Hiring can make or break a company. Everything starts with hiring the right talent – the ability to build great products, teams, companies, build unique work cultures, and so much more.
Over the last few years, I’ve had the opportunity to have conversations with hundreds of professionals. Here’s what I’ve learned through the hiring process –
Hire for mindset, attitude, and energy – Of course, skill is essential. Assess professionals for the skills that they are good at but also focus on mindset and attitude. Hire driven, motivated professionals who’ve consistently exhibited the ability to pick up new skills.
Allow for thoughtful responses – I’m not a fan of puzzles, brainteasers, or asking professionals to code or design on the spot. Some professionals can think quickly on the spot; some of them need to deliberate more. Putting professionals on the spot and applying undue pressure doesn’t bring the best out of most. Instead, share an assignment that they can work on before an in-person interview. If you are trying to hire an engineer – ask them to submit an engineering assignment;for a designer – a design assignment. Ensure that it doesn’t take more than a few hours to a day to complete. Not everyone has the time to work on long-form assignments. If you have to question on skills, focus on the areas they are good at. Look for whether they have their fundamentals sorted.
Curiosity – Look for evidence that the professionals you are hiring are curious. Life is a sum total of our experiences. The more we explore, the more we learn, and that has a positive impact on our ability to create differentiated solutions. Check not just for curiosity, but if that curiosity led to something actionable. Look for a “maker” mentality.
The ability to challenge decisions – During a lot of my discussions, I always check to see if the professional is willing to challenge me on my assertions. The best of leaders always surround themselves with folks who will keep them honest and question decisions if they don’t make sense.
Hire fundamentally good people – This is very hard to assess in short discussions but probe to see if the candidate is empathetic, has integrity, and is easy to work with. Brilliant jerks are not worth it; they more often than not dilute the company culture.
These principles have helped me hire amazing talent; talent that’s helped me become a better professional and shaped the culture around me. I would love to hear more perspectives from the community on what you all focus on when you hire.