Jeff Whittle On The EOS Hiring Process: People That “Get It” And “Want It”

One of the first things I cover during an EOS® Implementation is the concept of GWC™. My clients know that by lunch on the first day of using the Entrepreneurial Operating System®, they’ve already built their Accountability Chart™. A huge part of that is learning how Get It, Want It, Capacity To Do It™ determines who is accountable for what. The second half of understanding GWC is learning how it affects the EOS hiring process.

If you’re not familiar with GWC, check out this article that gives you the rundown. It’s an amazing tool that helps solidify Right People Right Seats™ on your team. And it’s critical in using the EOS hiring process.


So What Is The EOS Hiring Process?

Let’s start out by clarifying that there isn’t a definitive EOS Hiring Process. I’ve had plenty of clients and colleagues ask me about one, but it simply doesn’t exist. Every company has their own needs and their own processes to fill those needs. That’s why EOS doesn’t specify any processes outside of the journey your leadership team goes through to learn the EOS Process. What EOS does have is a several critical tools in the EOS Toolbox that inform your company’s unique hiring process.

When you’re hiring, you should be using the following tools

Today’s article will specifically focus on GWC and why it’s one of the hardest but most important EOS tools for hiring.


Why Is Hiring For Getting It and Wanting It So Important?

I have heard this question so many times I’m usually half way through the answer before the person finishes asking. The people who ask this are usually a) self-implementing EOS or b) just started using EOS in their company. 

No judgement. Everyone starts at the beginning.

But teams that have been using EOS for more than a year know that hiring with GWC is important like they know the sun comes up in the east. But why?

When you hire someone with Capacity only, you set yourself up for conflict down the road. If someone doesn’t Get or Want the job or company, eventually they will run into trouble actually executing on their role. Often it’s a culture conflict. But in the rank and file positions of a company it can be as simple as someone taking a job they don’t really like just because it was offered.

Hiring using GWC isn’t a magic bullet. Sadly, there is no way to make sure you hire the right people 100% of the time. But using GWC in your EOS hiring process is a great way to maximize the return you get on time invested in hiring.


What Makes Hiring With GWC So Hard?

Simply put, a lack of practice.

The vast majority of hiring our current generation has experienced was based on “Capacity.” We look at resumes and count up the number of years they have worked in the field. Recruiters scan for skill sets tagged on a LinkedIn profile. Hiring managers look at what school people graduated in and what their major was.

All of that tells us that someone has – or doesn’t have – the Capacity aspect of GWC. They are trained to accomplish the tasks they will need to accomplish at this job. 

Many teams new to the Entrepreneurial Operating System have to reorganize their hiring process. They start looking for people to fill seats on the Accountability Chart, they give potentials the Core Value Speech to gauge reactions. Those are both excellent things to do. But focusing on one of the EOS tools at the cost of another isn’t good practice.

The mistake that many find themselves making is looking at a resume and asking, “does this person GWC this job?” Then, basing their judgement on the skills – the Capacity – and ignoring the Want It and Get It aspect.

So, how do you make the GW of GWC part of your EOS Hiring Process?


Hiring For  “Want It”


What is “Want It”

Wanting It is probably the easiest part of GWC to describe and identify. When someone wants a job, they want it. I know, that seems like an oversimplification, but it’s true.

How many times have you met someone who is just a beast at their job, but clearly gets zero joy out of being good at it? They are miserable in their position and it poison the morale of the entire team.

Luckily Wanting It is fairly easy to identify for a current employee. When someone is excited about and dedicated to their job, it shows. Sometimes that’s because they love the actual function of their job. Other times they are just passionate about the mission. Whatever the case, it shows.

Unfortunately, learning if someone truly Wants It can take some time. And we don’t always have time when we are hiring.

Luckily identifying an applicants level of Wanting It can be streamlined.


Filtering applicants

When applicants Want It, they leave some subtle clues in their resumes. These are clues that your hiring managers are probably already looking for, even if they don’t know it. An applicant that really Wants It has proved it by dedicating their professional or personal life to whatever “it” is. For your company “It” may be someone who just loves managing 1000 projects and once. Or “It” could be someone who is on a mission to end homelessness. 

