Hiring 101

I’m at a retreat for leaders and entrepreneurs in Denver, and I’ve learned a lot.  It’s amazing how many common challenges and opportunities leaders in EDU share with leaders outside of EDU.

Chris O’Neil, the fairly new CEO of Evernote, gave the opening keynote.  It was an intimate gathering, more of a back-and-forth than a stand-and-deliver presentation, and at one point he said that he spends about 50% of his time on hiring.  He works hard, in that process, to be very clear about the expressed values of Evernote’s hiring process.  This helps him to avoid hiring mistakes, which can be costly.

His six pillars for hiring success, followed by a brief summary from my notes, are as follows:

  1. Raise the bar. (Each new hire should improve the company and, if possible, be better than the current crop of employees.)
  2. Strength of diversity. (Chis emphasized that, as a Canadian, he knows that his company can only thrive by bringing in new viewpoints, backgrounds, races, ethnicities, interests, etc.)
  3. Managers own hiring. (Hiring should not be outsourced to the HR department)
  4. Patience. (If people aren’t pounding the table in favor of a new hire, wait.  Go to another round.  Don’t rush the process.)
  5. Realize the stakes. (A bad hire costs the company a lot of money and, ultimately, leads to decreased morale.)
  6. Be humane. (Never bring somebody in for an interview unless they are truly competing for a job.  And, knowing that most people who interview will fail, be kind and compassionate.)

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