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Hiring the Right Person?

The idea that a company is built solely on the will and strength of its founders is a popular — and romantic — myth.twitter

To build an amazing company, you need to hire an amazing team, but the classical approach to interviewing — a panel of people that asks trivia questions about the things on the candidate’s resume — does nothing to answer the most important question: will this person help drive us towards success?

When I hire, or help a client hire, that’s the only thing I care about. That’s why I’ve built my hiring process around answering two questions as quickly as possible: Can they get it done? And do we *want* them here doing it with us?

And then I don’t hire *anybody* unless we can answer yes to both of those questions. I say “we”, because the team is just as involved in the hiring process as I am. Maybe even more so. They’re going to be spending more time with the new hire than I will, and have a mutual interest in making sure that each addition helps push the ball forward.

We answer those questions by having the candidate come in and work with us for a day. I like to think of it like a test-drive. Lots of companies ask prospective employees to do some sort of small project as a challenge, but not only is this insulting to top performers, it doesn’t answer any questions about what the candidate can really do. When they spend a day working with the team, you not only learn whether or not they’ve got the chops, but also if they can play ball with their future colleagues.

Because it doesn’t matter how brilliant the new guy might be. If the team can’t work with them, bringing them in will poison the culture of the company. twitter

One day might seem like a tiny amount of time, but in my experience, good people show their true colors quickly: they instinctively start identifying problems, they ask the right questions, and they instinctively start collaborating on ideas and solutions — because, to them, making things happen is just something that you do.

Bad people show their colors equally quickly: by being insulting, arrogant, or worst of all, invisible.

You, and your team, will know at the end of that day whether or not that person is worth bringing on-board, because the good people will already have joined in on the drive for success, and you’ll want them to continue the work they already started.

Thought Leader Profile – Don Werve [Japan]
Don has over fifteen years of across-the-board experience in successfully deploying technology for business, and has worn the CTO hat at multiple companies in multiple countries. Although rare, Don is a naturally occurring phenomenon, and can be found most often in Tokyo, San Fransicso, and Berlin. Get more insight on building software teams from Don from his blog
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