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Why this recruiter for Tinder and Vimeo says she looks for new hires who have failed before

IAC's head of executive recruitment and c-suite talent management Sharfi Farhana.
Credit: Sharfi Farhana
IAC's head of executive recruitment and c-suite talent management Sharfi Farhana.

Sharfi Farhana is the head of executive recruitment and c-suite talent management at IAC, a holding company comprised of more than 150 brands, including Tinder, Vimeo and Match.com.

In her current role, Farhana helps some of IAC's leading companies find the best CEOs and executives for their firms. When searching for these new hires, the 30-year-old tells CNBC Make It that she looks for a few unexpected qualities in a candidate, including a history of failure.

"Failure is a key part of life," she explains. "It's not always about winning, right? If you're always winning, then great. But, you know, CEOs of the future need to really have gone through a struggle."

Farhana emphasizes that experiencing failure and bouncing back from it helps you to become a better decision maker and, ultimately, a better leader. She points to Vimeo CEO Anjali Sud as someone who's been very transparent about her failures and the impact they've had on her career.

In an interview with CNN Money, Sud spoke about the academic struggles she faced at a prestigious high school and the early career rejections she experienced when trying to land a job in investment banking. "I failed a lot in my first year," said Sud. "I had to work really hard to catch up. I think that was a wake-up call that most people probably don't get at 14."

Looking back over her career and the challenges she faced early on, Sud says she's learned that "failing early and often can be empowering" because "failure is essential to success."

Mark Cuban attends Shark Tank's Kevin O'Leary launches symposium celebrating global entrepreneurship at Casa Loma on April 5, 2018 in Toronto, Canada.
GP Images | Getty Image
Mark Cuban attends Shark Tank's Kevin O'Leary launches symposium celebrating global entrepreneurship at Casa Loma on April 5, 2018 in Toronto, Canada.

Billionaire entrepreneur Mark Cuban agrees. In an interview with Arianna Huffington's Thrive Global podcast, Cuban says "when you're 22, 23, 24 there's no such thing as failure, really." Instead, he says, each of these experiences are a teaching moment that help you to find your strengths and figure out what you're good at.

After graduating from Indiana University in 1981, Cuban says he faced his own fair share of failures. "I had quit or been fired from three straight jobs," says Cuban in an interview on ABC's "Shark Tank."

It wasn't until he landed a job in tech that he realized he loved computers and programming. Eventually, he started his own computer company and sold it to CompuServe in 1990. A few years after that, he partnered with his friend Todd Wagner to start AudioNet, which later became Broadcast.net. They sold that company to Yahoo in 2000 for $5.7 billion.

"One of my favorite sayings is, 'It doesn't matter how many times you fail, just have to be right once.' Then everybody can call you an overnight success," says Cuban. "I've failed a company that sold powdered milk, I failed the jobs I've gotten fired from. And all those were learning experiences."

Farhana says a candidate with a history of failures demonstrates that they're equipped to bounce back from the inevitable challenges that come with leadership. "It's not all about winning or losing," she says. "It's more about what you learned from the different times when things didn't work out."

Disclosure: CNBC owns the exclusive off-network cable rights to "Shark Tank."

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