Now, Put Yourself in My Shoes
This interview with Susan Docherty, who leads the United States sales, service
and marketing team at General Motors, was conducted and condensed by
Q. How do you hire?
A. I like building teams with people who come from very different backgrounds
and have very different experiences. I don’t just mean diverse teams, in terms
of men and women or people of different color or origin. I like people who
have worked in different places in the world than I have because they bring a
lot more context to the discussion. That’s something that I value a tremendous
I make sure that when I’m looking at people for my team, it’s not just what’s on
their résumé — their strengths or weaknesses or what they’ve accomplished —
but it’s the way they think. I can learn twice as much, twice as quickly, if I’ve
got people who think differently than I do around the table.
Q. Can you talk more about how you hire?
A. I’m always in hiring mode. Always. When someone comes in for an
interview, and they’re polished, and they’re practiced, and they’ve honed their
résumé — everybody can give a great first impression. But what’s most
important is seeing how people handle interactions on a day-to-day basis,
when you’ve got days that are good, bad and ugly. It’s about how you handle
the day-to-day interactions with your peers. It’s about how you treat the people
on your team.
I have these little cardboard cards. And if I have an open position, and I’m
considering a certain person, I grab one of these cards, and I write 1 through
10 on it. And I always try to get input about that person from other people. I
don’t tell people necessarily, “Hey, I’m thinking about hiring so-and-so. What
do you think about them?”
I might say, “Give me two great things that you like about this person, and two
areas where you think they have a developmental opportunity.” And when you
ask people like that, off the cuff, when you’re in an elevator or waiting for a
meeting to start, you get some really candid feedback. So I get input from 10