Everyone has an opinion on how to make a great hire. Having an opinion about it is easy enough, but consistently making great hires is what makes a pro. With the rising popularity of people metrics and big data for hiring, it has become a science, but there’s still room for the art of hiring from some seasoned greats.

Steve Jobs of Apple recommends you define the requirements but don’t be rigid.

Jay Elliot, author of Leading Apple with Steve Jobs, wrote about Jobs’ approach to leadership and hiring. Elliot said:

“At first glance, this point will sound painfully obvious. But too often, the person doing the hiring hasn't given enough thought to defining the need precisely enough. You might be interviewing the perfect person and not realize it. Or the person in charge of filling the position might be looking for the wrong type of candidate. Worse, you run a high risk of hiring the wrong person.”

The minimum qualifications for a job aren’t set in stone. Remember to define what skills or traits might trump another. There are many instances in which a great attitude will trump specific skill that can be easily taught and learned.

Who are they really? That’s what Tony Hsieh of Zappos wants to know.

Hsieh pulls a sneaky little trick on his potential candidates. Many are coming from out of town and are picked up from the airport in a shuttle sent by Zappos. After a day of touring and interviewing, the shuttle picks them up again. At the end of the day, the recruiter will ask the shuttle driver how they were treated by the candidate. Brilliant right?

No one wants to work with a jerk, and this is actually a pretty smart test. Even the best candidates will be rejected at Zappos if they treated the driver poorly. You should always put a strong emphasis on cultural fit and attitude in a candidate.

You should be the dumbest one in your office, according to Phil Libin’s hiring policy.

That’s pretty obviously a paraphrase. Phil Libin of Evernote got tired of micromanaging a team of workers that weren’t up to his standards. He decided to make a hiring rule of thumb: “Everyone who reports to me has to be much better at doing his or her job than I could ever be,” said Libin.

Libin contents that hiring people smarter than yourself is a long term solution to micromanagement. Although this sounds like an upper management deal, Libin has made this the hiring rule all the way down the ladder. While this isn’t always possible, it seems to be working out for the Evernote team.

Yahoo’s Melissa Mayer believes that if you want it done right, you better do it yourself.

On of the first actions Mayer took at Yahoo’s CEO was to declare herself the head recruiter. She personally oversaw a number of new hires as soon as she took the reigns. Within the first three months, Mayer brought on four C-level execs, including a former business partner who took over Yahoo’s HR function.

Every organization will require their own hiring hacks that suit the individual needs of that particular culture. There’s always more than one way to land a great hire. 

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Photo Credit: Saulo Cruz via Compfight cc

Views: 92

Tags: Candidates, Corporate Recruiting, Hiring, Human Resources, Recruiting

Comment by Keith Halperin on May 29, 2014 at 8:08pm

Thanks Sean.

"On of the first actions Mayer took at Yahoo’s CEO was to declare herself the head recruiter."

IMHO, having the CEO of any but the smallest companies actively involved in hiring people is one of the WORST things a company can do. Would you let a non-legal expert CEO be actively involved in legal matters, or a non-financial expert CEO running Finance? If not then why would you have a non-recruiting expert CEO involved in recruiting? To re-state what my grandparents may have said before they came here so long ago:

"God bless and keep the CEO...far away from us."

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