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The Process of Hiring

The Process of Hiring

“Hiring is the most important people function you have, and most of us aren't as good at it as we think.”

- Laszlo Bock, CEO & Co-founder at Humu, Former SVP of People Operations at Google, and author of Work Rules!


The Process of Hiring

I’ve hired a lot of people over the last decade. I’ve interviewed hundreds. Hired more than 50. Hiring a person is easy, but hiring the right person is hard.


Here's what I know about interviews. They’re terrible predictors of performance. They measure interview ability not job ability. Two different skills that almost never overlap in a meaningful way. Managers think they can be successful by hiring on gut, but they’re wrong.


The interviewer/interviewee dynamic overflows with confirmation bias. And the hire/not hire decision is often made in the first 30-60 seconds. Organizations that rely primarily on hiring managers’ gut usually do no better and no worse than their peers. Their batting average is… average. Here are four ways to improve your batting average.


Online Behavior Assessments

There are lots of good assessment tools. I like DISC assessments. For sales jobs, you want someone high on the D dimension. For roles requiring attention to detail, like software developers, you want someone high on the C dimension.

Reference Checks

I ask candidates for references, but I also try to find someone the candidate didn’t name. A mutual (or 2nd degree) connection. Even if it's just a classmate from high school or college. When I talk to references I say three things.

  1. You're not the only person I'm contacting, and I'm not making my decision based on what you tell me. I'm not passing any of this information on to the candidate, and I'm just gathering another data point.

  2. Rank the candidate for me on a scale of 1-10. Pick any number you want except for 7. You can’t pick 7.

  3. If you were going to hire another person… a second employee to complement this candidate. What would that person be like?

Structured Interviews

When you get to the actual face-to-face interview, ask the same behavioral questions of all your candidates. Follow a consistent process. The questions matter. But a consistent process matters more.

Teeing Up an Offer

At the end of the final interview, you can save yourself trouble later if you say the following to candidates you like.


"We've talked about how compensation works, start date, and the role in detail. What other information would you need to evaluate to decide whether this would be a good fit for you?"
If they say they have all the information:
"If an offer was extended for the role we discussed at the salary we discussed, would you accept it?"

If they say, “yes,” you’re in a great spot. Your next call won’t be to extend an offer. It will be to welcome them to the team.

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