Man in highlighter orange framed glasses and salmon coloured blazer holding microphone and giving an address.
Sandy Gould. Image: Connor McKenna/

What are your ‘superpowers’ and how can they help you land a new role?

17 Sep 2019

The Verizon recruitment strategy revolves around promoting the individuality of its employees and allowing them to flourish in their own unique way.

Sandy Gould knows how to make an entrance. When he arrives for an interview with, he is decked out in a bright gold jacket, a black shirt with an ornate neon tiger pattern, and a pair of orange, round-lens glasses – which have become something of a trademark for him.

He also knows how to hire good talent and how to do so in a forward-thinking way. As the VP of talent acquisition at Verizon Media, Gould is responsible for picking the best and brightest out of the pack and attracting them to the firm. He is also responsible for ensuring that the company not only retains that talent, but allows its people to flourish and reach their full potential within the company.

“Our focus in building talent is to make sure that we invest in the person, in their core superpowers and capabilities, and growing their career. We do that from the very first moment of the first interview,” Gould explains.

“When we interview somebody we start by saying, ‘What do you do, why do you love it and where do you want it to lead?’ Once we understand the answer to that, what they’re looking to do in building their talent and career and unleashing their superpowers … we will explore what the opportunities for growth are at our company.”

Verizon heavily emphasises the progression employees make through an interactive map of the world, which lights up to mark when new hires are made or when current employees move into new roles. It’s a small, yet impactful, way of emphasising that the company is a global community that fosters and encourages the individual skills of its people.

“So candidates walking around, internal hires walking around, people at an event or at lunch are going to see that screen … and know that we’re serious about that commitment.”

All about superpowers

Gould is a big fan of ‘superpowers’ – the idea that employees should be aware of exactly what their strengths are so that they can make informed decisions with regards to how to develop those skills. This has, in turn, moulded the recruitment process at Verizon.

“Make sure you find a humble but very honest and direct way to communicate that and give examples of it,” he says, stressing the idea of remaining ‘humble’.

“What every interviewer is trying to figure out is what is your superpower, who is the real you, and once I understand your superpowers, show me an example of how you use them to get things done. That’s really what an interviewer wants to know so they can solve their problem or seize their opportunity.

“If you’re honest and you share, then it’s going to be a great experience. When people try and manage it too much, give the ‘right’ answer and present an impression that isn’t really them, that’s where it actually gets really challenging, so I say stick with the authentic.”

To hear more of Gould’s insights about harnessing individuality and authenticity during the recruitment process, check out the video interview above.

Eva Short
By Eva Short

Eva Short was a journalist at Silicon Republic, specialising in the areas of tech, data privacy, business, cybersecurity, AI, automation and future of work, among others.

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