are the supervisors and managers?” Detroit Labs is a flat organization with an anti-bureaucratic culture that does not participate in the title/position office politics debate.  All team members have input in the selection process, regardless if they’ve been there three months or six years.  However, the co-founders manage every aspect of the company, from human resources to sales. They are in the day-to-day trenches, working side-by-side with their team members.  


One of the unique features of the selection process for Detroit Labs is their ability to discern whether or not a person is a good fit for their organization. The employer is willing to risk not bringing the brightest and best regarding information technology, but always go the extra mile to select someone with the right attitude. Truly, skill has its place but it does not override the personality a person can bring to an organization. The right attitude can go a long way!