Identify people who are a good fit for a team and an organization.
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Skills contained in this skillset:
The purpose of the hiring process is to avoid hiring the wrong person.
We address this purpose by trying to predict how well-functioning someone will be perceived to be as a member of the organization and holder of certain roles.
How well-functioning we perceive someone to be is affected by their:
Since behaviours are the most difficult to affect in a person, the number one priority of the hiring process should be to assess the intuitive behaviours of someone and how that makes them difficult to lead, collaborate with, or makes it challenging for them to align with our values and culture.
Skills are less difficult to build, and should therefore be the second assessment priority of the hiring process.
Priorities are the least difficult to affect and should there therefore be the last assessment priority.
How well people know and understand themselves varies greatly. This comes directly into play when trying to assess a candidate.
If we automatically assume that the candidate holds the best understanding of their own skills, behaviours and priorities, we run the risk of taking what their saying at face-value, without even considering that they might not see or understand themselves very well.
Be wary of how a candidate's ability to see themselves correctly impacts your ability to assess them correctly. This means that if you don't know how self-aware a candidate is, you do not know to which extent the information they give you represents the real world.
In some cases this might be perceived as lying, whereas in a lot of cases, it's just a matter of someone having low self-awareness.
Being able to clearly communicate a role involves communicating the purpose of that role, how it fits into the organization, and what's expected of the role.
Expectations might include:
Why is this person looking for a new place to work?
Are they running towards something (looking for new challenges and growth) or running away from something (looking to leave a toxic work environment)?
What makes them believe that they will find what they are looking for with us?
What motivates them in general? Are they primarily motivated by reward (extrinisic motivation) or a sense of purpose (instrinsic motivation)?
How does this person respond to our non-negotiable ways of thinking and doing things (aka our values)?
Can they tell stories of situations where they acted in accordance or against our values?
The 15 min question is a question aimed at uncovering how deeply someone understands how to tend to a responsibility in a way that willl have the most impact.
The question goes:
"You have 15 minutes to adhere to [responsibility x] - what do you do?"
The quality of the answer, and the time it takes to produce it, helps us assess how deeply the candidate understands the responsibility and, by association, the role to which it belongs.
"One marker that I’m seeing someone clearly is when I understand how their strengths are also their weaknesses, how their genius lives right next to their dysfunction. I know that I’m further away from clarity when I am overly excited or overly skeptical."
How much time people have spent exploring and understanding themselves varies greatly. This, in combination with the environment in which they have grown up, will greatly have impacted their amount of self-knowledge.
Someone with insufficient self-knowledge run the risk of:
For context, here is a fairly comprehensive list of self-knowledge a person might hold.
"I prefer to imagine that I’m trying to find the candidate the best possible job for them; it may be the job I had in mind, or something else altogether."
Sam Altman argues for hiring for values first, aptitude second and skills third.
When we hire someone, we are basically establishing an hypothesis that this person will be a good fit and have a net positive effect on the culture and performance of the organization over time.
This means it is our job to validate or reject this hypothesis as quickly as possible, and preferably during the probation period.
"Do not tolerate brilliant jerks. The cost to teamwork is too high." - Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix
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