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Microsoft’s UK COO on the key hiring values the company looks for in new talent

Nicola Hodson

Microsoft and its UK COO, Dr Nicola Hodson, recognize the need to hire people based on how their values sit within a digitized, technology-orientated, business world.

As technology, data and information revolutionizes the way individual business functions operate, companies must now be more proactive in matching new talent with a new culture.

From entry-level positions to senior leadership teams, the whole gamut of employees are now tested on certain key hiring skills that match the direction a company takes – Airbnb, for example, sees passion as the most important aspect of a potential new hire.

For Dr Nicola Hodson, Microsoft’s UK COO, there are a collection of key hiring skills and values which she sees as essential when making a new leader hire in today’s digital business world.

“If they’re leaders, they need to understand the company’s strategy and create a real sense of purpose and clarity for individuals within their team, to understand what the next thing to do is, and what the next logical steps are.”

It’s important for leaders to evangelize their brands, now that more and more new hires place company satisfaction high on their career needs.

That ties in with the requirement to believe in the company you work for, and understand the value your company brings; Dr Hodson also lists “optimism, and energy creation” as some key hiring skills that she hopes will add to a team dynamic at Microsoft.

“They also need to be able to drive success – we’re all measured on business outcomes after all – and I like people with a sense of clarity to put the right energy into a system, to drive business outcomes.”

On a broader level, Dr Hodson also recognized that technology innovation is moving at pace, and even established brands like Microsoft need to keep abreast of this evolution.

“The ability to think first, and move first – moving at pace is critical here – and they should have the wish to learn, the intellectual stimulation if you will, and get excited by all the new technology we’re experiencing.”

Certain key hiring skills though are more difficult to predict, such as the idea that failing is good, as long as you “fail fast”, or, learn from your mistakes in a start-up-like manner.

Dr Hodson also suggests she is “looking for people who are comfortable with uncertainty. The quid pro quo of decision cycles and uplifting global strategies is the ability for agility, and not becoming upset if a plan doesn’t work anymore.”

To hear more of Dr Nicola Hodson’s views on this topic, view the full clip above.