I often say that I only hire people with track records of excellence. I think that every business owner would agree that it is ideal to hire the best of the best – after all it is not controversial to want hard working, dedicated people on your team. What is controversial, however, is the way in which hiring managers determine who the best of the best are, and I think that everyone is doing it wrong.
Throughout my career, I have noticed a huge emphasis placed on the interviewing process of hiring. Both recruiters and candidates seem to think that interviewing well is supremely important. While I agree that interviews give you a fantastic sense of someone’s personality and demeanor, a good interview has never convinced me to hire someone that I hadn’t already decided to hire. Reason being that everyone interviews well. There are enough how-to blogs and instructional videos on the subject to make anyone an armchair expert. Almost everyone I have encountered in my long and diverse career can slap on a smile for an hour, shake someone’s hand and answer their questions. I am more interested in the piece of the hiring puzzle that candidates cannot fake. I am interested in their resumes.
So what am I looking for? I am looking for people who have done well in a variety of different fields. Young readers may slump their shoulders and curse their lack of experience, but here is the secret, I do not care how much experience you have. I do not care if you have done well in your last three venture deals or if you did well on your little league softball team and then later became class president. In my experience, the people who are likely to succeed are the people who have always succeeded. I want to see a consistent pattern of rising to the top. A candidate may only be 22, but if they can demonstrate a well-rounded document of accomplishments, then I am comfortable putting my money on them.
Alternatively, it is also important to focus on the items missing from resumes. If someone isn’t a hard worker; their resume may be filled with experience rather than accolades. If someone isn’t well rounded, their accomplishments will all be in one category. What a candidate is missing may be unveiled in the gaps of their reporting. Make sure to focus on what isn’t listed as much as what is.
I encourage everyone I know to hire based on a candidates past successes, but caution them to ignore how lengthy that past may be. The drive I am looking for is not inherited throughout a career – it is a lifestyle. If someone is motivated by success, it will start early so do not be afraid to hire young.