Have you noticed some of the most brilliant minds have not finished college, nor need to? Some of the brightest artists and talents do not score high in theoretical tests either, and they soar like eagles. How do we hire?

I remember fondly, when I was studying for a degree, I asked my bosses at a leading American bank, if it mattered. My encouraging directors told me that an academic certificate is just a piece of paper, and what determined success of a person is how such a person performs and relentlessly pursued excellence going forward. I am very blessed to have met wonderful bosses who saw past my lack of credentials at some point, but rather, at my passion for learning, passion for performance, and passion for innovation. These enlightened bosses all imprinted in me the same belief that the best people are usually those who learn and live holistically, and not merely chasers of paper.

When I was a manager and then business owner, I hoped to do the same, to identify people with good attitude and good aptitude. Good attitude brings out the best of a person, whether it be good work ethics, empathy, collaboration, and customer service. Good aptitude brings out the passion for continuous learning and improvement, with the earnest and childlike curiosity to always get to the bottom of challenges and find solutions for clients.

When we interview candidates, beyond a long laundry list presented in their submissions, what can these candidates really prove in their claims? All too often, I have seen submissions with grammatical and even spelling errors that a decent word processor would have corrected. Worse, there are rude submissions showing a lack of basic manners in addressing interviewers, and language that showed both a lack of genuine interest, and a complete failure as a junior communicator.

There is nothing like face-to-face interviews. Some candidates look impeccable in their submissions but would fall short when you meet them. Some submissions may come across as confident and communicative, and yet when you meet them, it is almost as if someone else wrote the submission for these candidates, or their personalities do not echo their submissions.

Some candidates do not fit in our operations. If our environment is fast-moving (as with most modern businesses), self-empowered, and performance-driven, some candidates may shy away if they are seeking a cosy corner job that allow them ample time to socialize at water coolers, or on social media. These candidates are definitely a “no-go”. Some candidates are also too arrogant and disruptive to the rest of the teams, and would not fit in well, whatever raw talents they may possess.

Some of the most brilliant minds in our time and before our time, the Bill Gates, the Steve Jobs, and many others, have proven that their mental fortitude and creativity were never to be bound by the mere shackles of a formal educational system. I have lived my life fully to the best of my own abilities and God-gifted talents, despite the challenges along my way. In a small way, I have chosen the same journey as these greats, and enjoyed the journey. I have lots of people to thank, those of whom have laid before me encouragement and empowerment.

No roadblock is meant to bring down a person, but to fortify the person to scale ever greater heights. How would you choose your journey, this one life?