Deep-dive on Hiring New People

I recently completed interviewing a number of candidates for a new team. It was the first time I had prepared and set the criteria. All the interviews I participated in previously were based on someone else’s script. The following is what I learned from the exercise…

  1. Look for people who have endured adversity
    • How did they rise to the challenge? (Look for examples of demonstrating resillience)
    • What did they learn from the experience? (Do they have a growth mindset)
  2. Ask questions designed to identify people who are…
    • Humble, e.g. quick to admit their mistakes, willing to roll their sleeves up & get stuck in wherever needed? (I need team players, not lone wolves)
    • Hungry, i.e. they’ll go above & beyond (results/goal oriented)
    • Smart – more EQ-related than IQ, e.g. genuinely interested in other people, or using common sense in dealing with people-related issues (good culture fit)
  3. Get the interviewee away from the formal interview setting, the more radical, the better
    • How rounded (as a person) are they, e.g. away from the workplace? Would you still want to hire them after a long, 1-on-1 road-trip?
    • How adaptable (to context) & accepting of change are they? (The future is unpredictable)
  4. Look for the imperfect fit
    • Don’t hire someone who has done the job already; they will get bored quickly
    • Look for potential to grow into the role; a 70% fit, with a balance of skills & drive, is a good threshold, The candidate can make the remaining 30% their own in terms of stretch goals
  5. Ask them, if appointed, how will they help…
    • …the team achieve their goals & objectives?
    • …me with my short, medium, & long term goals & objectives, etc.?

The primary rationale for all of the above is this…

A poor fit, cultural or otherwise, will always gravitate towards the low performer group.

Footnote: I’m not sure on the radical-interview-setting point. I think it potentially opens up an avenue of criticism targeting unfair recruitment practices. I’d be happy to hear any thoughts on this because I can absolutely see the benefits but only if it can be done legitimately.