Drive: a sure way to distinguish yourself from all those other straight-out-of-college candidates

Marc Andreessen has a recent article on How to hire the best people you’ve ever worked with. If you are interested in maximizing the chances of getting that job interview, it is a good idea to read about what people like Marc look for in a candidate during a hiring process.

For Marc, it comes down to three main things: drive, curiosity and ethics. Drive and curiosity are closely related; they seem to be the direct consequence of passion.

Marc writes that you can see drive in a candidate’s background (read “resume”):

For the background part, I like to see what someone has done.

Not been involved in, or been part of, or watched happen, or was hanging around when it happened.

I look for something you’ve done, either in a job or (often better yet) outside of a job.

The business you started and ran in high school.

The nonprofit you started and ran in college.

If you’re a programmer: the open source project to which you’ve made major contributions.

Something.

If you can’t find anything – if a candidate has just followed the rules their whole lives, showed up for the right classes and the right tests and the right career opportunities without achieving something distinct and notable, relative to their starting point – then they probably aren’t driven.

And you’re not going to change them.

Motivating people who are fundamentally unmotivated is not easy.

Surprisingly enough, this drive part is missing from the vast majority of the new grad resumes that I review. I don’t know what is the reason for that. What I do know is that the few resumes that show evidence that the candidate has ‘done’ do stand out. And get at least a phone call.