I am a small business owner and sometimes just to break the monotony in the hiring regiment I will ask a prospective interviewee if they would work for free. I do this because I understand that the standard resume and usual interview questions are predictable. So, when I pitch this curve ball and inquire “would you work for free” I am trying to see if the prospect can think out of the box.

Now I am aware that interviewing in itself is a stressful process but well thought out or rehearsed standard answers are not what I am looking for at all. Why would I ask someone who is looking for a paying job to work for free? The answer is really very simple. My goal is to find someone that thinks quickly on his or feet. I am looking for someone who can think creatively unimpeded by conventional constraints. Let’s be clear my intent is not to hire slave labor. I am going to hire and compensate the new employee fairly. But again, I am looking for that individual who is not just willing to accept the status quo. The individual should be open to doing different things and doing things differently.

Several months ago I read a book by Russell Simmons the owner of Phat Pharm, Def Jam and a multitude of other businesses. The book left quite an impression on me. The thinking out of the box concept is one of the impressions I now use to benefit my own business model. Russell mentions in his book that many people come to him for advice and insight into building successful ventures. They want to know his secret. How did he begin, what did he do, can they get a hook-up? Well, he tells this story. A young woman who was seeking his advice and insight came to him with this very same request. This woman however, had a different and unusual outlook on how she could avail herself of Mr. Simmons knowledge. She came with a plan. She offered to work full-time for his organization having all the same responsibilities of a paid employee but she would “work for free”. The young woman excelled at everything she was given. She worked and learned everything she needed to know about the business better than those who were paid a salary. Today she is recognized as an intricate, irreplaceable part of the Phat Pharm Organization and needless to say is making major bank. She achieved all of this because she was willing to “work for free” and was thinking outside of the box.

This is but one example of many that I have read about. Focusing on the value of finding new ideas and acting on them is truly Thinking Outside of the Box. Here is a last thought. Has anyone ever heard of P Diddy, alias Shawn Puffy Combs or Bad Boy Entertainment? This is another example of an individual who was willing to work for a record label “free”. Wow! look at him now.

Christopher Shaw

Author's Bio: 

Christopher Shaw is a seasoned Real Estate Investor, with over12 years of experience and has a passion for working with First Time Home Buyers, Mr Shaw has an ambitious goal of helping 1000 new First Time Buyers become home owners of the next 36 months. In addition he wants to leverage each transaction to assist adopt up to 1000 families through Volunteers of America's Adopt a Family Program.