Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Recruiting People with Grit

What is grit?   University of Pennsylvania Professor Angela Duckworth defines grit as "perseverance and passion for long-term goals."  Duckworth has studied grit extensively in her academic career.  She has found that intelligence is not always a good predictor of academic or professional success.  Grit matters.  For instance, she has found that, at West Point, a cadet's grit score is the best predictor of success in "Beast Barracks" – the incredibly challenging, six week summer training regimen that all new cadets must endure. Grit predicted success more so than intelligence, leadership ability or physical fitness. 

Now Josh Jarrett and Kristen Hamilton have launched a new startup, Koru, that leverages the concept of grit to help companies find great employees.    According to this Fortune article written by Erin Griffith, "Koru seeks out recent college graduates who possess grit, or tenacity, or resilience, but lack real-world experience, and help them land jobs at fast-growing companies. Koru does that by through intensive four-week training programs, hosted at by the companies looking to recruit raw talent."   

In short, Koru identifies students who appear to have a high level of grit, puts them through an intense, but short, program to both train them and test their determination and perseverance.  Part of the training involves working on short-term projects with real companies looking to recruit individuals with grit.  Ultimately, Koru tries to match these high grit individuals with employers seeking people with this crucial trait.  Koru makes money both from fees collected from hiring companies as well as tuition collected from recent college graduates who enroll in their four-week program.  Hamilton comments, "Hiring mistakes are expensive.  We realized a degree and GPA is not a good signal. We're looking to be that signal."

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