Hiring for Adaptability Quotient (AQ), Why You Should Consider Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs)

Last week I had the opportunity to participate in a panel entitled RPCVs in DC Tech, hosted by the Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Washington, D.C. The goal of the panel was for Returned Peace Corps Volunteers—RPCVs—currently working in the DC Tech space to share their experiences with other returned volunteers, including advice about how to transition into the tech industry and how to stay competitive in this ever-changing field. My own service in health/nutrition outreach in Guatemala many years ago has impacted my life in many ways, and I was honored to participate with a group of inspiring and successful tech professionals. Panel participants included Sheila Campbell, Senior Digital Advisor for Public Diplomacy, U.S. Department of State; Andrew Courtney, Director of Operations, Digital Services for United Way; and Natalie Moore, Product Manager at United States Digital Service.

Participants in the pane, "RPCVs in DC Tech"

One of my fellow panelists, Natalie Moore of USDS, shared an interesting point on the increasing value of the adaptability quotient, or AQ, in the tech industry.  AQ is the ability to adapt and thrive in an environment of change. While IQ and EQ are two abbreviations understood by many, AQ is a new quotient that is gaining ground. AQ is now considered by some to be more important than IQ and EQ in the success of a business and when evaluating new hires.

RPCVs tend to have a very high AQ, which make them valuable prospective employees for tech companies. The events leading up to this panel are a great example of their ability to overcome and thrive through changing conditions. Despite a severe thunderstorm and extremely heavy rain leading up to the event, all the panelists and RPCVs quickly adapted to the changing weather and made it to the event safe and dry.

The unique experiences serving in developing countries and having to figure out how to adapt and make a positive difference help RPCVs develop what is usually an above average AQ. This ability to quickly react to a changing environment and be flexible makes them great candidates for the tech sector, where this strength is not just a plus, but a requirement.

If you are interested in reaching RPCVs about job opportunities, please see these resources provided by Peace Corps, Washington, D.C.:

  1. Post vacancies to the free RPCV jobs board, Career Link. Click ‘submit a job’ once you open the link.
  2. Consider posting a short blurb on the Facebook RPCV Jobs page.
  3. Share job opportunities in the Peace Corps Community Slack by clicking here to join the group and making a post on the #Jobs channel.
  4. Register to attend the semi-annual DC career fairs—the next one is scheduled for Thurs., Sept. 27 from 4-7 p.m.  The location is likely going to be DOL.  Although employer registration has not yet opened if you are interested in being invited (assuming you’re not already receiving invitation emails), be sure to email hireRPCVs@peacecorps.gov.  The job fairs here in DC fill up quickly so best to save your spot early once registration opens!