Take the time to look specifically for:

  • a list of very similar job descriptions
  • a list of company’s with similar values or missions to yours
  • hobbies or personal activities that use the same skill or support the same mission 

These are kind of general, so I’d like to set out some examples:

  • a person who has always been a project manager in cybersecurity startups
  • someone who has worked solely at companies that provide affordable insurance to low-income groups
  • a marketing specialist whose hobbies include painting, graphic design, and videography

Looking for these simple signs can greatly reduce the crowded playing field of applicants down to the ones you believe are actually excited for the position.

Identifying “Want It” in interviews

Fortunately, identifying Want It at interviews is quite simple. UN-fortunately, far too many hiring mangers undervalue this incredibly important aspect of the hiring process.

As far as identifying Want It goes, anyone that has ever hired before knows exactly the signs of someone who Wants It. They show up to the interview 30 minutes early with a list of questions. And the questions are great, interesting questions that show a real excitement for the job. You can tell that they don’t just want a paycheck. They want exactly the job they’ve applied for. 

These kind of folks usually do great in the interview itself, but don’t get the job.

Why? Because the hiring manager is too heavily focused on the Capacity aspect. They end up hiring someone who is probably more technically qualified, but has a 50/50 chance of leaving after a few years, because they’re bored.

So, how do you counteract this? Well, with the same strategy that EOS uses for lots of problems: process.

Work with whoever is in charge of hiring at your organization to build make Wanting It a critical part of assessing potential hires. This could take the form of a scorecard, a checklist, or really approach that works for your team. However you approach it, make sure that Wanting It is baked into the hiring process so deeply that it can’t be ignored in interviews.


Hiring For  “Get It”


What is “Get It”

Getting It can be hard to pin down in terms of meaning. On the surface Getting It can seem a lot like Capacity To Do It. This is the usual cause of confusion when I’m working with a client.  

The reason is that Getting It can be something different for every job in every country across the planet. Getting It is the corporate equivalent of being “cool”. You can’t describe one way or another what being cool is, but you know it when you see it.

For the purposes of this article, I’ll offer a simple definition. Someone Gets It when they understand your company, your mission, your team, and how they can act to support all three.


Filtering applicants

There aren’t a whole lot of clues in a resume that will tell you if an applicant Gets It. But there are plenty hiding in their cover letter.

I always recommend that clients that are looking for an EOS hiring process ask for cover letters when hiring. And I tell them that if it looks like a form cover letter that just describes the applicant, it’s probably not meant to be.

The cover letter is how a potential hire tells you that they Get your company and the job they are applying for. They do this by describing the things about themselves that make them a perfect fit. The cover letter isn’t just there to be skipped over by whoever is doing the hiring. It’s the one chance you get to see if someone is worth bringing in even if they don’t have all the technical skills.

After all, you can train someone in Capacity. But you can’t teach Getting It. 


Identifying “Get It” in interviews

The best way to identify someone who Gets It during an interview is to ask them directly. I don’t mean ask them “do you Get It?” That may result in some confused looks.

However you can ask good interview questions that bring out the applicants understanding of the role and their opinion on the company itself.  Good Getting It interview questions connect the applicants on-paper skill set with how their mind works and who they are.

You can tweak the examples below to get great results:

  1. As a financial analyst, how do you see your role supporting the rest of the team?
  2. Our company has a PTO lottery every month. Would you ever enter?
  3. I admit, I’ve never been great with the design side of website building. How comfortable are you with it?

Again, these are just examples. The point, though, is that your questions shouldn’t be junk like “what kind of animal are you”. Your questions should look to determine if this person understands their job and understands what it means to be a member of your team.




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Jeff Whittle Dallas EOS Implementer

Meet the Founder

Jeff Whittle founded and launched Whittle & Partners in 2011.  Before that, Jeff practiced law in Dallas for 15 years and has an additional 20 years of executive business experience. He has run businesses ranging from startups to 300-employee operations.