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Would You Hire (the shy) Elon Musk?

Updated: Mar 25

Wouldn't having a team overflowing with innovative thinkers who can efficiently find solutions beyond conventional methods be fantastic? 

Elon Musk

I was in a workshop with C-suite executives, and everyone agreed with the above statement – a dream team.

But here's the twist: when I mentioned the quirks that often come with creativity (think quiet contemplation, deep dives into research, and maybe a healthy disregard for the rulebook), the enthusiasm started to disappear.

Interesting. That's where things get tricky. Because someone like Elon Musk (a tech visionary, social media icon, and rocket scientist (the cool kind), and the first name that pops into most heads these days when you ask, "Who's an innovator?") – wouldn't have necessarily fit the traditional mould back then. Apparently, the (shy) Elon Musk struggled to land a job at Netscape due to his lack of experience. He even went to their lobby but couldn't bring himself to talk to anyone – and ended up starting his own company! Even if he made it to an interview (considering the silence in the workshop), I doubt he would have been hired.

Even the most talented talent scouts can miss out on incredible minds, as our workplaces are generally not designed to accommodate different neurodiversity profiles. We often tend to celebrate the smooth talkers and the networkers. But what about the quiet geniuses with groundbreaking ideas? Are we inadvertently stifling creativity by prioritising a specific kind of "office persona"?

The bottom line: Our current hiring practices might be overlooking some of the most innovative minds simply because they don't fit a specific mould.

We need workplaces that embrace neurodiversity and create a space where these non-traditional minds can thrive and unleash their brilliance with psychological safety. 

I believe it's time to reconsider the recruitment rules for the future of work.


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