Monthly update: Quiz scams and bad interviews

May 01, 2020 9:56 am

Hi !

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Here's what had my attention in April...

What I've been up to

πŸ‘₯ At Property Hub we've started interviewing for the Chief Operating Officer hire we're making (do you know anyone suitable?).

Our recruitment process has become pretty robust over the years – thanks mostly to learning from the mistakes we made when we first started the company. One of our biggest improvements comes from relying on more than just a bog-standard interview to assess the suitability of a candidate. 

For example, everyone we interview must also do a skills test and complete a project for us. It's made a world of difference, and it makes me wonder why other companies continue to predict job performance based on a 30-minute chat about "biggest weaknesses" (ALWAYS "perfectionism") and the brilliance of Taco Tuesdays. 

While we're happy with the tweaks we've made when hiring new people, there's always room for improvement. If you have any time-tested tips of your own, do let me know!

🌱 Shockingly, I'm at the point of rather enjoying lockdown. The first couple of weeks were a tough adjustment, but now I'm finding the convenience and total predictability of every day quite comforting.

I think this is part of a weird character trait I've recently become aware of where I want what I already have – in other words, the grass is always greener on my current side of the fence.

When we're in London, I'm very happy and don't want to go away. When we're away, I never want to come back. I love going to the gym and would never want to do any other form of exercise...until I can't go to the gym, whereupon I hate the idea of it and much prefer the bodyweight exercises I'm doing instead.

Maybe it springs from some unhealthy deep-seated aversion to change, but it's pretty handy at times like this.

What I've published

– What are you optimising for? A simple principle to make your decision-making easier (and explain why I'm always wearing the same clothes).

– The "no budget" budget. Budgeting is boring. Do this instead.

– Why you're always wrong. If you want an accurate prediction about what’s going to happen, ask someone who’s not emotionally invested in the outcome.

– You're wrong about your risk tolerance. Next month I promise I'll be in a better mood and only tell you about your wrongness once.

What I've enjoyed

πŸ’΅ A previously niche branch of economics called Modern Monetary Theory has won a lot of attention in the past year: first as a possible way to pay for measures to combat climate change, and more recently as everyone wonders what effect trillions of Coronavirus-based government spending will have.

I'd encountered it before and not properly understood it, but this podcast episode with Stephanie Kelton made it far clearer to me. I'm still dubious, but it's interesting to encounter the possibility that the "story" we tell ourselves about how the global economy works might be completely wrong.

πŸ€” Unless you're annoyingly young, you'll remember the "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?" scandal in 2001 when Major Charles Ingram won the Β£1m prize – and was subsequently found to have been aided by some suspicious coughs from the audience.

Well, the footage seen by the trial jury has been uploaded to YouTube, complete with previously unseen camera angles and digitally enhanced coughs. I found it a weirdly compelling and enjoyably nostalgic watch.

Why has this resurfaced 19 years later? It's to coincide with the airing of an ITV drama called Quiz based on the same events, which is pretty dreadful but still entertaining.

(Incidentally, the show is still running now – but really, the top prize should be Β£1.77m by now to have kept up with inflation.)

πŸ“ˆ I almost never read books that I can't get a digital version of, but I made an exception for the classic High Output Management by Andy Grove (former CEO of Intel). It was worth lugging around the paperback: it gives a great framework for thinking about the role of a manager, along with specific advice about meetings, hiring and other common situations. I'll be writing up my notes on my blog soon.

πŸ‘‹That’s it for April! It'd be great to hear from you if you've got news or recommendations to share.



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