Data is the most valuable language you can speak today.
It wasn’t always that way. The GE your parents and grandparents remember was a company made up of regional offices reporting to a central headquarters, with management responsibilities laid out in a neat corporate hierarchy. These days, we’re becoming more streamlined, simpler, and faster. As our business changes, we need to hire a workforce that’s comfortable with this new way of working. With that in mind, here are some of the key traits and job skills we’re looking for in new hires right now.
Not everybody is a software engineer, but every single person at Global Operations understands their part in GE’s transformation into a digital industrial company. Whether you’re in HR, accounting, or operations, being able to analyze and understand data is critical. We produce massive amounts of data every day and need to use it as efficiently as we can.
For example, our HR leader in Cincinnati is a chemist by training. She’s able to harness the immense amounts of data at her disposal to make informed decisions around recruitment and retention. It’s not the traditional career path we might’ve looked for in an HR leader a generation ago, but it’s a skill set that couldn’t be more valuable right now, and the organization benefits from her expertise.
So even if you don’t have a degree in engineering or your job description doesn’t include data processing, we want to see how you use data every day. I look for candidates who can explain how they turn their work into actionable insights—or who can tell us how they think data might help them do their jobs better. Data is the most valuable language you can speak today.
Startups are known to encourage failure in the search for solutions, but we’ve learned that big companies need to do the same. Structurally, we’re a flatter organization these days—we knew we needed to be in order to generate better ideas, work more collaboratively, and retain the best talent. And culturally, we’re now more accepting of failure in the pursuit of an idea.
We’re more likely than we’ve ever been to hire someone who fits our culture and shows promise, even if they aren’t traditionally “qualified.”
The result is that the kind of person who succeeds at GE is humble. We want people who are comfortable being a little uncomfortable, who thrive in the ambiguity of a less hierarchical structure, and are prepared to fail—repeatedly—because we know it takes trial and error to bring ideas to life.
Don’t be afraid to talk about a time you failed at something. We want to hear the thought process that led to that setback and what you did next. Tell us about the time you had a great idea but weren’t sure how to make it happen, and the way you eventually did.
At all of GE’s Global Operations sites, our interest in people who take risks is matched by a willingness to take risks on others. We’re more likely than we’ve ever been to hire someone who fits our culture and shows promise, even if they aren’t traditionally “qualified.”
Maybe you don’t have an MBA, or you aren’t fluent in spreadsheets. But if you’re a curious team player and an innate problem solver who isn’t afraid to mess up now and then, we want to talk to you. To be sure, plenty of companies like to say this, but not all of them can walk the walk. At GE, that often means helping people make lateral moves that wouldn’t have been open to them within the company years ago.
Shane Fitzsimons is a senior vice president and leads GE’s Global Operations, the company’s global multifunctional shared services operations.