The Most Dangerous Thing Organizations Do

Talk to any risk management expert, and you’ll get an earful about the many dangers that keep business leaders awake at night: Product liability claims. Acts of global terrorism. Intellectual property mismanagement. Data breaches. Harm to reputation through social media. The list is long, and growing.

Talk to Margie Hlava, president of Access Innovations, and you’ll come away with a different perspective on risk.

“The most dangerous and risky thing organizations do is hire people—it is a corporate gamble,” she writes in Information Outlook. “Finding excellent employees is both an art and a science, as is retaining them.”


The key to hiring good employees, Margie says, is asking the right questions. Many of the questions her company asks during interviews are designed to allow prospective employees to reveal their “inner selves”—how they see themselves, what matters to them, and how they react to unexpected challenges. These questions include the following:

  • Define “quality”;
  • Define “professional”;
  • Describe your best boss and your worst boss;
  • What do you do when you get angry? and
  • What would you like to be doing in 5 years?

“The reason for asking [about the applicant’s best and worst supervisors] is to identify the qualities that interviewees value in others and themselves,” Margie writes. “Often, in asking about best/worst boss situations, we get interesting insights into an applicant’s strengths and weaknesses in previous job assignments. We ask interviewees to describe their best boss first—and we ask twice. Interviewees who lead with descriptions of their worst boss may hold a generally negative outlook. We want positive people.”

To learn more about the “art and science” of how Access Innovations hires employees—including requiring all applicants to take a typing test on an IBM Selectric typewriter—read the article.

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