More than a great word: Autodidact
Autodidact: A Self-Taught Person
Autodidact is not only a word for people who love words - it is a word for people who like to hire great people. It literally means self-taught.
Autodidact means self-taught. Which is not only a signal of intellectual curiosity, but the things that someone chooses to teach them self also tell a story of where that person has been, what they have found important, and then lastly you can test for their depth of knowledge in their ability to “self-teach”. Khan Academy offers impressive coverage over things that any life-long-learner might want to know.
Often times there are other signals to be gleaned in how someone is able to accomplish self-learning. Often times people creat support groups of similar minded people as a means of creating accountability.
Perhaps the strongest signal is that the autodidact person is highly motivated to start and finish things that are keeping from achieving their version of greatness.
More Inspired - Less Managed
So perhaps one of the key questions is if you are a manager or employer how to you work with these self-starters. It is pretty much a given that today’s business as asking for “self-starters” - but all too often I hear many of these businesses who fail to actually DO anything with all this raw talent. To sum up what I have witnessed is: Autodidacts are much more easily inspired into a direction than steered, managed, or any other type of top-down control.