Sunday Reads #95: Hiring great people

Jun 14, 2020 8:31 am

Hope you and yours are keeping safe.

A couple of weeks ago, I had written an article on effective team management. Lots of you replied that it was useful (glad you liked it!). But that I had left out an important area: hiring.

That's true. Hiring is a critical component of building a solid team. It is the “top of the funnel” – you can only work with people you end up hiring. So, it has inordinate influence on future output.

Hire well, and you have an NFL Dream Team. Hire badly, and at best you get a squabbling dysfunctional family. Not much effective team management you can do there.

So this week, let's set that right. Let's look at how to hire the best people you'll work with.

Hope you like the article! And if you think a friend or colleague would benefit from reading it, please forward it to them 😊 [and they can sign up to the newsletter here].

Hiring great people.

After making and seeing lots of hires (and mis-hires), I've had seven key learnings.

1. Hire only when you absolutely need to.

2. Don’t be too hard on yourself. 1 in 3 hires don’t work out – if you do it right.

3. False Positives are OK. False Negatives are not.

4. What to look for in candidates: drive and self-motivation, innate curiosity, and ethics.

5. A few tips for running an interview process. Most important one – do reference checks.

6. How to let people go. Decisively, but with sensitivity. It’s your fault – not theirs – that you hired them into a role where they can’t succeed.

7. Diversity will not happen on its own. You’ve got to make it happen.

Let's dive in to each of these.

But before that, two caveats:

One, my experience on this slants towards hiring at startups / high growth companies. Not so much mature BigCos, where you’re often pigeonholing people into smaller roles.

The metaphor of the fox and the hedgehog will explain what I mean. As Archilocus said, “The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing”. I’m talking about hiring foxes, not hedgehogs.

Two, and this is unfortunate, there are no silver bullets or secret ingredients. If you do everything right, it’ll work out… 70% of the time.

With that, let’s begin. Head on over to the blog.

Elsewhere on the web...

Check out this profile of Avi Schiffmann, a 17-year old who built both the world's preeminent COVID-19 Dashboard, and a popular US Protest Tracker.

Something to be said for school dropouts doing great things. Buy him a coffee.

That's it for this week! Hope you liked my article. Drop me a line (just hit reply) and let me know what you think.

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