At XNET, It’s All About Attitude

Wanted: Passionate, independent, right-brained geeks.

From the mass of resumes on his desk, Arthur Zards, president and co-founder of Internet solutions provider XNET, searches for these traits in potential hires.

“I almost don’t want to tell you because then the secret’s out,” he said. “[But] I want the tinkerer, the person who’s passionate about what they’re doing. I’m looking for that guy who wasn’t stuck in a company for 20 years just doing Oracle administration.

“One of my favorite questions is ‘How many computers do you have at your house?’ If they say: ‘Oh, just one computer,’ they’re not technically savvy enough for me. I want the guy who says: ‘Oh, I’ve got four computers. One’s a Pentium 4, I’ve got a network in my house [and] I’ve got a VPN.’ I want true geeks here because we’re a small company, and we have to move quickly.”

To find his “true geeks,” Zards uses the age-old adage: Hire for attitude, train for skill.

“With the Internet, and especially the IT realm, what you’re hiring for now, five years from now is going to be different,” he said. “It’s not like you can hire somebody [who] for the last 10 years [has] done this technology and they’re going to be doing this technology the next 10 years. Whatever technology I’m hiring for now is going to change fairly quickly, so I’m looking for people who can really adapt and learn quickly.”

Zards’ company was started in 1992 with three employees working…


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