How to Hire a Hustler

Hustle: (via Marriam-Webster) “to sell or promote energetically and aggressively”.

Hustle: (via Urban Dictionary) “Anything you need to do to make money”.

Hustle: (via Sackett) “Getting sh*t done with a smile”.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately on what really makes someone successful.  I know folks who are completely brilliant, in a way most of us can’t even comprehend, both intellectually and creatively. I know why they’re successful. I also know of people who don’t seem to be the smartest, or the most creative, but they are also super successful. Those are the ones that make me wonder, what makes them successful?

They know how to hustle.

I say that will a love for what they do. Most people can’t hustle. It’s not in their makeup, their DNA.  It’s not a skill you can learn, you are either born a hustler, or you’re not.  Hustling gets a negative connotation. When in reality, it’s not always negative.  I find those people who I’ve worked for that have a hustler’s mentality can be highly professional and highly successful.

The thing is, there is really no replacement for hustle.

Not every organization needs people with that skill, and I don’t think I would want an entire organization of hustlers!  You need some, though, and you need them in the right positions. Hustlers know how to get things done in an organization.  They know how to make people feel like both sides won.  Some of the best hustlers I know in HR are on the labor relations side of the business.  Contract negotiations are usually one big hustle!

I wish someone would come up with an assessment that measured someones hustle level!  Hey, HR Tech, get on that! I’m buying.

Here’s the traits I think you need to find when assessing someone’s hustle level:

1. Are they willing to what it takes to be successful in whatever role it is you’ll be putting them in?

2. Do they have an entrepreneurial spirit?

3. Are they self-driven and ambitious?

4. Do they like competition?

5. Do they enjoy interacting with others?

6. Do they have a high tolerance to handle rejection?

7. Are they coachable and willing to adapt?

I don’t care what kind of department you are running in an organization, you can benefit from having a hustler on your team.  I think you could take most street hustlers off the street, clean them up in a corporate professional way, teach them corporate language, and they would thrive in corporate America!  No formal education. No skills. Just hustle. Let’s face it, most of what we do in corporate America is hustle!

2 thoughts on “How to Hire a Hustler

  1. I understand what you are saying but I prefer the term grit – hustle reminds of someone who will do whatever it takes to win, people and ethics be damned.

  2. Tim: As usual I love your insight and thought process. I agree that hustle is really important, but here comes the BUT. More important is taking responsibility.
    Do they take responsibility for
    1. Showing up
    2. Getting the job done?
    3. Getting the job done right?
    4. Being a team player
    5. Communicating
    6, Looking for better ways to doing things
    7. Solving problems
    8. Asking for the order
    9. Finding the answers to problem
    10. For never saying it is not my job.


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