Why One Executive Only Hires People Who Love Challenges


Laurie Glimcher

PR Newswire/AP

Dr. Laurie Glimcher, dean of Weill Cornell Medical College.

The best doctors have several traits in common, such as an affinity for science, a drive to learn, and a strong worth ethic.


But Dr. Laurie Glimcher, dean of Weill Cornell Medical College, looks for another key characteristic when interviewing potential employees: They have to love a challenge.

Because so many experiments end up failing, a willingness to take risks becomes a crucial trait for anyone working in science or medicine. "As a scientist, if you're not willing to take big risks and try daring experiments, what is the point?" Glimcher said in an interview with the New York Times. "You've got to put everything on the line - 98% of experiments fail, so the only kind of science I ever wanted to do was transformative science."

Even more than merely taking risks, candidates need to be prepared to repeatedly work on difficult problems before finding a solution. Anyone who's not up for the challenge will struggle trying to find their place in the field.

So when she's hiring, Glimcher always looks for people who are willing to get their hands dirty and take a gamble. "You've got to be somebody who wants a new challenge," she says. "If you just want to maintain the status quo, if you don't have grand ideas and thoughts about how to realize them, forget it."


Because her industry frequently forces employees out of their comfort zones, a drive to push the envelope is crucial. But Glimcher's thinking can be applied to nearly every industry, not just science. An innovative spirit and willingness to tackle any challenge makes candidates stand out as someone who's driven to get the job done.

Click here to read the full New York Times interview.

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