To get hired at Orbital Sciences Corporation, a company in Virginia, that manufactures space satellites, it helps to be an astronaut. But that's not because astronauts have great technical skills, the company's chief executive officer and co-founder, David Thompson tells The Washington Post. It's because "[t]hey've got to know how to be leaders."

In hiring scientists and engineers, Thompson wants excellent training and skills, he says. "But you've also got to have pretty serviceable interpersonal characteristics. Most of what we do, we accomplish through small teams." The company "sh[ies] away from a lone ranger who doesn't play well with others."

Beyond that, they want their employees to have a "broader view of the business than just their immediate assignment so they can see how everything connects." This is so important that the company runs its own business course for scientists who come without such knowledge.

You can read the whole interview, including how Orbital Sciences Corporation can successfully compete for talent with the huge salaries that Wall Street offers the mechanically able, here.

Beryl Lieff Benderly writes from Washington, D.C.